If you were to make a graph of the appropriate closeness of a teacher to a student, it would be inversely proportionate to the academic abilities of the student. Therefore, the more academically capable the student, the more relational distance to their teacher. This could be partially due to the number of students in general education classes, versus a resource room versus a student in a one-on-one situation.

Consider how much a teacher knows about a student's family of home life. The ONLY pet-peeve I have of general education teachers is when they assume that all students are coming into their classes from the same starting point; that the only determining factor on student success is how the student has chosen to participate in class. Last year, I overheard a teacher complaining about one of my alternative education students in the Teachers' Lounge that this student was choosing not to focus or accomplish any work in class that day. I told this teacher that the student had been kicked out of their house the previous night and came into school that morning after sleeping on the train tracks. The teacher had no response, and I don't blame them.

After getting over my initial annoyance with the teacher, I realized that the education system is not conducive to teachers getting to know their students. The expectation is to teach the content, raise the test scores, enforce the school policies, and not sleep with the students. How are teachers supposed to touch the lives of their students when the high schools resemble university lecture halls more than classrooms? A teacher may connect with 5-10 of the 150-200 students that come into their classrooms throughout the day. You place more than 25 kids in a classroom, and the teacher becomes a ring leader in a circus managing what is going on in class instead of guiding the education of children.

We have placed the weight of raising test scores on the shoulders of teachers who hope to create a love of learning in their students. We expect teachers to raise our kids for us; to teach them what they need to know instead of how to find it for themselves. Teachers are expected to teach effectively without giving an education. The expectation needs to shift to think of them as educators who give students the tools to learn and succeed at life. We want teachers to give children the fish of data without educating them as to how to fish for knowledge. We want our children to be able to duplicate so they can pass the next test or quiz, but we do not want to open the world to them and let them discover, explore, and create.

I do not believe that class size is the answer, nor do I believe that it is a matter of funding. The expectations of what learning is, and what educators need to do, needs to shift. We have turned the school day into the drudgery of the work day. Students have become more of a cog in the social machine, when they need to learn who they are and how to grow into contributing citizens. I am not from the school of thought that believes ALL kids should be successful on the same level. I hated having a losing season, and still getting a trophy for participation. If students are always given false success, then they grow to believe that they deserve it, and the sense of entitlement grows inside of them. Students need to experience the joys of achieving real success, which means thet need to learn the lessons of real failure. Students will not be educated if we do not shift our expectations to cultivate learning instead of test scores.

Views: 60

Tags: classroom, education, expectations, management, scores, teaching, test

Comment by Joe B. on March 12, 2010 at 1:15pm
Check out the full blog at: http://lifeonsped.blogspot.com/
Comment by Denise Stewart on March 12, 2010 at 11:55pm
Teaching to the test seems to be the mantra of late, but even with that 800 pound gorilla in the room, energized teachers of all ages seem to motivate kids to learn. Let me tell you that this is no easy feat in today's classrooms where many teachers are receiving pink slips as I type. With those pink slips in hand, they will finish out the school year with lumps in their throats that no student will see. I see them as underappreciated heroes and I am speaking as a 25 year plus veteran with university, high school, teacher-training, online instruction, and ELD coaching experience under my belt. Many more teachers care than those who don't.


Comment by Joe B. on March 15, 2010 at 10:27am
Thank you for your comment Denise. I am in awe of any teacher who has found success in the system and stuck it out for a time (25 years is commendable). This rant of a blog post I put up here was not a shot at teachers. Teachers are too often thrown into the heat of battle with gun barrels pointed at them, much like the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan. Few make it to a safe place to advance their career, and even fewer make it a full career as you have. I just wanted to point out that their are flaws in the system (big surprise), but I wanted to offer the solution is not a new program, but a changed mindset on what we think education should be. I've seen too many great teachers sidetracked from teaching because they have to fight battles against parents and administrators, and district execs. I can only hope to have a career similar to yours.

Thanks again for your comment.
Comment by Joe B. on March 15, 2010 at 10:30am
Oh, by the way, I'm following your blog now. ;-) Feel free to follow mine too, they're not all rants. :-P


You need to be a member of Classroom 2.0 to add comments!

Join Classroom 2.0


Win at School

Commercial Policy

If you are representing a commercial entity, please see the specific guidelines on your participation.





© 2022   Created by Steve Hargadon.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service