First day back vent...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Just Justina, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Just Justina

    Just Justina New Member

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    Jan 4, 2017

    I have been a teacher for over ten years. I have a dual Master's degree in teaching and educational psychology. Four years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of launching my own microschool, where I currently serve as the lead teacher as well as the principal.

    I am an uncontested expert in my field (gifted education) and my school is for gifted kids. By and large, the kids are blissfully happy and we study all sorts of interesting, important things. And every year, at least one parent comes and complains that they don't feel like their kids are learning anything.

    Today, I learned that a parent is pulling their child out of our school because they don't feel their kid is being held accountable/held to high expectations. The crux of the matter is that we have a (very optional) writing competition in November; kids can choose to compete, choose not to, choose to start and not finish, etc. It's completely hands off, and designed to be more about the joy of writing than anything else. Well, this kid dropped out, and apparently his dad got bent out of shape when he saw a picture of the winners with their certificates and his son wasn't in it. The big issue that I should have pushed him to finish, that his son is totally capable of finishing, and could have if someone sat down and held him accountable. That him not finishing is indicative of a broader laxity in the way we run our school, not focusing enough on Results. That we are just too relaxed, and the parents have no way of knowing if their kids will be ready for college because we aren't giving them the Results.

    What about... My expertise? If I say their kid is alright, that should be enough. I do actually know what I'm talking about. I read about these other countries where teachers are respected like doctors, and I ache to be held at a level of esteem commensurate with my abilities, training, education, and talent. Who are these parents to claim that I need to prove myself to them? In what universe do they have the training or expertise to evaluate me if I tried?

    This happens every year and it breaks my heart every time. I very deliberately do not push students or emphasize grades; it's part of a research based methodology to develop autonomous learners. I want the kids to really come to terms with their own limits and motivations, not work on something because I say it has value. I just want people to recognize that I'm doing my absolute best for these kids. Ten hours a day minimum.

    I know parents have no idea how much it hurts when they claim their kids isn't learning anything, but it completely tears me up inside. Why can't people just trust that I know what I'm doing, their children will get into college, and it's OK if their kid doesn't get a certificate?
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Jan 5, 2017

    People who lack in parenting skills often find things to complain about with teachers. I wouldn't take it personally.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 5, 2017

    I wouldn't either, but if you want to keep him, perhaps there is a way to report to the parents more while keeping your philosophy and regimens intact. The parents would learn something valuable from it.
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jan 5, 2017

    Gifted kids need freedom to thrive - that includes the freedom to mess up on their own. Parents don't always get that. Like you said, you know what is right. If you can't communicate that to the parent (or they just don't want to hear it) then accept it and move on.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 5, 2017

    Not every classroom or school is the right fit for every family and vice versa.

    I think that you're taking too much ownership over this. It sounds like a him problem, not a you problem. Be like Elsa.
     
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  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 5, 2017

    What is a microschool?
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 5, 2017

    "we study all sorts of interesting, important things"

    What exactly does this mean? What standards are you following? How are kids assessed and held accountable?
     
  9. Just Justina

    Just Justina New Member

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    Jan 5, 2017

    Standards are pulled from TEKS and Common Core, adapted to fit the kids abilities, and then wrapped into an interdisciplinary curriculum that follows a historical chronology. As for topics, we focus most on world cultures, which means that we spend a lot of time with different foods, different inventions, and different kinds of art. A micro school is a school with under 50 or 150 kids, depending on who you ask. Ours is run as a historical one room school house.
     
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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 6, 2017

    Interesting.
    How many students do you have? Do you teach alone or do you employ a faculty? Is you school accredited?

    As to your original post...
    How are students assessed and held accountable?
    What is your evidence of learning?

    You might want to consider that these are the questions parents have in their minds as well. It's not the number of hours a day you put in or that what you SAY about their kids' learning should be enough for them...it's about demonstrating that their kids ARE learning. You can't really do that without evidence of some sort : portfolios, work samples, data...
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017

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