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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:27 am 
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I know most teachers do care...some care a lot more, though. Some try really hard to connect with their students, make a difference in their lives, and make them want to learn. Others don't care if you pass. I've had both. I've had quite a few very remarkable, dedicated teachers who've really made a difference in my life. And, I've also had some that seem to have lost their spirit, and only do what they do to get a paycheck. But, it's like that in every job. Some people really care about what they do and try to make an impact, whether it's a teacher, a doctor, a librarian, a politician, a social worker, a zooligist, etc. You get my drift. I don't mean to say anything bad about teachers in general, and actually don't even follow the bullshit that they speak on in the media. I was only going on my personal experiences, and wanted to give you credit for what you do...I never had you as a teacher, granted, but I'm sure you would have been one of the ones to stand out and make an impact to me. I'm sure you know what good you do, though, and don't need me telling you that.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:39 am 
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And, I've also had some that seem to have lost their spirit, and only do what they do to get a paycheck.


It's called burnout...and I saw it happen to too many of my colleagues. I retired when I stlll had the energy and love for the job and all it entailed. I quit at the top of my game! I refused to become one of those cranky teachers who took their frustrations out on the students.

And jobot, I'd consider you an "independent learner." You're young and you're trying new things, you're aware of the political situation in the country, and you're staying involved. That is so refreshing to us older than dirt folks. Too many people your age are still thinking only of themselves if they're thinking at all.

I, for one, am glad you're here. :D

Catherine

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:45 am 
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Catherine wrote:
...you're aware of the political situation in the country, and you're staying involved. That is so refreshing to us older than dirt folks. Too many people your age are still thinking only of themselves if they're thinking at all.
I, for one, am glad you're here. :D
Catherine


And I am glad to see some more mature people around who also understand the political situation and don't buy in to all the bullshit. :/ I hardly know any that are aware like the people here, and really do appreciate the fact that there are people like you guys!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:49 pm 
For Catherine and sadie: What were/are your biggest gripes with the current system, and what actions would you take to improve things if given the power to do so?

I think--in any bureacratic system--that the solutions that [would] make the most sense are often ignored/suppressed by the 'higher-ups'. It is, oftentimes, the 'line' workers who are closest to the problems, and therefore more knowledgeable about what the solutions SHOULD be. I'm interested in what you two 'line' workers believe to be the solutions to some of the problems you've encountered while performing your jobs. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:19 pm 
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I don't have a lot of time so for now I will use one word. Discipline. Since the onslaught of NCLB every district is afraid of suspending a student because that is leaving THAT particular child behind. But with THAT child in class, no one else can learn.

There has to be somewhere to send children besides just sending them home (where they really aren't learning) but we must find a way to remove unruly students from the classroom.

Alternative schools? Funding was cut for these and they WERE working. Public military type schools? I don't know the answer.

We had a child push a teacher into the chalkboard and put his hand over her neck and threaten her today. She is pressing charges and he will go to a "prison school" but no one knows just how much she has put with and how much classroom instruction has been lost in the last 2 months due to this one unruly student. It took this to get him removed.

I had him last year and it got to the point I wanted him to do something drastic so I could press charges. I put up with him EVERYDAY because he was never absent. He made teaching and learning IMPOSSIBLE.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:11 pm 
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I taught elementary school, Libertine, and that's where I saw the beginnings of what sadie is talking about. I agree that discipline is a very important factor, but the type of discipline that is administered is just as important.

Unfortunately, so many children are coming into schools now with issues that are not child-like. They live in homes that are not secure. They're often shunted aside in favor of the current boyfriend or girlfriend. The current lover often has brought his/her children into the mix.

The child finds himself having to share a home and a parent with people he hardly knows before they're suddenly living with him. He has very little that he can actually call his own anymore...including the parent. He is ignored and his problems aren't viewed as being important enough to address until, in order to get the attention he is craving, the child/children will "act out.' Negative attention is better than no attention at all to some of these kids.

I also believe that we are institutionalizing children far too soon...we're not giving them time to be children. They are entering structured environments with inflexible schedules far too young. There's a lifetime of that ahead of every person so I say hold off on it as long as possible. Children are having to share a small space (daycare centers, for example) with a lot of others at too young an age. They're not being nurtured to the extent that they should be. This is all because it's important for both parents to be working just to make ends meet in our culture. Single parents don't have much choice one way or the other.

Even when kids are not in school for summer breaks, holidays, etc...they're more often than not dragged to a daycare center early in the morning. I'm not putting down daycare centers...I once owned one....it's just not the same as having one of the parents at home with the child, giving that child attention, doing things with that child, and letting that child explore his environment with one on one involvement.

Starting "school" at age 4 is just barbaric, in my opinion. And yes...there are pre-Ks in the system where I taught. Those kids were still babies, but there they were...marching in line, being herded if you will, from place to place, obeying rules, following a schedule that might include playtime that was sufficient...but once again, still subject to the rules laid down by the school or the teacher. Usually the teachers were kind and well-trained, , but I've seen some that I wouldn't let take care of anything alive, much less be in charge of little folks like pre-Ks.

I'll talk about my opinion of school/classroom issues in another post.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:55 pm 
Have you two heard of Beverly Eakman? She's an ex-teacher who speaks out against the education establishment, as well as comments on societal problems. Here is a little bit from on of her articles:

Quote:
By 1978, daycare was big business, and, by the mid-1980’s, child experts were aggressively encouraging parents to enroll their children in “early childhood” programs so that the youngsters would be “socialized” and “ready to learn.”

But a strange thing happened. Not only were the offspring of the boomers not “socialized”—in the sense of becoming gregarious, well mannered, tactful, polite, fun, or even able to carry on a conversation—they were nervous, uptight, anxious, and torn by the mixed messages emanating from their various preoccupied guardians. They cried more, threw more temper-tantrums, fell ill when separated from their parents or peers, and were plagued with learning “disabilities.” The more obnoxious they were, the less their parents wanted them.

By the mid-1990’s, long after I had left teaching, the other shoe dropped. Teachers and care givers could not stand these kids, either. Adults were being kicked, bitten, and spat upon by children as young as three. Teachers complained that six-year-olds came to first grade unable to count to ten, name the colors, or recite the alphabet, much less use scissors or sit still for ten minutes—yet most had been “socialized” in nursery programs aimed at making sure youngsters were “ready to learn.”

Few parents were aware of a thousand-plus-page landmark treatise in 1969 entitled the Behavioral Science Teacher Education Project (BSTEP), compiled by Michigan State University, one of the government’s official research centers for teacher training. BSTEP’s purpose was to determine what kind of future world teachers should be preparing. The document predicted that, by the 21st century, drugs would be available to control behavior, alter mood, and even raise intelligence. It forecast that teachers would be “clinicians” and that education would be “based in the behavioral sciences.”

Government quietly began taking steps to ensure this outcome—from its treatment of parents in the courts, to the content of tests and surveys in the classroom, to the placement of psychologists in every public school (via the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965). Within 30 years of BSTEP, every quirky conduct, and a few that could not even qualify as idiosyncratic, was remediable with “professional counseling” and a psychotropic drug. All a behavior needed to be was inconvenient or bothersome.

However, there was a catch. The parent who refused such treatments could be cited for “medical neglect.” To child “protection” agencies and the family courts, this was no different from denying insulin to a diabetic on religious grounds. In effect, parents no longer had legal standing.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:56 pm 
Oh, a link:

http://www.beverlye.com/200510111528.html


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:05 pm 
Also, a link to Mrs. Eakman's position statement:

http://www.beverlye.com/position.html

A very bright and dedicated woman, she is.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:25 pm 
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We need an incentive for parents. An incentive that allows one parent to stay home while the other works. Aren't parents supposed to be the ones who teach morals and values? All the psychological stuff Eakman is referring to isn't taken care of at home.

Kids who come from good homes are easy to teach because they are ready to learn. Teachers are taught all this because we have to know what causes students to act out and create an atmosphere where learning can't take place.

I need to retire and write a book about education. I can write about my perspective. We have all these people who write about education from their "perspective". Some of it has validity but there are always a flip side and variables that they fail to mention.

Eakman says,
Quote:
I support an academic-based education for the Information Age and the Twenty-first Century, undiluted by psycho-behavioral conditioning and psychotherapeutic experimentation. I take issue with teaching methodologies whose purpose is primarily to target the emotions rather than to challenge the intellect.


I support academic-based education also. If the students do not behave how do you get them to learn the academics? Psycho-behavioral conditioning is as simple as teaching a child to raise their hand. If I have a class of 32 students I can't have all thirty two yealling at once.

Eakman says,
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My position is that parents, not the state, are typically in the best position to make educational (and other) decisions for their children.


She obviously never worked in a district where parents didn't give a sh**.

I could go on and on and tear her "perspective" to pieces. It is a wonderful article for middle to upper class students and parents. It is hogwash in a poverty stricken district where many parents are in welfare, are drug addicts, are in prison, where an old, tired, and feeble grandma is raising the children, etc.

These children did NOT choose their parents nor their situations. They deserve a chance to get a decent education and a chance to rise above from where they came.

It isn't as simple as black and white. I wish it was.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:19 am 
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I too formally taught school, but with no where near the experience Sadie or Catherine have. Our school system started to have financial troubles while Clinton was in office. In fact there were 40 of us cut in the spring of 2000. I know folks around here don't want to hear this but the economy was already on a down hill slide when Clinton was in office, it just happened to hit bottom when Bush took over. Don't get me wrong, I am not defending Bush, just pointing out some facts. Now back to the topic on hand, education. I really have to agree with so much of what Sadie and Catherine are saying. It just fits with my own personal experiences. I do have to differ though about private education to a certain degree. From my own personal experience private schools are not only attended by children of the wealthy. At least not where I live. Most private schools are religious based and a good majority of the kids are not well off at all! My thought on home schooled kids really depends on the parents. Most parents that home school their kids are very involved in their childrens lives. Those same kids would get a great education in the public school system as well. In fact I would venture to say most would actually have a more well rounded education. I say this from personal experience comparing my daughter to her 3 cousins that were all home schooled. None of them did very well on their SAT's, they weren't used to testing. My daughter did quite well. I have a really hard time believing that home schooled kids have as much access to higher learing as publically educated kids. They just don't have the access to as much material. Now, I really don't buy into that kids in the schools are basically being brain washed like that article makes it sound. If you've ever hung out around teachers you would know that most, not all, are democrats and pretty caring people. Teachers don't have enough time to sit and try and figure out how to brain wash kids into little zombi type dolls. They are too busy trying to teach the curriculum in a way that kids will learn. Hopfully they make the learning fun though too.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:24 am 
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I need to retire and write a book about education.

You should. Trouble is most likely the only people that will read it will be the ones who already care and are doing a good job. :(


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:52 am 
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Have any of you posting in this thread ever considered how often substitute teachers are in classrooms across the country from pre-K to 12th grade?

In 1992, two colleagues and I did intensive research on this subject in preparation for writing a handbook for subs. We were also teaching a course for subs that was designed to help them be more effective in the classroom. We had trouble finding material for the course, but we did not have trouble in quickly determining that the substitute teacher situation varies in great detail from state to state, from system to system, and even from school to school. That's when we started digging for answers.

What we discovered in our research was pretty amazing. We started out researching school systems in North Carolina regarding substitute teachers. Then we branched out to a few other states.

We discovered that some school systems required a college degree in education in order to be a sub, but most of them required only a high school diploma. At that time, some systems didn't do criminal background checks on subs, and none of them required specific training for any of them. We surveyed subs, students, teachers, principals, and superintendents, asking them all a variety of questions. (How students perceived subs was a real eye-opener.) Then we compiled the results of our research and presented them to our local superintendent and school board.

We also wrote the sub teacher handbook that became an integral part of the effective substitute teacher training we were doing. (I continued teaching the effective sub training course with various assistants, as our school system required all subs to take it, until 2002. My two colleagues who were involved with me in the research retired before I did. One of them recently passed away from cancer.)

Do the math to determine how many days a student is with a sub in his/her classes during 13 years of formal schooling if his/her teachers are absent only one day per month. AND we all know that the regular teacher is often absent much more than that.

Catherine

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:58 am 
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I need to retire and write a book about education.

You should. Trouble is most likely the only people that will read it will be the ones who already care and are doing a good job. Sad


I was being sarcastic Nina. I could write a book and as long as I bashed public education I would make wayyyyy more money than if I told the truth. The people everyone loves to bash really loves kids. They are working very hard, jumping through political hoops, learning back flips they can't do, spending their own hard earned money, yet they get blamed for everything that goes wrong with education.

A person can teach for one year then write a book about education and their perspective is from that one ten month snapshot of education.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:03 am 
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Catherine, in Ohio, they require you to have a college degree of some sort. It could be a degree in Sanitation and you can sub.

What really makes a teacher mad is when they spend time making plans for the sub and running everything off so the sub can come in and have a fairly easy day. Then they ignore the plans and let the kids draw or watch cartoons.

That is a day of instruction lost.

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