My mind has been going a mile a minute this past week. So many ideas passing in and out of my conscience. I am going to through a few down here to allow myself to sleep, hopefully some will grow into their own blog posts at a later time.
1. Critics of education are hard for me to comprehend. Maybe it is because I am a teacher and send so much time in education. “Fire more teachers” they say, “Recruit better teachers and make the standards higher”. It seems these comments happen every week. “America is slipping!” “School are failing the students!”
Well um, NO!! NO to all of it. First: To be a teacher you don’t have to be better at school! In fact most of the GREAT teachers I know struggled at some point in school! Struggling and over coming the struggle to reach success is a quality we should desire in all of our teachers. Great teachers love KIDS and working in the classroom! The system that is in place NOW devalues teachers, makes us feel like a cog in a wheel that can be thrown away when worn out and replaced. WELL great teachers are hard to replace. Teachers don’t have to be fired because those that can’t cut the mustard QUIT!! Look at the stats roughly half of those that go into teaching quit in the first 5 years, what other career has a stat like that? America is not slipping we have been staying the same for a very long time, the rest of the world is catching up! Look at the data, and if while you are looking, POVERTY is the issue in America, when you take it out of the equation USA rocks in Education!!
IF teaching is SO important, which I feel it is,recruiting would be easy if TEACHER were paid as CEOs or Athletes or even Wall Street Executes! Let them live on their salaries and take all their combined bonuses to help fund education!!
2. Education Charities and Grants. I read about them all the time. I have received solicitations to apply for grants and fund charities. Even been a recipient of grants to help fund projects in my classroom. Are they promoting equity? I struggle with this question. Teachers that need the funding MOST don’t have the time to fill out paper work and jump through the hoops to gain the funding. Charities seem to pick the highest profile locations to help or are active in their “backyard” to get the must publicity. (Are charities for the publicity or for helping others?) Can states set up a one stop shop to help with equity? Collect donations, grants etc and then distribute based on NEED not on the media attention the grant can create.
3. Education Conferences: I love conferences, always wanting to attend. I get the most out of the personal connections I make at conferences, taking the big ideas and classroom practices that were shared then having SMALL conversations about them. These conversations frame the ideas in ways that I can use them back in my classroom. BUT I struggle when away from the classroom. How are my students doing? I leave quality lesson plans but are they followed? It leaves me wondering how many times can I miss school to attend a conference? IF these are important educational conferences why aren’t they during breaks? (YES some are but not all!) Can we as educators create a system where our valued educational learning does not interfere with our teaching?
Please help me in my thinking and respond to any and all ideas in the comments. Thanks for reading!
2 thoughts on “Random Thoughts of a Reflective Educator”
I agree with much of your first point. We do have many GREAT teachers and you are absolutely correct: many of the best teachers understand what it means to struggle as a student and find a way to help those who struggle succeed.
My concern in relation to charities and grants is how small schools are impacted. Too many funding opportunities rely on number of votes or dollars spent. Small schools are put at a disadvantage in these situations.
I also agree that more professional learning opportunities should happen outside the school day and year. I know we all love our breaks and our summers, but students learn best when the regular teacher is in the classroom, especially given the shortage of quality guest teachers.
It is tough to be out of the classroom, I agree. I have been looking into more EdCamp style activities on the weekends. @kris_vanduyne