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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Angelified Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:30pm
I am new to this kind of school system here in the US. In my country my daughter started school at 7:45am and finished at 12 and this starts at 1st grade. She did a sport had a 30 min lunch, had recess for 15 mins. She was acting in plays with a part assigned to each child and reciting poems. If Children in Africa can do this where is the U.S. going wrong?From 3rd grade school ends at 1:30pm and then 4th grade school ends at 3pm. And still learnt. I think that for children to be be well rounded they need the physical activity, they need to move around and compete with other children in their districts. How does a child start school at 7:55am and finish at 3pm? What are they learning that they are being made to concentrate for that long. I see nothing special in the teaching because when my child comes home I still feel like I am teaching her again. Sport helps with discipline and teamwork which i see lack of amongst many American kids. As for parental involvement, I am very involved in my childs work but it is not my job to teach them. To be honest if I taught my child I WOULD GO CRAZY. I DO NOT HAVE THE PATIENCE. I think that there is a lot of slacking that goes on with reference to the school where my daughter is currently. I am moving districts because of this issue. I am not happy with the system here but teachers need to be more creative and stop just teaching out of textbooks and the internet. They need to get children moving. Think outside the box!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Luv2Teach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:36pm
This is kind of long but a great article. 

Teacher’s resignation letter: ‘My profession … no longer exists’

Posted by Valerie Strauss on April 6, 2013 at 4:00 am

i-quitIncreasingly teachers are speaking out against school reforms that they believe are demeaning their profession, and some are simply quitting because they have had enough.

Here is one resignation letter from a veteran teacher, Gerald J. Conti, a social studies teacher at Westhill High School in Syracuse, N.Y.:

Mr. Casey Barduhn, Superintendent
Westhill Central School District
400 Walberta Park Road
Syracuse, New York 13219

Dear Mr. Barduhn and Board of Education Members:

It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than twenty-seven years of service at Westhill on June 30, under the provisions of the 2012-15 contract. I assume that I will be eligible for any local or state incentives that may be offered prior to my date of actual retirement and I trust that I may return to the high school at some point as a substitute teacher.

As with Lincoln and Springfield, I have grown from a young to an old man here; my brother died while we were both employed here; my daughter was educated here, and I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I know that I have been fortunate to work with a small core of some of the finest students and educators on the planet.

I came to teaching forty years ago this month and have been lucky enough to work at a small liberal arts college, a major university and this superior secondary school. To me, history has been so very much more than a mere job, it has truly been my life, always driving my travel, guiding all of my reading and even dictating my television and movie viewing. Rarely have I engaged in any of these activities without an eye to my classroom and what I might employ in a lesson, a lecture or a presentation. With regard to my profession, I have truly attempted to live John Dewey’s famous quotation (now likely cliché with me, I’ve used it so very often) that  “Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.” This type of total immersion is what I have always referred to as teaching “heavy,” working hard, spending time, researching, attending to details and never feeling satisfied that I knew enough on any topic. I now find that this approach to my profession is not only devalued, but denigrated and perhaps, in some quarters despised. STEM rules the day and “data driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core, along with a lockstep of oversimplified so-called Essential Learnings. Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education and particularly not at Westhill.

A long train of failures has brought us to this unfortunate pass. In their pursuit of Federal tax dollars, our legislators have failed us by selling children out to private industries such as Pearson Education. The New York State United Teachers union has let down its membership by failing to mount a much more effective and vigorous campaign against this same costly and dangerous debacle. Finally, it is with sad reluctance that I say our own administration has been both uncommunicative and unresponsive to the concerns and needs of our staff and students by establishing testing and evaluation systems that are Byzantine at best and at worst, draconian. This situation has been exacerbated by other actions of the administration, in either refusing to call open forum meetings to discuss these pressing issues, or by so constraining the time limits of such meetings that little more than a conveying of information could take place. This lack of leadership at every level has only served to produce confusion, a loss of confidence and a dramatic and rapid decaying of morale. The repercussions of these ill-conceived policies will be telling and shall resound to the detriment of education for years to come. The analogy that this process is like building the airplane while we are flying would strike terror in the heart of anyone should it be applied to an actual airplane flight, a medical procedure, or even a home repair. Why should it be acceptable in our careers and in the education of our children?

My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom. Teacher planning time has also now been so greatly eroded by a constant need to “prove up” our worth to the tyranny of APPR (through the submission of plans, materials and “artifacts” from our teaching) that there is little time for us to carefully critique student work, engage in informal intellectual discussions with our students and colleagues, or conduct research and seek personal improvement through independent study. We have become increasingly evaluation and not knowledge driven. Process has become our most important product, to twist a phrase from corporate America, which seems doubly appropriate to this case.

After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered.

For the last decade or so, I have had two signs hanging above the blackboard at the front of my classroom, they read, “Words Matter” and “Ideas Matter”. While I still believe these simple statements to be true, I don’t feel that those currently driving public education have any inkling of what they mean.

Sincerely and with regret,

Gerald J. Conti
Social Studies Department Leader
Cc: Doreen Bronchetti, Lee Roscoe
My little Zu.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luv2Teach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:38pm
And this one too! I'm tired of all the post errors with highlighting some of the key points.

Randy Turner

Randy Turner

English teacher

GET UPDATES FROM RANDY TURNER

A Warning to Young People: Don't Become a Teacher

Posted: 04/09/2013 4:58 pm

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Nothing I have ever done has brought me as much joy as I have received from teaching children how to write the past 14 years. Helping young writers grow and mature has been richly rewarding and I would not trade my experiences for anything.

That being said, if I were 18 years old and deciding how I want to spend my adult years, the last thing I would want to become is a classroom teacher.

Classroom teachers, especially those who are just out of college and entering the profession, are more stressed and less valued than at any previous time in our history.

They have to listen to a long list of politicians who belittle their ability, blame them for every student whose grades do not reach arbitrary standards, and want to take away every fringe benefit they have -- everything from the possibility of achieving tenure to receiving a decent pension.

Young teachers from across the United States have told me they no longer have the ability to properly manage classrooms, not because of lack of training, not because of lack of ability, not because of lack of desire, but because of upper administration decisions to reduce statistics on classroom referrals and in-school and out-of-school suspensions. As any classroom teacher can tell you, when the students know there will be no repercussions for their actions, there will be no change in their behavior. When there is no change in their behavior, other students will have a more difficult time learning.

Teachers are being told over and over again that their job is not to teach, but to guide students to learning on their own. While I am fully in favor of students taking control of their learning, I also remember a long list of teachers whose knowledge and experience helped me to become a better student and a better person. They encouraged me to learn on my own, and I did, but they also taught me many things. In these days when virtual learning is being force-fed to public schools by those who will financially benefit, the classroom teacher is being increasingly devalued. The concept being pushed upon us is not of a teacher teaching, but one of who babysits while the thoroughly engaged students magically learn on their own.

During the coming week in Missouri, the House of Representatives will vote on a bill which would eliminate teacher tenure, tie 33 percent of our pay to standardized test scores (and a lesser, unspecified percentage for those who teach untested subjects) and permit such innovations as "student surveys" to become a part of the evaluation process.

Each year, I allow my students to critique me and offer suggestions for my class. I learn a lot from those evaluations and have implemented some of the suggestions the students have made. But there is no way that eighth graders' opinions should be a part of deciding whether I continue to be employed.

The Missouri House recently passed a budget that included $2.5 million to put Teach for America instructors in our urban schools. The legislature also recently acted to extend the use of ABCTE (American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence), a program that allows people to switch careers and become teachers without having to go through required teaching courses.

It is hard to get past the message being sent that our teachers are not good enough so we have to go outside to find new ones.

And of course to go along with all of these slaps in the face to classroom teachers, the move toward merit pay continues. Merit pay and eliminating teacher tenure, while turning teachers into at-will employees are the biggest disservice our leaders can do to students. How many good classroom teachers will no longer be in the classroom because they question decisions by ham handed administrators looking to quickly make a name for themselves by implementing shortsighted procedures that might look good on resumes, but will have a negative impact on student learning.

If you don't believe this kind of thing will happen, take a look at what has occurred in our nation's public schools since the advent of No Child Left Behind. Everything that is not math or reading has been de-emphasized. The teaching of history, civics, geography, and the arts have shrunk to almost nothing in some schools, or are made to serve the tested areas. Elementary children have limited recess time so more time can be squeezed in for math and reading.

Even worse, in some schools weeks of valuable classroom time are wasted giving practice standardized tests (and tests to practice for the practice standardized tests) so obsessive administrators can track how the students are doing. In many school districts across the nation, teachers have told me, curriculum is being based on these practice standardized tests.

That devaluation and de-emphasis of classroom teachers will grow under Common Core Standards. Pearson, the company that has received the contract to create the tests, has a full series of practice tests, while other companies like McGraw-Hill with its Acuity division, are already changing gears from offering practice materials for state tests to providing comprehensive materials for Common Core.

Why would anyone willingly sign up for this madness?

As a reporter who covered education for more than two decades, and as a teacher who has been in the classroom for the past 14 years, I cannot remember a time when the classrooms have been filled with bad teachers. The poor teachers almost never lasted long enough to receive tenure. Whether it is was because they could not maintain control over their classrooms or because they did not have sufficient command over their subject matter, they soon found it wise to find another line of work.

Yes, there are exceptions -- people who slipped through the cracks, and gained tenure, but there is nothing to stop administrators from removing those teachers. All tenure does is to provide teachers with the right to a hearing. It does not guarantee their jobs.

Times have changed. I have watched over the past few years as wonderfully gifted young teachers have left the classroom, feeling they do not have support and that things are not going to get any better.

In the past, these are the teachers who stayed, earned tenure, and built the solid framework that has served their communities and our nation well.

That framework is being torn down, oftentimes by politicians who would never dream of sending their own children to the kind of schools they are mandating for others.
Despite all of the attacks on the teachers, I am continually amazed at the high quality of the young people who are entering the profession. It is hard to kill idealism, no matter how much our leaders (in both parties) try.

I suppose I am just kidding myself about encouraging young people to enter some other profession, any other profession, besides teaching.

After all, what other profession would allow me to make $37,000 a year after 14 years of experience and have people tell me how greedy I am?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TokyoRose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:40pm
All we have is a jungle gym and a slide.  No grass, rubber "pavement" and the kids still manage to play either outside or in their classrooms.  There are two teachers on staff at the playground to watch the kids and teachers always watching the hallways to make sure the students don't cut up.

Japanese and Koreans I talk to about this can't wrap their heads around why security guards are needed in a school.  They always ask me where the teachers are and why the teachers can't monitor the behavior.

I personally only have 1 lunch detention day a week and if the student has lunch detention, an email automatically goes home to the parents.  Don't you know the kids I had in here 2 or 3 weeks ago didn't misbehave again?  (I'm guessing the parents took care of business at home, which needs to happen in the US, too).  I also take their recess away on occasion if they act up.  I know that recess is important and believe me, I don't want to stay any more than they do.

If you start treating school like a prison, expect the kids to act like criminals.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Im_oh_so_hott Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:46pm
I feel like kids at NY public schools are never in school, the get out before 3 and seem to have the most days off. I can't remember lunch/recess when i was in public elementary but it may have been around 30-45 minutes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ladybird0724 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:47pm
Originally posted by Midna Midna wrote:

It seems both student and teachers aren't passionate to learn or teach anymore. Add that to schools constantly being martyrs to budget cuts and everyone suffers further!

It's as if educative priority has been pushed back for everyone.

It's gotten to a point now where I'm reading articles of schools being planned to be shut down to save money the city money in urban areas, smh.


Angry i had this great response but BHM ate it

a district near me has that issue. they just laid off all but 3 of its employees and may not open again. it went from rumor to fact w/in 2weeks.

it is hard to teach when you do not have support from your admin/district, parents and community. it can hurt the soul. and the kids deserve so much better, they do. esp. our children

i wish that more ppl would advocate for education reform. teachers can only do so much...it really has to come from the parents and community...that is when the real change will take place. i also wish they would advocate more at the local level instead of simply talking about how sh*tty it is. volunteer at your local school! helping out in classrooms, walking the halls, being a volunteer aide, mentoring kids and other things are great things that can have an immediate impact.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TokyoRose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 10:53pm
I really need to do some more research on common core.  I and a fellow teacher who is also renewing her credentials can't seem to find a whole lot written about it.  Whenever I see any set of standards being introduced, I always wonder where they get them from. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Ladybird0724 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 11:10pm
Originally posted by TokyoRose TokyoRose wrote:

I really need to do some more research on common core.  I and a fellow teacher who is also renewing her credentials can't seem to find a whole lot written about it.  Whenever I see any set of standards being introduced, I always wonder where they get them from. 


there isn't a lot b/c they were basically introduced to schools w/o being tested in the field. it was like "here are the things you need to teach" and there was no research on how it actually worked in classrooms. its a very "see where it takes you" kind of deal, even though it has been developed for years. it was NOT developed by state input as being stated, but an organization and also the Gates foundation.

some dont like it b/c they dont want the govt to enforce regulations across the board

some dont like that it hasnt been field tested

some dont like it b/c some states felt forced to adopt it to get RTT funding

the state where i trained was one of the first to teach it and proficiency rates failed a lot.

in theory it seems nice, but it seems as if it wasn't thought through well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Luv2Teach Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2013 at 11:23pm
Originally posted by TokyoRose TokyoRose wrote:

I really need to do some more research on common core.  I and a fellow teacher who is also renewing her credentials can't seem to find a whole lot written about it.  Whenever I see any set of standards being introduced, I always wonder where they get them from. 

I want to feel like the development of common core had good intentions but its just soooooooo broad. At least, from teaching Language Arts this year it just felt alllllllllll over the place. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ImThatDiva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2013 at 12:31am
It's sad what's happening. The education in schools is declining yearly.

When I was in school, albeit i went to catholic school up until the middle of 10th grad when i begged to go to public school, things weren't this way. I remember my school mandated grades 2-8 book reports monthly. We had reading programs, you couldn't' get an erasable pen until you passed your cursive pen(in 3rd grade).
I had recess from k-8. 45 min lunch followed by a 45 min recess or vice versa.You could bring your own lunch or preorder your food in the morning(food was catered)
We had library class once a week, art, music, gym all once a week. When you got to 6th grade, you had an elective where you could choose a creative writing class, choir, sports club, etc.
During recess, you could join the intramural basketball team.
After school there were homework clubs, band, twirling, dance, track, art, tutoring, etc. I had so much.

In high school, I didn't get recess(while still in catholic school) but I still had a long lunch depending on the day's schedule. I had gym once a week but I was athletic so it didn't matter. There were loads of sports and activity, mandatory latin + another language for freshman, a guidance class(with a guidance counselor)  where they prep you form freshman year for college and other things for your success during high school, Humanities(Art and music) which were mandated for all grades and all the other mandatory classes.Regents prep (h.s. state exams in NY) and ACT/SAT classes were mandatory for sophomore year and up.

When I got to public school, I had a lot of the classes except art after sophomore year, Latin, guidance, and music. Students were actually disrespectful which surprised the hell out of me. Class sizes were a lot larger, even in the honors and AP classes, it was so much disorder in comparison to what I was used to. I still got a good education in public school but I was in honors and AP classes and was still behind what I had learned when I left my Catholic school. I could only imagine where the regular classes were or the general classes which were more basic then the intermediate.

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