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2) Advocate for Public Charter Schools based on Dr. Mel Levine's "Schools Attuned" program which advocates individualized, differentiated, constructivist, bi-hemispheric; and multiple-sensory constructivist curriculum based on significant relevancy for the cognitive, intellectual, socio-emotional, and physical betterment of the individual vis-a-vis our community at-large; and,
As you may have heard, Mel Levine is now deceased. He died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound in February, 2011 the day after a class-action sexual abuse and malpractice suit was filed against him in Boston. There is a New York Times story that covers this.
Just wanted to make sure people are aware of this.
So my response is to totally revamp the education system. The children are bored and aggitated. What we are trying to teach our children, how, and at what age, for me is the problem. Our school system is filled with capitolists creating more capitolists. It is all money based. Children are spirits, they want (need) soul food. Add to this that classes are unrealistically large. The present ratio will eat at the lives of teachers.
hold parents accountable, consistent discipline, less assessing, resouces to do our job!
As a former classroom science teacher I can whole-heartedly state that the one thing that would've kept me in the classroom for a full 30 years would've been more planning time. I would favor something like the Japanese model in which teachers have large chunks of planning time as a part of their regular day. It amazes me here we are expected to teach in a manner that is "hands-on, student-centered, multilevel, differentiated, etc." but are given little preparation time in which to create quality materials/lessons. Science is a time-intensive subject and requires a lot of teacher preparation to do in an inquiry-based, project-based format. For me...more planning time would've been the "carrot."
Jeff, given the dreary current economic situation as well as the broadly-entrenched educational template as it exists, can you describe how you would change the learning environment for students as diverse as those who are ESL, those who have developmental delays, those whose are latchkey kids or those who are gifted?
As an education professional, I agree with you on all points, except the first. The learning environment needs to change to meet the needs of the student.
....MORE and REGULAR acknowledgment for their effort and caring by parents, administration and community.
....consistent PARENT SUPPORT - teacher-backup, volunteering in the classroom, and knowing what their children are learning.
The process of children learning should be a "village" experience.
Schools that actively focus on relationsl quality and the development of social capital throughout the whole system - respect, support, inclusion, acknowledgment, trust and feeling valued have teachers who are more likely to enjoy their work and stay.
I like the idea of having highly qualified parents. What if we could force parents of disruptive students to spend time monitoring the detention room, so they could see first hand how their little darlings behave when they're showing off for their friends? What if we could give REAL consequences to parents who don't bother to show up for report card conferences, monitor their children's homework, obtain treatment for their children's physical/mental/emotional problems or attend IEP meetings? How about requiring a certain amount of volunteer time each year, so parents could help out with such mundane tasks as making photocopies, scrubbing and rearranging desks, climbing ladders to put up instructional posters (and cover them up for the state tests), cutting out paper money, setting up materials for science experiments, etc.? What if no parent were allowed to complain about anything in the school until they'd spent even an hour per week contributing something positive to the school community?
Parents, politicians and administrators expect teachers to be perfect, when they themselves are "only human". They see nothing wrong with screaming at us, cursing us out, giving us unreasonable demands that require us to work 80+ hours/week on pointless paperwork, and expect us to be all sweetness and light when Little Johnny's untreated ADHD "forces" him to shred papers and pencils, throw erasers and babble incessantly while we're trying to teach. They love to blame the teacher, because the teacher is the only one they think they can control. (Hmm... I'm envisioning a teachers' strike where the primary demand is responsible parenting.)
Maybe if the government stopped giving SSI for children whose only disability is a lack of proper parenting, perhaps if we started requiring parents to pay for the wraparound services, juvenile detention facilities and eventual incarceration of children who refuse to follow school rules because their parents can't be bothered to discipline them -- maybe then we could actually get on with the business of teaching. Perhaps we might even be able to teach the curriculum, rather than the test, because students would have enough self-control to pay attention, do their work, ask appropriate questions, and LEARN.
If the teaching profession were primarily about teaching, there would be NO problem attracting and retaining excellent teachers.
It's as simple as that. I am tired of being disrespected by a) my governor b) parents c) community at large. I am a professional educator entrusted with the earth's most precious commodity - your children! I am tired of being blamed, under-appreciated and even manipulated by even my own union. Let's bring back some of the respect that we deserve. NONE of us are in it for the MONEY, for goodness sakes!