Individuals vs. The Whole

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by callmebob, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    To piggy back off of the Lent and food thread; is it really a schools job to cater to every students needs even when it is not related to academics?
    I personally think that catering to every students academics as much as we do already pushes the line. When you go so far as to say we need to worry about what each individuals is and is not wanting to eat at school, this go beyond the bonds of necessary.

    If someone wants to be a vegetarian, that is their business, that is fine, but don't let it impact me. If it costs me as a teacher or a citizen any extra time, money, or concern; then that is a waste.

    The idea behind Lent and giving up certain foods is a sacrifice. During a sacrifice, you are going to have some experience of suffering. That suffering could come from that craving of food that you can't eat, or it could come from not really being excited about the choices that are actually available to eat due to that sacrifice.
    The end result is the same, it is your sacrifice and not everybody else's.
    So in the case of a school, I don't believe that everybody else should have to worry about the individuals and the choices they are making. You make due on your own.

    Now if only we could get this same idea leaked back into the classroom a little bit as well.
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think it's great anytime we try to incorporate all persons within our community/society (and a school certainly is a community within itself), whether it's food, culture, ethnicity, etc. It strengthens the sense of community.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We can't be all things to all people...But we can, to the best of our abilities, facilitate LEARNING for all our students.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Who determines what is normal, acceptable? The majority? What the majority does or likes doesn't necessarily mean it's the best...

    I like the idea of veggie options because it broadens everyone's diet, and I think that's a good thing.

    I recognize there are limitations and schools cannot cater to everyone, but if it's super simple and does no harm whatsoever, why not?
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I hope I am reading too much into your post. The bolded sentence upsets me the most. As a former (and soon to be returning to that discipline) special ed teacher, it is my job to cater to the needs of every single one of my children, regardless of the nature of their needs.

    I would ask you...how do you determine which children we should not be catering to?

    "If it costs me as a teacher or a citizen any extra time, money, or concern; then that is a waste."

    Again, I hope I am reading too much into this post.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Bob, is this just regarding food? Since you made a new thread and mentioned student academic needs I figure you mean to discuss things beyond food choices, correct?

    If this is correct, then I have the same questions as swan.
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Okay, and if the government makes it a requirement for students to attend school, then YEAH, I of course demand that they provide options to meet the dietary needs of our students.

    What about students with physical limitations? Are they to suffer because we now have to go above and beyond to meet their needs? Or what about kids who are homeless? I know of some school districts that have washer and dryers to wash their clothes because they have a high number of homeless students.

    Or, when I have a kid who is upset because parents are splitting up? I go beyond the academics to be there for them.

    How is a child's decision (either religiously or morally) to be a vegetarian impacting you? And how is it a waste of money to provide healthy food?
     
  9. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    The sentence you just quoted there was in reference to food; not academics. (the waste of time one)
    Though I do believe that we cater to individuals academic needs too much as well. Students overall that is; whether they be special ed or just general ed students who we are expected to do a lot of differentiation for.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Plus I actually think it would cost less to prepare foods without the meat, since the meat is the expensive part. It's not like only certain kids would eat those meals-many times when salads are actually offered I have a number of kids who make that choice. I don't think it hurts anyone.
     
  11. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Thanks for clarifying. I still disagree with you, though. Today's schools are not the schools that I ( and many people my age) grew up with. When I was in school there was no differentiation, no special ed, no catering to anyone's needs other than the class as a whole.

    That worked for us.

    It doesn't work for children today. The world has changed and we must change with it. When I began teaching 35+ years ago it was a different time, a different place.

    Children are different now, academics are different now, schools are different now. We have to be concerned about the child in school...and...the child at home. We have to be concerned about ...yes, what they eat or don't eat, how they dress, what happens outside the class.

    Is it difficult to be all things to all our children?...yes, definitely...

    That is the nature of education now.
     
  12. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Just because that is the nature of it now, does not mean it is right.
    I understand being concerned about the whole child, but the lengths we go sometimes are unnecessary. The amount of differentiated instruction that is expected is absurd. We are teaching children that the world will adapt to them and not the other way around. In reality, once they get out of school, it is not that way and children aren't ready for it. Children are more about the self, in large because we have made everything about them
    Instead of telling them it is their responsibility to learn, we are saying it is our responsibility to reach you. No pressure on them, blame the system if they don't turn out well.
    You are right, it did work for us growing up (and I would still be considered young by some), we had thicker skin.
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Can you provide an example or two of how we differentiate too much?
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I think we can differentiate too much. It shows up in the cases of kids who won't think when it seems at first glance to be too difficult for them. It shows up in parents who won't require their kids to go above and beyond but, instead, want to make it the teacher's responsibility. It shows up when parents and students think they deserve an A simply for completing work. In short, we are training our kids to be overly dependent. This isn't simply due to differentiation, of course. It's much more complicated than that.

    But, in this 'new' era, it seems that way too many parents want their kids to be classified as either gifted or disabled in some way (yes, I know that is somewhat of a generalization). Maybe that's 'cause I taught in private school where the parents were too over-involved ..... But, what has happened to the old work ethic we grew up with?

    I am in no way suggesting that people with disabilities do not deserve accommodations. My own two adult children are disabled.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm pretty sure that I'm the parent of the ONLY average kids in this entire nation.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I very much agree with this.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    We are supposed to be making sure the child progresses as far in academics as possible. That is the function of school. So, we can teach the child that you will always be a looser because you can't keep up with my teaching methods or concepts because you are too slow or need something I don't want to give you. What that ends up with is a child with even a larger deficit in academic skills and a realization that there is nothing out there for them.

    The other option is to put academic learning first and make sure that all is done to make sure that students that are falling behind are given additional academic help since that will aid them in the future.

    It is interesting the notion that a boss might not allow you to take training mutliple times is the rationale to write off a kid at a young age when we know developmentally kids learn at different rates and often at varying ability levels depending on subject matter (forget the impact of the teacher).

    So, at what age do we cut them off and decide they either keep up with the group or write them off?

    I know many middle age adults that are all about self although they perceive themselves as not that way.

    Tell the blind kid he is responsible to see. Tell the kid whose teacher re-explains something by saying the same thing LOUDER that it is their responsibility to learn. Tell the kid who isn't taught to spell but told to memorize and fails miserably no matter how many hours are put into the task that they are failing in their responsibilty to learn because they can't do it the way the teacher wants.

    Our job is to figure out how to reach the child. It isn't, as some have expressed in the past at my school, the child's job to figure out what will work for him when he is 8 years old.

    All too often we write off children under this "responsibility to learn" phrase that just means any child that isn't able to produce must be the problem for not being responsible for his learning. I don't buy it. Sorry. Most kids that show up at school everyday would love to be able to learn and understand the work. Human nature shows that the majority of people will not be this "model student" that you are describing. That is why the job is difficult. All students are taught, not just the ones that are "model students".

    Yes, it worked for those that were successful at it. Have a chat with someone that wasn't successful at school. They will tell you a completely different story about what it was like to be subjected day after day to a situation that was next to intolerable because they were required to be there every day and nothing was done to help them learn but allowed them to flounder because they were a round peg being pounded into a square hole. Funny how the winners always think those that don't come out on top just didn't try hard enough or are not worthy.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    How does differentiating instruction lead to this? I just don't see the connection...

    I mean, I absolutely understand that some students don't want to truly exercise their brains and some parents think submitting work should result in an A...but I don't understand how differentiated instruction is even part of the cause.

    Maybe we just don't do it nearly to the extent as others, or perhaps I view the practice differently.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    This made me giggle so much! I almost hesitate to use the word "average" to describe students because no one wants to be average anymore! They all need to be special snowflakes!
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure if this is what others mean, but here's how I see it. Lots of students want to do things in a certain way, and they get upset or apathetic when they find out that they can't do it that way. For example, sometimes students must simply read. Reading is an important skill. When it comes to reading, it's not always appropriate to play games, run around, use manipulatives, draw pictures, sing songs, etc. But kids are so used to all of those other, more differentiated strategies and techniques that they, and their parents and even some administrators, start to view activities like reading as negative, boring, simplistic, and inadequately differentiated. The same goes for tasks like writing and memorizing, as well.
     
  21. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I assure you that in my religion, sacrifice is not the reason that we don't eat meat. If it is not more expensive and if it is healthier, how would it negatively affect you if a school provided vegetarian options? (Vegetarian options CAN be cheaper)

    Even if it slightly affected you (and I don't see how it would), it's somewhat selfish to think that just because it hurts you a tiny bit, tons of other people should "suffer" because of a choice that many people make.

    There is nothing wrong with assuring that each student's needs are fulfilled within reason.
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Some students cost me a lot of time when they come to extra time. They often need extra help after school to get help on the material to succeed. It doesn't bother me one bit. It's a pleasure to help students who want to succeed and just need a little extra help.

    Without my help, or the help of their resource teachers, they would not be doing well in my class. Without this extra attention, these students would be in a lower level math class and would not reach the levels that they have reached now. It's not a waste at all.
     
  23. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Everyone has a different philosophy on education. Some people want to go the extra mile or in some cases the extra ten miles for certain students. If that is what you want to do there is nobody stopping you. I just don't believe that it should be the expectation.
    I do not feel that teachers (most not all) do not get paid enough to require them to go those extra miles.
    There should not be a strict cut off age for when you say to the kid, you're on your own, make sure you learn it. But at some point that expectation to learn needs to be put on them. Those students need to take responsibility for their learning. If the teacher is doing their job and the student is not putting forth the effort, the teacher should not be looked down upon for what the kid does not learn.
    I make some adjustments to my lesson and I help students out the best I can. In the end, I still teach it the best way I know how. That may not be the most conducive way for every one of the students to learn it, but it is what I am most comfortable with in teaching. Hopefully most of them will understand and gain some knowledge from it. The reality is, not every student will. I can accept that and move on. There are many reasons why some students wont be as successful as others, and I acknowledge the fact that I do not have control over all of those reasons.
    We as teachers take the blame for students that don't succeed all of the time when we know there are many factors that have influence. I just choose to recognize that I am not the only factor.
     
  24. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I wasn't referring to students whose needs are clear, I guess, but, rather, just kids who are being handled overly -gingerly and are maybe mis-identified. I don't think anybody here would even consider that truly disabled kids shouldn't have their needs met in a way that optimizes their education.

    As I said, above, my views on this are probably somewhat skewed by seeing so many overindulgent parents ....
     
  25. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Creating Reteaching groups based on specific types of problems/standards that students don't excel on during out progress monitoring tests throughout the year.
    Having to look at over 100 students to figure out the exact standards they missed on one test, to regroup them, then reteach them, then retest them again, with the intention of continuing to do it until we have proof that they mastered it. Then starting the process all over again with a new standards.
    Keeping track of all these groups and regular homeroom groups all the while.

    That is just one example.
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Do you know what happens to students whose teachers determine on their own that the student is mis-identified and teaches them accordingly? Unfortunately, this happens too often. Students that have disabilities and teacher that determine they are mis-identified fail to get the help they need. The teacher turns the idea of mis-identification to failing to put forth enough effort into a self-fulfilling prophecy because the student that doesn't get the right help doesn't perform which looks like lack of effort.

    I feel so sorry for students that have teachers that make their own decisions even after testing shows there is a disability that the student is "too smart" or "just not trying" as the problem or those that don't have a "clear enough disability to suit the teacher". These students not only fail to progress in academics but get beaten down by the teacher because the attitude is that the problem is the choice of the child.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So, I guess it is about you and not the needs of the students. This is exactly why we have NCLB. Seems you are comfortable in letting students be left behind if it requires you to teach out of YOUR comfort zone even when you know it isn't conducive to learning for some kids. You then put the ownness on them to make up for your choice to only teach to your comfort level.

    Thank you for being so honest even though it makes me so sad to hear that you are willing to let students struggle and fail so that you can stay comfortable in your methods.
     
  28. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    where do we draw the line on disabilities though?

    If a kid really does not put forth the effort in the early years of education and they get near the end of elementary school they are going to be lacking in skills. If they get tested they may test low enough to qualify with a disability. Is this really because they have a learning disability or that they didn't learn enough early on?

    Also I have had students who had IEP's because they can't pay attention enough. Really. Where is the line on that. I'm not trying to get into a disabilities discussion, but it is part of the whole differentiation aspect. I work with a teacher who at one point this year was expected to have 7 different behavior charts for students in her classroom. 3 of those students had IEP's for them, while 4 were being monitored. Seems like just a bit much to me. (3 of those 4 other students were eventually taken off the monitoring, but the teacher is still doing 2 of those behavior charts for a total of 5 individual ones in the classroom)
     
  29. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I think the issue comes when some students try hard, but need the extra help in order to succeed.
    If a student never does homework and never takes notes, then I don't give them too much extra help. (Not that they come anyway.)
    If a student tries hard, does his/her work and needs a little help, then I like to give it to them.

    I agree that teachers shouldn't be looked down upon if one of their students doesn't succeed.
     
  30. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    It is not all about me. I want my students to be successful.
    I still ask the question, when do we put the responsibility on the students? We teach them that they need to be responsible, when do we actually begin to expect it and require it?
    If a student doesn't understand a concept, can we not expect them to ask for the help? If they choose not to, when does that become their responsibility?
     
  31. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Apr 9, 2012

    This I understand and agree with.
     
  32. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Disabilities aren't diagnosed because the student is ONLY academically behind. Students needed (in the past before RTI) to have a deficit in the way the brain processes information or the abiilty to respond to that information. A child with no deficit area that is just behind acadmically does not received a diagnosis of a disability. That is why most kids with lower IQ's that aren't developmentally delayed rarely (unless some other medical disability exists) are identified as having a disability.

    Now with RTI, any child that is falling behind is supposed to be given added support that varies in method and intensity the longer that support is given without showing marked progress. At the end of the process, a student that is requiring large amount of additional support that is showing minimal or no progress can then be identified as a student with a disabilty as another option to the discrepancy model.

    So, your notion of the lazy kid that is just behind should not be receiving a label of learning disabilty. However, this child should, under RTI, already be receiving extra help that not only addresses academic issues but issues that may interfere with learning.

    I've know too many kids with disabilities labeled as lazy when, in fact, they aren't. There are varied reasons why a child will not ask for help. First and foremost is negative interactions when they needed help in the past. Think of the teacher that requires the student to ask specific questions when the student can't formulate those specific questions or understands the task so poorly there is no way a comment other than 'I just don't understand any of it' is possible for the student. Add an underlying language issue or ADHD to the mix, you have a recipe for a student that can't do what is requested. Another reason a student may not ask is embarassment or knowing that they will be blamed either verbally or non-verbally for not knowing and often accused of not paying attention or giving enough effort. Another reason is the student actually thinks they understand it when they are way off base. All of these are the responsibility to determine where the disconnect lies and address the issue.
     
  33. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    AtoZ,
    What about the students who are not labeled with a disability (I'm not trying to fight that battle here). The ones who could try harder, could pay more attention, could be more responsible, but they choose not to.
    When are you willing to put it on them, give them responsibility?
    I teacher 4th grade, I think most of them are old enough to have that responsibility at this time. I have a job to do and so do they.
     
  34. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    It's funny that you have that idea about 4th graders, and I struggle to convince my high school students of the same thing. I give them responsibility, but many of them refuse to accept it, and as a result fail.
     
  35. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I guess I have high expectations of students and parents.
     

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