Teacher Resigned on Youtube

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Proud2BATeacher, May 30, 2013.

  1. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    May 30, 2013

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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 30, 2013

    Interesting video...and I do feel sorry for her tough situation.

    Things are different where I work. Sure test scores have too much emphasis where I work too. Still, I can teach the standards basically how I want and put in plenty of creativity as long as I teach the standards. I hope there aren't too many schools that mandate how standards are taught, so teachers still have the freedom to become the teacher they are meant to be.
     
  4. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    May 31, 2013

    Sounds familiar, right? This is the future of public education unless parents, teachers and students refuse to let it happen. Please take this seriously, it's happening in more schools than you think.
    Steve
     
  5. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    May 31, 2013

    Everything that teacher said in her resignation letter is spot on for me.
     
  6. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I see many of the things this lady talks about in Fla. It is criminal and a dmnd shame. A love of learning? Data data data and the holy grail,STANDARDIZED TESTS...........
     
  7. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    May 31, 2013

    I posted another thread about this some time ago - I'm not a teacher, not even a parent, just a semi-intelligent taxpayer - and what I want to hear is "OK if you don't like tests, tell me how you can show you're actually learning my kids good, other than just taking your word for it."

    If the guy working on the assembly line overtightens or undertightens too many bolts, he gets ****-canned. If the lawyer or consultant doesn't get enough billable hours or his clients complain too much to his boss, he gets a one-way trip to palookaville. If you don't like tests, you gotta explain to people how they can actually assess who are the good and bad teachers.

    And real per-student spending has more than doubled in the past 40 years, yet there is at least a perception that schools are yielding worse results. So again, ya gotta explain to me why either schools aren't actually doing worse, or what's going wrong, because it's not lack of moola.
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 1, 2013

    The initial idea behind standardized tests is reasonable - the only way to objectively determine if students have learned the material at a proficient level is to test their knowledge of that material. The problem comes in when teacher evaluations are tied to these test results because they puts ALL the blame for student's performance on the teacher, rather than the student. Even when politicians, officials and administration acknowledge the effort (or LACK of effort) from kids can also play a part, they immediately provide excuses for this lack of effort based on socio/economic factors and demographics. The fact that politicians insisted "100% of students will learn 100% of the material" as a goal of standardized testing - and then tied funding to achievement of that goal - shows how out of touch they can be with the education system.

    It is simply impossible to get 100% of your students to achieve the same level of understanding of the

    material in the class. Some students understand math and science better than language arts, others are more inclined towards language and/or art rather than the analytical approach of mathematics.

    Everyone learns in different ways and are better at different things. While I agree there should be a baseline of comprehension of the material, I do NOT agree it is always the teacher's fault when this comprehension doesn't occur.

    I've seen first-hand kids go down the line and just color in circles without even bothering to read the questions.

    When I taught at the alternative high school last year, I had an Algebra I class, which is one of the heavily tested subject areas. I had students that were chronically absent and others that gave absolutely ZERO effort in class. One student would even sleep through most classes. I printed copies of the released Algebra I exam and spent two weeks working every problem in the book with the students, or at least with those willing to give any effort. Others just talked about their social activities while we tried to study. In the end, I had 50% of my students pass the Algebra I test. That makes me look like a terrible teacher, until you realize I had 8 students and the 4 who actually paid attention in class and put forth just a minimal effort are the ones who passed. Of the 4 who did not pass, one was absent 12 of the 14 days we were doing the review (which was a consistent pattern throughout the year). Two others "finished" the 3-hour test in less than 60 minutes - just long enough to scan the questions and color in the required number of circles.

    That's a rather extreme example, admittedly, but it is applicable to regular classes as well. So, even though I only had 50% of my student "pass" the standardized test AND wasn't fully certified in HS Math, my P was satisfied with my performance and offered the position to me full-time for the following year (I was hired after Christmas Break and just finished the year with the school, so I only had a total of about two months to assess what the kids knew and teach them what they didn't.

    Your real spending per student statistic is also interesting. I would like to know where it comes from and exactly what it means, because while there is no doubt school districts spend far more money now than they used to, that extra spending RARELY relates to direct benefits for the student. More often, it is for different things that can be related to student education, but doesn't benefit them directly. A prime example is the creation of new positions or extra positions in the central office.

    I began the year working in a school that was federally funded, rather than state funded. ALL the teachers and educators in our end of the state talk about this school because it is a multi-million dollar campus, with much of the latest technology in the rooms, state-class athletic venues and many other high-cost items, but right after the end of the first grading period, the middle school ran out of copy paper because the school couldn't afford to pay for it. :eek:

    This is just a minor example of the fiscal irresponsibility that exists in many districts across the country.
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jun 1, 2013

    It goes without saying how incredibly brave this woman is to post something so meaningful. I was expecting a mean spirited, glass half empty rant. But it was nothing like that.

    I feel like my experience in education has been similar to hers, the only difference being that I started teaching in the late 2000s, which means a lot of teacher freedoms she speaks of had already been stripped away.

    However, I can still relate because my first two years teaching I was at a school with a Principal who was about to retire, so he was extremely laid back and I think he had stopped caring which sounds bad, but gave me more freedom than I ever thought imaginable.

    The only thing that stressed me at work was managing student behavior (and my insane grade level chair). In terms of instruction, I had complete autonomy.

    The teaching itself was really fun. We did projects, several field trips, a lot of exploration, and I did a daily "rap session" after recess each day, etc.

    Then I was involuntarily transferred to a school that is more in line with the county standard. And that's when the stress began and all the fun stopped.

    Everything became more like what the teacher in the video said. Suddenly I had to adhere to a strict schedule (I got cited for letting math run over into science). Our test scores are posted up on the walls of all staff areas (break room, conference room, principal's office, all the copy rooms) and organized by teacher name, subject, test score and class average.

    During staff meetings our P has been known to read over a grade level's test scores and chastise them in front of the entire staff because they are below (or in many cases, slightly below) the county average.

    What baffles me most is that we are always asked, "What can you do to improve your test scores?" and it's always at the tip of my tongue to say, "What would YOU suggest because obviously what we're doing is not working. If you had a student that cannot solve 1 + 1 after trying repeatedly, wouldn't you work WITH them to get there?"

    I feel like no one wants to give a clear set of instructions because:

    1. They don't know themselves

    2. They don't want to be bothered because if the information doesn't help test scores, they are accountable

    3. They want us to teach to the test (but no one wants to say it).

    About #3, admins and the people pushing our new CC curriculum demand we follow the curriculum they have given us. However, what my team found is that the lesson seeds were not matching the assessment. When we brought that up during a training we were told, "Oh if you want the students to pass the test, you have to teach to the standard, not the curriculum." Then at the same meeting a few minutes later, they start stressing the importance of following curriculum. :dizzy:

    Ugh, now I sound like a glass half full kinda teacher. :soapbox: I love what I do, but the administration and the attitudes toward educators in general does make it harder some days then others.

    I am more stressed now than I was when I first started, which is backwards according to my aunt who taught from the 60s until she retired in the mid-90s.
     
  10. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Energy, housing, health care etc has at least a multiple of ten attached to it. A lot of that "real per-student" spending is the mountains of paper work, administrative costs, testing, UNFUNDED mandates etc that seems so important now to make schools "better".
     
  11. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    The source of the educational spending statistics is http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=66.

    "Real" spending refers to after adjustment for inflation.

    I appreciate that you can't push a string. A couple years ago I tutored a kid for the math SAT who was basically being pushed by his uncle to go to college. I put a lot of effort into it, although I have never ever ever claimed that I am skilled at teaching. The kid just really didn't care, and didn't do well.

    To reply to the Em_catz though, speaking again in the third person, "I don't want to have to tell you what to do. You're supposed to be the expert in education, not me."

    Clearly, anyone who thinks 100% of students will achieve 100% "proficiency" (whatever that means) is smoking something. It's a question of how many students fail by how much - or at least should be.

    And as I have posted in other threads, I believe it should be possible to control for the cohort of students. The kids who are inattentive and indolent in 5th grade were probably the same in 4th grade. A teacher who takes a student who got 50 last year and they get a 51 this year has achieved something. A teacher who takes a student who got 90 last year and they get 88 this year has not done so well. (Please don't nitpick on the numbers, just trying to present a general idea without getting into "reversion to the mean.")
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 2, 2013

    My husband and I consider my position as a teacher in a very urban, extremely low-income school as a ministry. I have students who often only receive well-balanced, hot meals at school, who have no structure or safe haven at home. Many don't know where they will actually sleep each night, and many more have no idea who their sperm donors are or where their moms are (they live with grandma). The problems they face are generational.

    Normally, I do not track my spending too closely, because I do it freely. I want my classroom to be a warm and welcoming place, and I want my students to have the supplies and materials they need to give them the best possible chances of success. This past calendar year, however, I chose to keep an Excel spreadsheet listing all of my expenditures. I spent over $12,000 from January 1 - December 31, 2012. I did not spend my money on frivolous things. Rather, I spent it on books, pencils, paper, ink and toner. The only working printers in my classrooms were purchased by me (CCSS requires student work to be created on computers and printed), and I am the only person/entity that supplied the ink/toner for them. I purchased crayons and scissors for my students to use, as well as markers, composition books, and bottled water (our classroom had no water fountain, and there was no fountain on ours or the two adjoining wings). I have purchased backpacks, socks, and shoes for my students. Many of my students entered first grade not only without supplies, but often without the requisite background knowledge (Louisiana does not require kindergarten). My district does not supply the abovementioned items for my classroom. Nor does my state. They do, however, require that my students perform as well as those in the magnet schools or in private schools (our governor has a particular affinity for private schools). We are not told how to accomplish this, just that we must.

    With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (with which I actually agree), we are now told to make bricks without straw, so to speak. We are told that our basals are no longer appropriate (although we are still sent the stupid workbooks that we aren't supposed to use). One of the state provided powerpoints presented at a "teacher leader" conference actually stated that [to acquire needed students texts (trade books)] "teachers can purchase these.... or frequent their local library." I seriously doubt that my local library has enough copies of The Wizard of Oz to supply my entire class, much less all of the classes in the district.

    I love my job. I love my students. I will not allow testing to give me an ulcer. I will continue to do the best job I possibly can. Now that I will be a third grade teacher, my students will be judged against other third graders nationally. I can only pray that my own efforts and initiatives will suffice.
     
  13. marc92647

    marc92647 Rookie

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    Jun 3, 2013

    "Raising students' test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal, and in order to achieve it, the creativity, flexibility, and spontaneity that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated,"

    This is the part I disagree with. If her creativity, flexibility, and spontaneity actually created an authentic learning environment she would easily reach and exceed any standardized test scores. Multiple choice standardized test scores are the easiest of tests to achieve in.
     

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