A tale of three notes

It isn’t easy to be gone in teaching.  Wow.  So not.  Writing a decent lesson plan a sub can execute is oh so hard.  (Hey!  Life hack now that we’ve learned so much:  simply video record instructions to be played to the kids.  Send it to some key kids.  Trust them to do what you need and let the rest go.  Credit to the Tweet below)  

Getting a decent sub is another factor, particularly when you know your students.  I inevitably have a student or two that might flare when confronted with some sub’s dynamics.  This brings in moral distress.  Following up after a sub is its own labor. 

And then there is that thing… the very basic thing that we care about the job.  We care about the kids. We know teachers are integral; we want to be there.  But in reality, teaching  requires absences.  Teachers are parents and children who also have to take care of others.  And teachers need to learn how to take care of themselves.    Last year had extra extra complications.  In online ed, there was no ability to step back, really.  There weren’t any subs, for one, and the complications of the tech were an obstacle. In addition, time was simply more precious.  It felt more imperative to provide some consistency. 

Last year, when we returned to the building, there was this one magical day… yep, a TESTING day.  There were three testing days, to be accurate, but on one of them I had NO RESPONSIBILITIES.  None.  

So yep, I emailed my associate principal to say I was going to take a sick day to work from home, where I have a second monitor to be efficient.  I even had a desk at home, which I didn’t have at school because of social distancing/ construction.  I also qualified that by saying that I would be available via phone and actually, if there was a staff shortage, live close enough to be there in a minute.

And here, lightly edited, was her reply: 

Thank you for the heads up. Because I respect you so much, I need to share that I do hope you’ll reconsider.  The testing team worked so hard on this and one way we can support their efforts is to ensure we have staff here to cover in case anyone calls in sick. My concern is that if our Instructional Leaders are finding ways to avoid being in the building, their department members will follow that lead. 

The testing team added a list of available rooms. We have ample space for physical distancing and as long as we’re following masking and hand-washing protocols, we’re meeting health recommendations and guidance.

Happy to talk more – but between conferences tonight and my own duties tomorrow,  I’m afraid it will have to be after the fact.

And readers, you guessed it.  I revoked my “sick day” and went in.  I worked in the cafeteria a bit.  A desk here a bit.  A desk there a bit– an angrifying, inefficient and awkward day in the midst of a very very long year. 

Also, I am pretty sure I am going to throw up next time someone tells me they “respect” me. 

Here is a version of what could have happened: 

Thank you for the heads up and for being willing to come in at a moment’s notice if we are short staffed.  Take care of yourself and happy grading! 

And you know what would have been the best?  Something like this: 

Thank you for the heads up and for being willing to come in at a moment’s notice if we are short staffed.  If you are working from home, though, you don’t need to take a sick day!  Save them!  You’re doing the work you’d do here. Or better yet, step back from school.  Netflix it!  Bake!  Take those dogs for a walk!  Take care of you!

Three thoughts more on this: 

My first meeting with my new assistant principal this school year was me resigning as educational leader at the end of this year.  It’s been coming, regardless of the pandemic.  The “be here because you are a leader” email in combination with one other decision from last year’s departmental principal cemented the resignation letter.  And while I have rarely taken any personal days beyond funerals or parenting in the last five or six years, I made sure to take one already this year… I vow to make space to take care of myself in order to stay present for the kids and to maybe– just maybe– be able to stay in this field a couple more years. 

When I read my principal’s email with compassion, I recognized it as fear-based.  She wanted the testing to go well (and testing stress pervades our field).  In the context of similar comments and moves last year and this, though, that email did harm. 

I’ve had a range of principals in my career.  The main criticism of one of the top two in my estimation was that she didn’t take care of herself.  There wasn’t a sense of balance.  Being part of a good educational leader is also stepping back a bit when the situation allows it in order to be fully present when the system needs it.  I have often relied on those in leadership to help balance me.  

I take full ownership of my welfare now. 

At the end of April 2020, the district reported to the school board that there were 1,398 teacher absences up to that point when the 2017 year had 8,529.  The sentence provided was:  “the need for substitutes was likely less because of virtual instruction.”  I don’t know what I wanted to hear there, really.  Those numbers were teachers sacrificing themselves to be present on screen.  Those numbers revealed teachers exhausting themselves.  

A friend of mine runs a non-profit that pivoted to meet the pandemic while still actually growing their mission and clientele.  This spring, when vaccinations were in place, their board gave each employee each two additional weeks of vacation as a thank you and as a recognition of time spent pivoting.  

Education can’t quite do that– but I know of at least one school on one of the inservice days that said sleep in, take a walk, take care of yourself.  Don’t log in. Just rest. 

This post reminds me of this graphic, which came from the subsequent Tweet: 

Many students will remember me.  That is a benefit of teaching. 

But I am so very replaceable to the system. 

In that meeting where I resigned, the first question was who do I think is willing to step in.  It is a pragmatic question and I know from leaving leadership in one district to move to the next, any ripples from my absence disappear quickly.  

This is again why watching my mentor’s life resonates.  Life is short.  Prioritize.

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Something broke last year– and keeps breaking

I took comfort in meeting teachers this past summer and feeling not crazy when I heard reflections on last year and how hard it was over the summer decompress, no matter how mindful I was about trying to heal and recenter.  Going to my neighbor’s Fourth of July, a teacher from a neighboring district commented how her body was still exhibiting extreme stress, even as we turned to the second half of summer. On vacation, I heard a similar story.   In later July, I made a return to a store and person who helped me was a teacher disillusioned and exhausted by last year. She commented that she would like to interview school districts to ask what they did to support teachers in this past year.  

When I processed all the teacher voices I listened to, I noted it hadn’t really mattered if teachers were fully face to face or virtual, if their concurrent or hybrid time was long or short, if they were urban, rural, large or small- last year was horrendous and there is a reckoning. 

This summer, I unpacked what this Tweet listed as emotions: 

I read that list this summer and held so many of the emotions in complexity.  I read that list this fall, a quarter into school,  and hold so many of the emotions in complexity still.  How many different types of fear did I have last year? Do I have now? How many different people did I fear for, including myself?  How many different types of stresses did I have last year?  How did my living situation– my family situation, my resources– impact stresses by either heightening them or providing reprieve?  

This year, I am so grateful for my district and local mask mandates.  Every day, every class, though, I have to remind students to pull their masks up.  Every day, I sit at a desk with an eating area in view, people eating and chatting with not masks.  There is still ongoing pressure, but more of the pressure now is from knowing my stress levels.  Feeling my teeth clenched.  Stress headaches on year two. 

And the word in that Tweet I am most grateful to see is anger.  Anger.  I am surprised at the level of anger I have.   I know I am not alone in this when I’ve seen other teachers struggling as well (that online community has helped me navigate last spring, this summer, this fall so much more.)

The anger I have toward my field propelled me to counseling this summer.  Given an anxiety screener, I was alarmed at my results.  I have weathered so many crises in my life with aplomb.  I think this year’s stress toppled over emotions held at bay for awhile.

I expect I will be at counseling awhile because last year exacted a reckoning and this fall’s dissonance amplifies that need, yes, but last year also revealed so much about the costs of teaching in stark terms and processing all that will take time.  I also think Tom Rademacher’s blog resonates oh so much: 

“We aren’t going to fix all of what broke this year over the summer. A lot of it isn’t even finished breaking yet. We do, all of us, teachers and students and families and school leaders, need a break, some healing.”  This journal/blog is an attempt at some healing.  I think almost daily I think of Tom’s quote… I am not finished breaking yet. 

Sincere question: 

And about that counseling: 

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Ode to teaching

Oh, how I love so many elements of my occupation— which is more important to remember now. This year. Today.

*Please read in the voice of Scarlet Johansson or Adam Driver ala Marriage Story. 

Teaching allows me to witness in real time the moment an awareness washes over a perceptive, capable human.  Often, the awareness is “I can do this!”– a sign of present and future empowerment.  Sometimes, it is just realizing a question, method, or path exists that hasn’t been explored. Sometimes, it is “I am worthy.” 

Teaching allows me to touch the future.  I am forever preaching about students’ future selves and how they have to do things today to make their future better. Sometimes this means reading more efficiently.  Sometimes this is mastering punctuation so they can orchestrate their communication better.  Sometimes this is thinking critically, taking on perspectives. I do not do the work that encompasses me for today only; I do it for the future. 

Teaching asks me to wrap my arms and ability around hearts and psyches, centering love and acceptance and hope while identities are being formed and obstacles confronted. It is being present.

Teaching requires me to be intellectually nimble and forever curious.  There is no end to learning as each cohort of students forms its own identity, has its own culture, reveals its own needs.  Everything I read or think about is pondered in the context of teaching.  The world is a giant puzzle where I constantly snag a piece of information or awareness to use in the classroom. It is a constant and rewarding mental challenge.

Teaching provides deep connections.  It is being in the trenches with colleagues with amazing skill sets and awarenesses.  Bonds form, support uplifts. We are indeed better together. 

Teaching pollinates: students and colleagues alter me, planting new ideas and requiring constant growth and adaptation.   
Teaching accords purpose, a central ingredient to happiness.  Each student, each concept, each day is meaningful and purposeful.  What I do in the classroom impacts that student the next year, the year after, and even, sometimes, to their children and beyond.  What I do every day matters.

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Responding to NYT’s Editorial “Don’t Give Up the Gains in Education”

Today, the New York Times published an editorial asking that Congress keeps the yearly testing requirement that NCLB put in place.  I do not disagree.  A single yearly test can do much to guide a school, and as a teacher, I truly do value when I get good data on my students.  (Qualifier: Not all tests produce reliable or good data.)

I am, true to the title of this blog… Seeing Shades of Gray ( the name of which is, of course, problematic right now, thank you E. L. James trilogy and Universal Pictures movie).  I have written to my legislators to protest the Common Core and its testing, but I support the Common Core Standards as a goal (not a whipping post) and I yearn for a single, viable annual test for my students.  The problem is there is too much testing and the standards, produced without much educator input, appear unalterable and rigid.  But all that is fodder for more posts.

I have been angry all day.  All week.  Well, really, for about four years now.  Four years ago, Governor Walker did much to damage schools.  That damage continues as this year’s budget will decimate education here, regardless of “tools” that have demoralized and pauperized many teachers.  But my newest anger is that people like Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Education Committee Chair Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt argue “failing” schools in Wisconsin will face sanctions such as closing.  They are dismantling public education and ushering in privatization.  So that anger– and the four years of really trying to study education– fed this response.   (If it actually gets published, it will be shorter because of NYT rules.  This is the original draft.)

I can attest to the value of data from a yearly test.  In my roles as instructional leader/ department chair, I have valued data as a triangulation point to consider with teacher observations and classroom assessment success.  I bemoan when I don’t have consistent testing data to inform me.  I can also attest to the remarkable value in highlighting where a school is effective and where it is not.  Gaps were hidden until NCLB, and as the gaps are still ever-present, they must be scrutinized and attacked and tests can help.

But you point out a key element: sanctions led to over-testing, and dreadful overtesting at that.  Elementary students take expensive and high-stakes tests monthly in most places, and often twice a month.  This produces more data than can be effectively processed, creates remarkable anxiety for children, and lines the coffers of companies like Pearson, who, for example, was paid $32 million for a five-year contract with New York alone.  Schools pay dearly for tests in every way.  A bad test score is bad press.

As NCLB has progressed, all of this has seemed a subterfuge to privatize education.  Those test scores and sanctions often mean that schools are taken over and, quite often, turned into charter schools.  While charter schools’ original mission in the 90’s was to provide interesting and personalized alternatives to public ed, that mission has been twisted.  Now significant numbers of  charter schools are operated by for-profit chains that are more selective of their enrollees than public schools can be, more devious in dismissing students that may bring down scores, less transparent to oversight, and more removed from local governance.

NCLB was designed to label schools as failing.  Teachers are now denigrated daily.  Enrollment in teacher preparation programs is plummeting.  Viable and vibrant public schools are shuttered.  And the root cause of most failing public schools– the root cause goes unaddressed.  Poverty.  America has chosen fit to spend 1.7 billion (Brown Center on Educational Policy) on testing while cutting nearly every social program that fights poverty.  It is a true attestment to the dedication of teachers and the problem-solving of public schools in this nation that while those severe cuts have happened, the gaps have narrowed.

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My Overdue Letter to Time Magazine

December 30, 2014

Dear Time Magazine,

Time Magazine's November 3, 2014 Cover

Time Magazine’s November 3, 2014 Cover

No, I will not be renewing my subscription.  Your sensationalistic November 3rd cover fed a public fire of anti-teacher rhetorical and sentiment churning for the past four or five years.  Your cover, black and white in both its design and message, wounded.

I eagerly read Nancy Gibb’s editorial response hoping the response from fellow teachers would have an impact, but I saw no acknowledgement the artwork was a mistake.  Nancy Gibb’s sentence, “We view education as crucial to America’s success, and it concerns me if teachers who have not had a chance to read our coverage have heard it mischaracterized” assumes outcry was solely due to the article, which was, in truth, more nuanced than the cover.  She ignores the cover, the most visible and displayed aspect of the magazine.

Teacher tenure does deserve discussion, and if Time really did value, as Nancy Gibb’s states, its mission to “spur discussion of important issues,” Time would include interviews from educators and it would look at issues such as the financing of the various movements to chip away at public education.  “Making the story free for all readers on TIME.com” does not spur informed discussion; it simply makes the monied interest’s message more available.

So, no, Time.  I will not renew my subscription.

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Dear Representative… first installment against the Common Core

My state representative, Dianne Hesselbein, sent out a message to constituents asking for feedback on the Common Core.  This is installment #1.

Dear Dianne,

Over a month ago you asked for insight on the Common Core, and the request has lingered.  Ironically, demands of the classroom kept me temporarily from writing to defend the classroom.

Common Core Standards offer some assets: they give educators across states a common framework and a common language, which, given the mobility of America, is a boon; they set expectations for student achievement, which, given the diversity of American education processes, can help lower achievement gaps, particularly those across states; and they include curricular items that other standards and movements, such as No Child Left Behind, omitted.  Pointedly, the Common Core includes writing standards, an essential skill and a very means of thinking.

An example of a benefit of Common Core is that in my previous school district, we floundered to develop scope and sequence of grammatical skills.  The Common Core provided a framework, and we wrote an excellent sequence of skills, clarifying grade-level expectations. It was beautiful.

However, I have dire worries about the Common Core, and the foremost one relates to that “beautiful” set of grammatical skills.  Writing is developmental.   Good writing comes in steps, where one skill must be in place before another can develop.  It is not particularly useful, for instance, to teach semi-colons and colons to students who primarily use simple sentences.  The ability to use semi-colons is not dependent on the writer’s age, as the Common Core would assert; the ability to use semi-colons effectively depends on the writer’s ability.  To be taught is one thing.  To understand another.

The Common Core demands all students in a grade meet a standard, believing in age-based skills rather than developmental.  The Common Core founders, in the interviews and literature I read, dodge that issue, implying if kids are raised on standards, gaps will not occur.

This attitude alternatively frustrates or outrages me. It assumes teachers who have gathered in and loved kindergartners who did not yet know colors did not have high standards.  It assumes that teachers who welcome students who haven’t spoken English before did not have high standards.  It assumes that teachers who empathetically listen and problem-solve for kids in crisis do not have high standards.

The Common Core groups all kids by grade level, but we as educators know better.  The children we teach and love are diverse, and that diversity must be accounted for.  The Common Core blames teachers, inferring a lack of standards causes current and real issues.  I assert the culprit is generational poverty, social-fragmentation, and situational crises.

I do not abhor the Common Core;  I refer to them as a touchstone.  But overall, I question them, their process, and their effects.

This is installment one; more objections to the Common Core to come.

Thank you so much for reaching out for feedback and for listening,

Kris Cody-Johnson

Twenty-year veteran teacher and

Mother of two school-aged children

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Not so easy to be flippant to their faces

Last week I had the remarkable honor of being with a friend as she received a Rockwell Award from the University of Madison, and I had the privilege of listening to Madison’s new superintendent, Jennifer Cheatham, talk about her entry into the school district.  She identified the achievement gap as Madison’s number one problem, but stated that a subtext to the problem is that no one defines or perceives that gap the same way.

Today I read a very good New York Times opinion piece, “No Rich Child Left Behind,” that highlighted those comments about definition and perception.  There are some interesting facts in piece by Sean F. Reardon, Stanford professor.

  • While I have always known test scores can be predicted by the type of cars in the student parking lot,  “the rich-poor gap in test scores is about 40 percent larger now than it was 30 years ago.”
  • “The rich now outperform the middle class by as much as the middle class outperform the poor.”
  • The economists Richard J. Murnane and Greg J. Duncan report that from 1972 to 2006 high-income families increased the amount they spent on enrichment activities for their children by 150 percent, while the spending of low-income families grew by 57 percent over the same time period.”  The investment by the middle class was not noted.

I really enjoyed the article. The comments, on the other hand, made me a little ill.  Comments about high IQ being inherited smacks of the superiority complex that makes it easy to ignore the contexts we all enjoy or we all survive.  Dismissive comments lauding how one family members’ values instilled a love of learning assumes much.

I have been thinking about this gap for years.  The gap isn’t impersonal.  There are real kids in my life who are amazingly wonderful and amazingly blessed.  There are real kids in my life who are amazingly wonderful and awfully stretched.  So I wrote a comment as well:

Image by Javier Jaen and taken from NYT  "No Rich Child Left Behind"

Image by Javier Jaen and taken from NYT “No Rich Child Left Behind”

I have students who have tutors for the ACT. I have students who have tutors for writing. I have students with multiple tutors, each earning a significant hourly check.

I have students who rush home to take care of siblings while mom works her third job. I have students who work multiple jobs just to help the family or to pay for that AP or ACT test themselves. I have students struggling with life events no one- no adult let alone a child- should face.

One tutored boy remarked that he wished school could be divided into those who cared and those who didn’t. I somewhat wondered how that demarcation would go: while there are many of my students for whom education is indeed an afterthought, I additionally have many with deep dreams and work ethics who also have so many issues that I go between discussing thesis statements and how to go about not getting the utilities turned off.

It is easy to say that IQ is inherited. It is easy to pat yourself on the back and say your value system is superior.

It isn’t so easy to be face to face with kids of depth and talent who really didn’t have a fair chance from the beginning. It isn’t easy to be so flippant about the effects of an income gap when you see it play out in the lives of kids you love.

Interestingly, I just read this article about the rise of tutoring programs in the UK tonight as well.  Global issues.

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Bill Daggett is wrong on computers grading writing

gettysburg-address-2

Yes, it may be among the greatest texts shared with America, but it only scores a 2. Taken from Gettysburg Address from history.howstuffworks.com

Among the most offensive moments in Bill Daggett’s presentation, which, again, I admit I came to prepared to be skeptical, were related to English teachers. But again, I am biased: I am an English teacher.

Bill Daggett stated that students should write at least a page a day.  I agree with that, believing that writing often will assist growth, and firmly believing that writing is thinking made visible.

The problem is  Daggett’s suggestion that we should simply hire out the scoring of writing to automatic scanners.  Daggett asserted that computer scoring is so much more effective than human scoring, as computers catch more errors.  This debate  is not new, but it overlooks much.

First, when Daggett is talking about scorers, he is talking about scorers in a testing situation, each of which get little time to read an essay.  According to a NYT article, “the Pearson education company expects readers to spend no more than two to three minutes per essay.”  Two to three minutes gives an overview score of the writing; it doesn’t truly analyze or teach.

Now some would argue that is the point: teaching writing is laborious and the grading is just too much.  If we could remove labor, well, then life would be great.

But I disagree.  I concur completely with Doug Hesse, Executive Director of Writing at the University of Denver when he states, “I see responding to student writing as teaching, in fact, as the most important element of teaching writing.”  I do not score student writing.  I coach it.  That requires far more than 2 to 3 minutes a paper, and  the comments  matter, not the score. (Or at least that is my earnest hope.)

Then there is simply how ludicrous computer scoring currently is.  While scoring may very well improve to where electronics can tell fact from fiction and style from mistake, it simply isn’t there yet.  An NPR article revealed that “of the 12 errors noted in one essay, 11 were incorrect,” and The Gettysburg Address (!!The Gettysburg Address!!) would score as a 2 on a 1-6 scale.

Nothing, however, shows the craziness like the NYT article:

“E-Rater. . . does not like short sentences.

Or short paragraphs.

Or sentences that begin with “or.” And sentences that start with “and.” Nor sentence fragments.

However, he said, e-Rater likes connectors, like “however,” which serve as programming proxies for complex thinking. Moreover, “moreover” is good, too.

Gargantuan words are indemnified because e-Rater interprets them as a sign of lexical complexity. “Whenever possible,” Mr. Perelman advises, “use a big word. ‘Egregious’ is better than ‘bad.’ ‘”

So, Mr. Bill Daggett, the answer to education is not computer grading of writing.  It is not to sneer at English teachers, implying we haven’t been following this technology or this debate.

The answer to education, as always, is in relationships.  It is in keeping class size low enough that I can reasonably coach writing.  It is in dedicated professionals with stable, compensated employment that provides opportunities to grow.  It is in daily hard work.

The work so many of my colleagues do to perfection year after year.

Other sources used to prepare for this post include an Inside Higher Ed article; A Sherman Dorn blog post where there is a good idea: what if teacher required students to run their essays through robograder until it was a B or better and then coached from there, minor errors now taken care of; a Wired article; and a Slate article.

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Biased before I heard Bill Daggett thanks to press and Ray McNulty

When Bill Daggett was hired to speak to our district, I did my research.  I looked at his websites, read about his participation in the model Common Core, and prowled the web.

And so I was ready to hear him, but I admit I was biased against him.  First, the “mainstream” media alludes to controversies about Bill Dagget.  Iowa’s Cedar Valley’s WCF Courier published a piece, “Controversial to the core: As Senate debates curriculum mandates, few know the enigmatic father of many of their key concepts,” which, while projecting Iowa’s then (2008) confidence they were on the right path, also raises questions about Daggett’s credibility, with Mark Draper, director Iowa High School Project, acknowledging “there may be inconsistent statements (Daggett) has made.”

Gerald Bracey, Fellow at the Education Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University, had also chimed in about Daggett’s false statements. Scott McLeod has collected Bracey’s posts in his own post at Dangerously Irrelevant, and there is a breakdown of questions on Bill Daggett’s character from 2000.

So there was ample fodder to question Bill Daggett, but let’s assume  all of us get a bit carried away with simplifications and misstatements and cut Daggett some grace.  Even then I would have walked into the presentation prepared to disagree.  Here is why.

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Bill Daggett and Ray McNulty from their website

Previous to the presentation in our own PAC, I was required to listen to one of International Center for Educational Leadership speakers, Ray McNulty.  In his presentation, he was advocating the need for education to think differently and to allocate resources accordingly.  The example he shared was this:

When he was leaving a conference, an administrator asked him for advice.  The administrator said that with the new budget realities, the school needed to cut a language, and which one out of Spanish, Latin, French, and German should they cut?

Ray McNulty stated that he should cut all of them and hire the Rosetta Stone, just like the military did.  McNulty praised the decision and the future of technology, and told this administrator to follow the military’s example.

Let’s just think about false comparison.  Are soldiers about to be deployed in life and death situations equivalent to high school boys more worried about Friday’s game?   Is the motive of a serviceman about to be housed in a different culture with a different language the same as a sophomore girl just filling her schedule?

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Five Soldiers (image from Politico.com) and Five High School Boys (image from Mike Baird on Flickr)

No.  And the idea is absurd.  Completely absurd.

And here is the real irony: this amazing development our military was smart enough to invest in, according to McNulty, the Rosetta Stone, has been discontinued by the military.  (Now, I think the fall 2011 contract change date means that Ray McNulty should not have been using it as an example in 2012, but that is another matter.) It seems the military itself has “designated that all language learning needs will be done through the Defense Language Institute.”  Hmm.  Maybe because personal relationships and quality face-to-face education prove more effective even with those whose motivations may be high.

 

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20 Years is Not Enough

Today I read an article in the New York Times celebrating Teach For America recruits for putting aside their six-figure salaries for their promised two years of teaching.  The comments, as always at NYT, are interesting.  I have added mine:

This is my twentieth year of teaching.  I have awards, degrees, and recognitions.  This year, I teach two new courses, and even with all my years of experience, I need to apologize to my students: my courses are nothing compared to what they will be in three years.  I have not the depth of material nor the mastery of the content and this is, again, despite twenty years of experience.  

If my twenty years of classroom experience isn’t enough to adequately prepare me for a class, what makes America think TFA’s mere weeks of training will?

But here is the saddest part.  I think TFA is right to recruit the best and the brightest.  Teaching needs the best and the brightest, but despite my intense love for my job, I don’t want my own children to become teachers.  

 Schools are ridiculed and scapegoated.  I no longer share publicly that I am a teacher, afraid of the reaction and the public scorn.  I no longer talk writing or critical thinking with my peers, but rather talk test scores and data points.  I no longer dream, supported by my administrators.  I instead have nightmares haunted by rubrics, checklists, and scores.  

TFA and their spokespeople are part of the assault on public education and public teachers.  I can not support nor condone them.

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