Matt Damon's Speech to Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bandnerdtx, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 31, 2011

    I've never paid much attention to Matt Damon one way or the other, but this was a sweet speech.

    Matt Damon’s clear-headed speech to teachers rally

    By Valerie Strauss

    Here is the speech that actor Matt Damon gave today to thousands of teachers, parents and others who attended the Save Our Schools march on the Ellipse near the White House to protest the Obama administration’s education policies that are centered on standardized tests.

    Damon was the last of many speakers, including Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, Deb Meier and Jonathan Kozol. I’ve published posts of theirs before, so here is something different: Damon’s common-sense, straight-to-the-point speech.

    " I flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you’re awesome.

    I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.

    I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.

    And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am ... can be tested.

    I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous.’ That was in the ’70s when you could talk like that.

    I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.

    I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

    I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.

    This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

    So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. ... Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back."

    Original link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...eachers-rally/2011/07/30/gIQAG9Q6jI_blog.html
     
  2.  
  3. timsterino

    timsterino Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    Well said, Matt. Well said.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,950
    Likes Received:
    2,104

    Jul 31, 2011

    Nice! Thanks for posting this!:)
     
  5. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    Love it!!!
     
  6. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    I saw this on FB this morning! Good article!
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,347
    Likes Received:
    989

    Jul 31, 2011

    I :wub: Matt!
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    454

    Jul 31, 2011

    Yeah, see, I went to Boston thinking that all the guys from there looked like Matt Damon and the Affleck brothers, and sang and danced like Marky Mark and the New Kids. Sadly, I never had much luck wandering around Southie, even with my looks that many have described as "fresh off the boat Irish." (I can't help it if all of my ancestors came from somewhere on the British Isles.)
     
  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,347
    Likes Received:
    989

    Jul 31, 2011

    LOL Well, I've never been to Boston but I wouldn't be upset if I found at least one Matt clone. He's a smart guy too!
     
  10. IEDUK8

    IEDUK8 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    I {heart} Boston and everything about it!

    Mr. Damon, you might fast become one of my favorite actors. Thanks for your support! :)
     
  11. jwteacher

    jwteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Messages:
    569
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 31, 2011

    Sometimes it's hard to believe when Damon says, "There's millions of people backing you," but it's nice to hear nonetheless.
     
  12. HWilson

    HWilson Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    :love:woo hoo! I <3 Matt Damon more now!!
     
  13. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 31, 2011

    Thank you, Matt! Thanks for posting this - sometimes we all need a pep talk!
     
  14. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,276
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 31, 2011

    At last! Someone who appreciates us in public, no less!
     
  15. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    Wow. Thanks for posting!! I needed to hear that :wub:
     
  16. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    I love it :) It's always nice to hear something good about teachers.
     
  17. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 31, 2011

    that brought tears to my eyes
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,789
    Likes Received:
    158

    Jul 31, 2011

    It's great to have someone like him, who has such a public spotlight, stand up for us. Great job Damon!
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 31, 2011

    Have always liked him. :)
     
  20. kacieann

    kacieann Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    That was an awesome speech. There is a video on YouTube also.
     
  21. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,177
    Likes Received:
    0
  22. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,347
    Likes Received:
    989

    Jul 31, 2011

  23. History79

    History79 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 31, 2011

    This is the problem, politicians or their appointees who used to teach but not in the last 10 years makes these dumb policies for votes. The voters who don't have kids think, "hey this makes sense". Then you have the voters with kids, but haven't met any of their teachers in years also think it's a good idea. Everyone wants accountability but no one is sure how to achieve it. That no child left behind act is awful. Being made to repeat a grade is not a punishment, it is an attempt to give the student another chance to learn what they should learn, and needs to learn to do the work on the next level. In college if you fail a class you repeat it. In medical school if you fail a class you repeat it. As college and medical school build on the foundations of k-12 education; this is the ONE place that students absolutely need to repeat a class if they fail it. Try building a house on a shoddy foundation and it will crumble and fall fairly quickly. If you educated our future on shoddy foundations the whole society will crumble and fall; as is the case in this country now.
     
  24. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2011

    This is very well said! :thumb:

    I had lunch last week with one of my best friends, who also happens to teach at the community college level. He is a former radiology tech that now teaches others entering the program.

    We were both talked about the fact that politicians and government need to finally realize standardized testing DOES NOT WORK!!! We now have more than a decade of statistics to back this up and show that NCLB is NOT achieving the goals of pervasive education it supposedly sought.

    As we talked, my friend said he has a hard time presenting all the material needed for his classes because he and the other professors have to spend so much time doing REMEDIATION of material these students should already know....and these aren't you average, run-of-the-mill college kids....these are supposedly the cream of the crop. Their radiology training program is very exclusive and only about 20 students out of several hundred applicants are accepted each year, so they are supposedly getting some of the best-of-the-best....and these kids STILL don't know some of the most basic facts.

    When I was finishing my licensure classes (most of which were done online), I had to take one of my finals at the testing center of my own local community college. When I talked with the proctor and told her I was pursuing my license in Middle School Math, she said "Please, PLEASE.....teach these kids how to do FRACTIONS!!!!! None of them know how to do them." Again, this was at the college level and they were having to re-teach principles that should have been mastered in middle school.

    My friend and I continued our conversation with other examples. I told him I don't normally allow students to use calculators on my tests, unless there happens to be 1 or 2 problems involving large numbers that would simply take too long for them to multiply or divide using long-hand. He said his students always ask if they can use calculators on his tests as well. His answer is "No, you can't. I'm not testing you on your ability to use a calculator. I KNOW you know how to do that. I'm testing you on your KNOWLEDGE of the material and the calculator won't help you with that."

    I never looked at it that way, but he is right. I know the kids are able to use a calculator. I also know too many of them have become too dependent on calculators and other technology. As I've mentioned several times before, I had 8th graders during my ST that did NOT even know HOW to enter a fraction into a calculator if it didn't have the dec/fract key to do it for them.

    Getting back to Matt Damon's comments, I agree completely with the fact that his greatest assets leading to his success are things that can NOT be measured or "assessed" by standardized testing. I don't want my students to just memorize formulas so they can plug numbers in. Yes, those formulas work, but they need to know WHY those formulas work. How did mathematicians discover that formula in the first place? How can the area of a rectangle be used to show the area of a triangle MUST be 1/2 base x height and not just base x height?

    It continues to be my firm belief that, IF the students learn and understand the material well enough to begin with, I don't NEED to "teach to the test", because that will take care of itself.
     
  25. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,863
    Likes Received:
    737

    Aug 1, 2011

    :thumb:

    My thoughts exactly!
     
  26. GAteacher87

    GAteacher87 Companion

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2011

    I loved his speech! For you veteran teachers who have seen the comings and goings of trends in education, what is your prediction for "teaching to the test"? Even though it seems like everyone in the world is discussing how it just doesn't work, there is no give. When will it be discontinued, in your opinion(s)?
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    5,744
    Likes Received:
    1,667

    Aug 1, 2011

    I agree with Cerek that if you teach them correctly the test will take care of itself. Those that can think critically about the content in the state standards they will know the bare minimum for the state test.
     
  28. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 1, 2011

    Me too!
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2011

    Well, my state (NC) has finally started to see the light. The numbers just do NOT support the premise that NCLB and standardized testing have improved the education and knowledge being received by our students. This past year, our state finally decided standardized testing would NOT be the determining criteria for moving students up to the next grade. They still gave the test as an assessment tool, but that assessment is now just ONE of the criteria used to determine if a child is ready to move on or not.
     
  30. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    3,729
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2011

    I have seen this post for awhile, and just now taken the time to read it. It seriously made me tear up.

    Now I an even bigger fan of Matt Damon!
     
  31. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Messages:
    696
    Likes Received:
    101

    Aug 1, 2011

    Matt Damon is wonderful :)
     
  32. MMRbella

    MMRbella Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2011

    I liked Matt Damon already. Now I LOVE him. :)
     
  33. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,473
    Likes Received:
    54

    Aug 3, 2011

    These two statements seem to be the prevailing, overwhelming sentiment by teachers... It should make everyone wonder why things like these continue to exist. If 90%+ of an industry (as I would estimate, teachers who don't like standardized testing &/or NCLB) want something to be done, why isn't it done?
     
  34. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Aug 3, 2011

    I think it continues because teachers don't run education; politicians do! Doctors control the medical board, lawyers control the bar, but we allow elected politicians with no background in education to make the decisions for our profession. Until we stand together and elect teachers to our state boards and demand that people with teaching experience run the US dept. of education, nothing will change.

    I know that Secretary Duncan has worked in education, but he has never worked as a teacher in a public school classroom. It's like in any business... if the CEO of the company never worked the floors of his shop, people tend to have no respect for him.
     
  35. KLily21

    KLily21 Companion

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2011

    Love it! That's nice to hear right before going back to school.
     
  36. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2011

    I think I have a little bit of a crush now. :)
     
  37. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2011

    same here.
     
  38. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,350
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 3, 2011

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Missy,
  2. pkfridges,
  3. 3Sons
Total: 358 (members: 4, guests: 338, robots: 16)
test