Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do Something About it

Are the majority of teachers happy with the public school system?

I ask myself this question periodically. As I talk to educators, I get the feeling that they don't enjoy their job. I make it a point to always ask teachers... "How's your day going". I usually get the response... "As good as it can go, I guess". I get the feeling that many teachers have no interest in what they do at school. They from time to time act as if they care... (like when they are at a meeting, talking to an administrator, or talking to a parent). It seems like a front that is put on for the people they need to answer to. I think it is interesting when teachers act different when someone "important" is in the room. What about the importance of the "students".

I hear teachers complain about testing, students, and the amount of work they do, but never see them doing anything about it. What are they doing to make their job easier and make more sense. Are teachers questioning the infamous "tests"? Are teachers finding new ways to create more time? Are teachers really understanding the issues of their students?
I don't have the answer, but would imagine that some teachers are doing these things. I get frustrated when I hear teachers that I like to call "the complainers". They always complain, but do nothing about it. They talk about how many years they have before they retire. They blame everything on the students and parents. They talk about students openly with other teachers in the lounge. They label students based on the test scores.

What happened today...
I came close to walking out of our staff meeting. We were sitting in groups. We were given 2 pieces of paper each... The test scores, grades, and interventions of 2 students (one 2nd grader and one 5th grader... names weren't included). The students both had decent grades, but horribly low test scores. We were told to basically figure out what was going on with these students. I was disgusted. I raised my hand and said... "the only information this paper tells me is that these students don't like taking tests". I went on to say... "There is no way to know what types of intervention will be needed unless you know the student". We continue to label. Students have become a set of numbers with no name. Of course, many teachers agreed. Why was I the only teacher that spoke up?

The real reason for the meeting...
Showing the teachers that some of us may not be teaching toward the test. Hey guys... "Don't teach to the test, but you have to teach to the test". I love the way administration tries to sugar coat everything. I do know one thing... you can cover a rotten egg with powdered sugar, but no matter how you swing it, it's still a rotten egg. This is how I feel about whats going on. We love to make everything look like it's alright, even though it's not. I thinks it time that we start calling a spade a spade. Do something about it. Until next blog...


David said...

Hi Woody,

Good post today!

Just out of curiosity, do you know if any of the staff at your school reads your blog? You're very open about the problems you see at your school, which is a good thing, but are you concerned that you might be alienating some colleagues you have to see on a daily basis?

A. Woody DeLauder said...

When I say the word blog at my school, people laugh. No one else has a blog or reads a blog. I have a feeling that if they did, they would probably agree with me.
I am not really worried about what the other teachers think. I make sure to never mention names and keep facts vague. Thanks for the comment.

Jenny said...

Reading about meetings like this reminds me of how lucky I am to teach where I do (not too far south of you if you feel a need for a change). It's not easy to be the one to speak up in situations like that. I'm not surprised others didn't. I'm glad they were willing to make some moves to support your comments, at least. We, as teachers, rarely do what we should to make noise and advocate for what we know is right for students. Clearly we need to be reminded more often.

Nancy A. McKeand said...

Although I don't teach in a public school, I was really able to identify with what you are talking about. Where I work, one person basically decides what happens in everyone's classroom. (No, it isn't the program director or anyone with "authority".) A couple of us are trying to make some changes, but it is hard. If we don't make an effort, though, ten years from now things will be exactly the same. And I don't mean equally bad -- I mean exactly the same. Not one worksheet will have been replaced!

A. Woody DeLauder said...

Thanks for the comment. I often find myself being smiled at when I mention the changes that need to be made. All I hear is excuses as to why we can't change. It all gets old.
Thanks for the comment. I see some teachers using worksheets that are barely legible because of the amount of times they have been copied. When meaningful change is not made by everyone as a whole, it's hard to make a difference.