I Need to Say This

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MrsC, May 18, 2011.

  1. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    Here's an excerpt from an email I just sent a dear friend at school. I so wish I could send it to those who really need to hear it:

    I'm having a really hard time with the feelings of some of the staff toward the children that they teach. How sad that only those who sit quietly, work hard and achieve good results are respected and appreciated. What a supreme disservice we are doing to so many of our students. School should be a place where everyone feels safe and is valued; when the disrespect and negativity comes from the teacher, how do some of these kids stand a chance? Oh, that's right, they don't; I try to pick up the pieces when they get to grade 7 or 8 and then I send them off the high school hoping that they won't drop out. Isn't it our job to teach each child in our care, regardless of their abilities? To look for, and find, something in everyone that we can appreciate and enjoy? To recognize that each child is a parent's everything? What right do we have to treat anyone as less-than-worthy of our time and care? It really saddens me that I work with people who I am glad never taught my children.
     
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  3. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    May 18, 2011

    Unfortunately, I feel that way about a lot of the teachers whom I have worked with, observed, etc.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    Mrs C, your school is lucky to have you.

    In fact, education is lucky to have you.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I don't feel that way about many. In the past 20 years, as a parent and as a teacher, there have been only been 6 or so. Unfortunately, it's 3 right now.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Thanks, Alice.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2011

    Thank you for posting. I feel the same way. I see too much of this in my schools and saw much to much of it in the teachers of my own children.
     
  8. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    May 18, 2011

    Mrs. C it is sad that there are still teacher's out there with that attitude.

    I didn't work with the "olders" but being around fam members & their kids I always try to make a point be very encouraging. One I call & just encourage her to keep doing her best!!!
     
  9. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I'd say in the past 4 years, there have been between 9-11 teachers. Most of them are either currently burnt out or never wanted to be a teacher in the first place. :(
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    MrsC---I definitely understand. I have only seen a handful of teachers that truly are not meant to be teachers. And it is so sad for the students in their classes.
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    Here's the response I received from my friend:

    ...I think we all need to remember that we, ourselves, were probably not ideal, intelligent students at some points (or maybe at all points) of our lives. If everyone could just take a step back and think of at least one challenge they faced throughout their school years, perhaps it would help them to understand what many of our students face on a daily basis. Most of us (teachers at xxxx) have been fortunate enough to have moved through our school years with few challenges, whether they have been academic, social, economic, or family-based issues. We are a lucky bunch, but tend to be very self-centred. If we put overselves in the position of many of our students and/or their families and the situations they face, we need to thank our lucky stars for the lives that we have had, and continue, to have. Rather than complaining and criticizing some of our students, we should be making every effort to give these students positive interactions and connections to build their self-esteem. All students should be supported and "loved" no matter what their levels or behaviours are like. That is what a truly inclusive school, and society, should look like!
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I like your friend!

    Can I ask what prompted the conversation, or would you rather not say?
     
  13. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    May 18, 2011

    I love your friend's response... particularly that we, ourselves, were not ideal, intelligent students. I was reminded of that today when dealing with a particularly difficult fourth grader. At one point, he was joking with me about acting exactly like me... I swear I had a flashback to what I was like in fourth grade, and I simply couldn't get mad... he had no idea how much he really was acting like me :lol:

     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We're in the preliminary stages of placing our students in classes for next year. There have been many complaints from a few staff members about the students they will be teaching next year; there are at least 15 students who, 6 weeks from finishing this school year, have already been written off for the next. The icing on the cake was an email from a colleague predicting that the results of psychological testing on one of his students would show that the student is "clinically insane". I'm about ready to snap; I'm afraid of what I may say and how I may say it.
     
  15. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I feel your pain, MrsC.

    I am not comfortable eating lunch with a group of teachers for this reason. And, they are likely uncomfortable eating lunch with me because I've asked them one too many times and expected an answer, "why do you keep coming back to this job year after year?"

    I now eat with a group of great teachers in the cafeteria, right smack in the center of students.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    May 18, 2011

    I think your friend's response should be copied and plastered in every teachers' lounge in the country.

    I wish I had words of wisdom for you. *sigh*
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2011

    :hugs: MrsC. I agree with Alice...your school and education is so very lucky to have you.

    I've had a difficult student this year. I have him for two classes. It's gotten better between as the year as gone by. Well, today I met his mother who is a teacher (surprise! I never knew!). She thanked me for the work that I've done with her son and how he's told her how much he likes being in my class. Made my day!
     
  18. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    May 19, 2011

    Personally I could care less how intelligent a student is. For me, its about how hard they work. I tell students, I am doing my job, they need to do theirs as well. I will help them until I am blue in the face, but they need to be doing their part. The students who act like they don't care or don't give effort, that does not fly with me. I say it all the time to students, there is nothing I dislike in the classroom more than students doing nothing.
    At this point of the year (nope I'm not counting the hours) there are students whos attitudes and actions have just not changed. I don't see anything wrong with calling them out on it. I try the nice route with them, if that doesn't work, I try the "not so nice way".
    I continue to believe that students need to do their part. All students are given respect from the start, but that doesn't mean that it can't be lost.
     
  19. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    May 19, 2011

    I agree, but

    I agree with everything, but it is so hard sometimes to remain positive and encouraging when you have been that for the whole year, have given them chance after chance, opportunity for remediation, retesting, whatever, and here it is, two weeks from graduation, and they are producing nothing, and don't seem to care.

    I am in this situation every year, and I get so tired of trying to find a point here, or a point there, or allowing them to makeup work from March because they just didn't get around to it. I always remain positive till the end, but sometimes, it's just too much.
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 19, 2011

    I understand the frustration of trying to reach students and encourage them to do their best, without having the students even try to meet you halfway.

    The incidents that have pushed me 'over the edge' this week have all related to teachers complaining about students who they have never worked with, but who will be in their class next year.
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 19, 2011

    It IS very easy to pre-judge kids when you see them acting badly and think "If this is how they act the few times I see them, what will it be like when I have them for the entire day or entire class period?"

    I work in the 21st Century afterschool program and often work with students in upper elementary, which means they will be MY students in 1-3 years. When I received my teaching position this year and realized some of my students would be the ones that I had the most difficulty with afterschool last year, I thought "Oh boy, this is gonna be a long year."

    I'm glad to say that I was proven completely WRONG by most of them. There have been 1 or 2 exceptions, but I've been able to work with them and they've shown significant improvement, especially these last few weeks. Of course, I also have a lot more background info on them now that they are in my class and I realize the ones that were most challenging also have several issues outside the classroom that affect their behavior and attitude.

    Like Bob, I have very LOW tolerance for sheer laziness and I have no problem calling students out on that. Sometimes, I'm sure I come across as being rather harsh, but that's OK. Some of the kids NEED to learn they can't just skate by with no effort. However, I've often given the SAME child praise during the same class after chastising them.

    The point is that I didn't get on to them because I don't like them as a person; I called them down because their behavior was not acceptable. That doesn't make them a "bad student", it just means they were making a bad choice at the time. Once they make a "good choice", I give them praise for that to let them know the "bad" incident is history and we're starting fresh.

    We all face challenges in the classroom and outside school every day and that can affect our own attitudes sometimes. My illness is flaring up and sometimes I have quite a bit of pain from it. On those days, I can be very irritable and impatient, so I do my best to say as little as possible because I know I get "snappy" from the pain. I also remind myself that each child in my room has their OWN set of circumstances outside the classroom and I need to keep that in mind when I'm reacting to their behavior. Like me, they may just be having a really bad day that day.

    As for understanding the struggles they might have with the material, I'm getting a refresher on that myself studying for my Praxis certifications. It reminds me just how it feels trying to learn material that does NOT come naturally to me and how frustrating it can be to look at a problem and simply have NO CLUE how to do it at all.

    And I agree we all probably gave our own teachers "challenges" when we were in school.

    It's always good for teachers to take their own Reality Check ever so often, just to make sure they ARE being fair to the students in their room and the ones that will be coming in.
     
  22. Born2beTeacher

    Born2beTeacher Rookie

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    May 26, 2011

    Wow, those letters are so heartfelt and thoughtful, thank you for sharing. I completely agree with you and your friend- when we predetermine which students are the "all-stars" and neglect the students who we feel are subordinate we inhibit the potential of all of our students. In my experience, all students require the opportunity to flourish, and the star students are already well on their way with a little encouragement. It is the "unfortunate few" students that are largely ignored by teachers that need more guidance and nurturing. In many cases these students' needs and talents go unrecognized because they are so "difficult to teach" and "unwilling to learn". We need to take the opportunity to reach out specifically to these students, to better understand their personalities, their ambitions and their learning styles. This opens the doors to the students; they realize that their efforts really matter and that someone "gets" them, and what emerges is a newfound desire to succeed and achieve great things. Care, guidance and attention is all that is needed to render many of these students a joy to teach. All students have the potential to be "all stars" with the right teaching approach.
     
  23. Mrs. Rubble

    Mrs. Rubble Rookie

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    May 26, 2011

    :hugs: to you MrsC! I had a professor during college that told us that before you say one word to (or about) a student, you need to think about whether or not you would want someone to say that to your child.That tidbit of wisdom stuck with me throughout the years and I've made it a point to pass it along to new teachers that I mentor.
     
  24. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    That's wonderful advice, Mrs. Rubble--I wish more teachers would take it.
     
  25. funshine2381

    funshine2381 Companion

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    May 26, 2011

    I have high expectations and I don't let a lot fly with my students. My son is also disabled and I don't let him use that as an excuse. I expect his teachers to push him and to get on to him for unacceptable behavior....I'll keep doing the exact same with my students. Even though he has Asperger's, he has been trained to say "yes ma'am, thank you and please." He is 10 years old. I "train" my high school kids to do the same. A kid must meet me half way....that's what I tell them. I meet them half way and I've done my job- they must meet me the other half of the way. This might not be a popular view- but that's what's wrong with our society right now if you ask me. Seems like most people believe they are entitled to things just because...they should be treated the same for acting like a jerk and doing nothing when Suzy Q is being quiet and doing her work. It's not right. Just my .02
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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  27. MaryAnn

    MaryAnn New Member

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    Hello there,

    I'm on school to be primary teacher, I'm from the Netherlands. I think it's 'funny' that those things I read here are similar by us, in our elementary schools. There are always good teachers who work with their 'ideals', and there are teachers who doing it just because they have to. Sometimes I can understand them, it's hard working sometimes, but I totally agree that we have to search te best place for every kid!
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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