Blog Response #5

Blog Response #5

 

Title of Post:  That They Should Wear Our Colors There...

 

URL:  http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/904-That-They-Should-Wear-Our-Colors-There....html

 

Mr. Thompson commented:  "Chris says that his school will have to push aside important things to prepare students to pass high stakes tests. What an amazing admission of failure on his part. Is that because his students arrive at his school way way behind? If so what are the feeder schools doing to fix that? Or do the students fall behind when they get to his school? I spent 9 years teaching in private schools and never saw more than a handful of students need extra help to pass high stakes exams. Get extra high scores sure but not just to pass. Is the falure on the part of students, parents, teachers or some combination?"

 

My Response:


Teaching in a private school is much different than teaching in a public school. I've been in both. As a whole, the students in each type of school come from incredibly different backgrounds. Students at private schools have the money to afford to go there. This typically means the parents have a good education and also care about their children's education (or else they wouldn't be willing to fork over the moo-lah!), want their children to succeed, and maybe the most important part, there are two parents in the household. Whether both parents work, or the family is able to afford to have one parent stay home, the environment tends to be healthy and the teacher is not the only person emphasizing education.  The foundations and opportunity to succeed is present.

On the flip side, students who attend urban public schools usually do not have a healthy environment to rely on. Parents are working long hours to make ends meet, or perhaps the home is broken and there is only one parent. In these situations, the emphasis of learning is not always there.  Thus the responsibility falls on the teacher to show the student that education is important as well as giving them the foundation to succeed. Now, instead of one-or how about a handful-of students who need that guidance, with little to no help from the parents mind you, add around 25 more students (per classroom that is). See the problem?

I am not saying parents and culture are the entire problem, but it is a big issue that needs to be addressed. If anyone can provide a solution to how public schools can change the negative affects of broken homes, a parents' involvement in their child's education, or the values the community has, education may be perceived as more "successful" no matter what your idea of a successful educational system is.

 

BLOG RESPONSE #4

BLOG RESPONSE #4

URL:  http://teacherbarry.blogspot.com/2006/08/teach-to-test.html

Author Barry wrote, "Something I've noticed since I've been back in the glorious retail oasis that is a chain gas station in corporate America is that "Teach to the Test" is exactly what our kids need."

My Response:

Barry,

I agree that we need to teach students material that will be on the test so that we can keep our jobs, administrators will be pleased, and the government will sign the checks.  But, the test is the bare minimum and no one wants to barely get by.  This, of course, all stems from The No Child Left Behind Act.  It's wonderful in theory but it also means no child pushed ahead.  This is what concerns me:  educators are so busy making sure everyone can pass THE test that we aren't challenging the students so the can reach their full potential.  We aren't allowing them to make conjectures and explore possibilities.  We're keeping them in the box.  It's fine if students want to work in a hard job with little pay for the rest of their lives.  I'm certain that's not what they want, though.  And as educators, it's our responsibility to make available the tools that they need to fulfill their dreams.

Jessica

 

Blog Response #3

Blog Response #3

Title of Post:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers

URL:  http://teaching.mrbelshaw.co.uk/index.php/2007/10/15/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-teachers/

Doug Belshaw, a teacher in England, discusses habits that make an effective teacher:  "I don't know whose great idea it was for class sizes of around 30 to be the norm in western education, but it doesn't exactly encourage close teacher-student relationships. This is a great shame as it's only with effective relationships that true learning takes place."

My Response: 

Mr. Belshaw,

I agree with the fact that teacher-student relationships are important.  From past experience, the closer I was with the teacher the more I learned, the more I tried, and the more I didn't want the teacher to be disappointed in me.  Most of these close relationships took place in smaller classes but I do remember one class of over 80 students where I felt like I knew the teacher.  He accomplished this closeness through his personal stories throughout the year.  However, he never gave out family member names or shared information about them that they would not appreciate.  The stories were funny, something everyone can relate to, and they illustrated the material covered in class.  I thought it was an effective way to establish a teacher-student relationship in an oversized class.

 Jessica

 

Blog Response #2

Blog Response #2

Title of Post:  How do we keep new teachers? 

URL:  http://timfredrick.typepad.com/timfredrick/2007/08/how-do-we-keep-.html?cid=84759892#comment-84759892

Tim Frederick, the principle in an urban school, provides a few solutions to the high number of teachers leaving the field within the first years:  "New teachers need to have lighter schedules with the students who struggle the least.  This gives them the confidence in their skills, as well as the time to practice and gain experience, that one needs to teach the most difficult students."

My Response:

Tim, 

I am currently in my junior year in college and studying to be a high school math teacher. The statistics for novice teachers leaving the field are frightening. Very frightening. Of course, like any human I've experienced the "What if I don't like it?" "What if I'm not prepared?" and all the other "what if" questions. But then I stop and think: there are veteran teachers, and although all of them will not be willing to lend a hand, one teacher will, AND every teacher has been in the same "unprepared" boat - not all of them have sunk either! However, these fears are all overruled by my undying desire to help students, to care for students, and to be there for students. That is what is important.

Sure, having a lighter load will give me time to practice so that I can gain confidence and expertise. But, maybe it's not suppose to be that way? Maybe new teachers aren't suppose to be cut any slack? I'm pretty sure the students, curriculum guidelines, and standards won't be cutting me slack. And perhaps, those "teachers" who walk out within the first years aren't there to truly help students.

Then again, I could very possibly become a statistic.

 

Blog Response #1

Blog Response #1 

Title of Post:  My School Goals Journal - Take 2 

URL:  http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/883-My-School-Goals-Journal-Take-Two.html

Chris Lehmann, the principle of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA, discusses his goals for the academic year by, "Continue[ing] to deeply investigate what this notion of 21st Century teaching and learning means. We should look at the idea that learning is networked, and that our networks are now global." 

My Response:

Chris, 

I think it is crucial that we look at learning as a global network.  Countries and their citizens are no longer isolated from each other creating an even larger melting pot of cultures, ideas, learning, and teaching.  Having students work with other students from around the world will not only open their minds to multiple possibilities (not to mention the technology they will encounter!), but also increase their global awareness.  That awareness will become crucial when that student eventually enters the work force and will be competing internationally for a job.  Perhaps this won't be case, but if a student it technologically savvy, is bilingual, or is familiar with customs of other nations, he becomes that much more marketable and the opportunity of advancement doubles. 

 
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