If you parents trust me, the school, with your kids during most of the day, shouldn’t I have more say so in their eating habits and in their personal health?
Standardized tests results are typically too general to be useful in every day teaching activities (Educating Students with Behavior Disorders, p. 135, Rosenberg et al, Pearson, 2004 )
If experts like these state that teachers cannot use the results of standard test in their every day classes, then what good are they? Why are we wasting a complete month on standardized testing, that’s without counting the weeks dedicated to preparing for it, if the outcome doesn’t help us in the classroom? After writing a few articles about this frustrating topic, I think I know now why so much money and time has been dedicated to block instruction in public schools and convert teachers into glorified wardens in testing areas.
“Open your eyes, your ears, and all your wonderful senses to Nature’s teachings”
As usual, parents miss school days, while their kids feel just the opposite. Teachers are often substitute nannies, while schools have become daycare centers. So when summer vacation hits working moms and dads, the big question is ‘what do we do with our youngsters?’ Some will have to take courses during the summer to try and pass failed subjects, while the more enterprising students (nerds) will attempt to finish high school in 3 years by taking classes ahead of time. All in all, however, these activities only cover three weeks of the ten given as vacation time. The rest of the time will be literally wasted by most families, wasted in the academic sense.
“Once a teacher, always a teacher”
As I reflect on my 200+ blog articles, I wonder whether the quality is there frequently enough; then I read your comments and I remember those who asked to be notified when I publish a new effort. You guys are awesome and generous in your observations; you make it all worthwhile. This introduction is a big thank you to those who take the time to read my blog.
“Caring thoughts make for a meaningful life”
We have reached the end of another exciting school year; hundreds of seniors eagerly await graduation day, a marvelous opportunity to transition to adult life. It is but a commencement toward what can be a frightening experience. Parents of course are eager to watch their children fly away, bent on a successful career in whatever field they have chosen. But the reality is in fact just the opposite for thousands of homes; jobs are scarce, well-paying jobs in particular and companies are requiring specialized skills that fit the new century and the new technologies. My abutting neighbors still struggle with their adult children (two are over 25) who have not been able find independence and who, perhaps, are much more comfortable living with their doting parents.
“Don’t do to me what you don’t want me to do to you”
How do you deal with the parent of a disabled student who uses speech laced with profanity in an ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal) meeting? If the mother or the father doesn’t show proper respect toward the teachers and the staff, should the meeting be postponed or should it continue for the sake of the student?
One can only imagine the kind of hell this particular kid suffers at home, for a parent who uses vulgar language with school personnel surely uses even worse language and maybe physical violence when in private surroundings. Should we then call CPS (Child Protective Services) ? Should we respond the same way? Should we press charges?
“What we do today will decide what we are tomorrow”
Today we started our last two weeks; teachers can finally “teach” normally as state exams fade like an unpleasant memory. Biology in particular is doing the real work by dissecting rats, piglets, cats,sharks, fish, squid, and owl pellets (to see what they eat). Even the ‘bad’ students, those who normally sleep or talk during the class, are busy cutting up dead bodies and observing the safety rules by using goggles and apron. History is showing videos of important events which occurred in the last 50 years, an indispensable prelude to reach an understanding of our present day world in conflict. English is presenting the Romeo & Juliet movies (two versions) and the students are riveted in their seats, some crying (mostly girls) and some joking (mostly guys). Even the math department has relaxed by adding the occasional cartoon movie. The whole school exudes a pleasant atmosphere of relief and excitement. Only a few borderline seniors are sweating the last days, wondering whether they got the necessary extra points to pass their class.
The Tower of Babel does exist amongst us; it’s called public schools
We have various levels of English-speaking students in high school, from the recent arrival who doesn’t speak a word to those who have lived in the U.S. for 2-3 years or the youngsters who never bothered to learn the language well even though they started in kindergarten. The main problem for English teachers is to address these different levels of ESL (English as a second language) within their curriculum so as to satisfy the academic goals established by the state.
The next Einstein may well be an illegal immigrant already living amongst us
I was just discussing with a fellow teacher our most important role in helping teens become independent as adults; I told him that I had met an ex-student, a special education one, working in a supermarket packing goods for customers. It was a most uplifting experience as I had some doubts as to whether he could make it in ‘real’ life, considering his low intelligence level and lack of motivation while in school. Of course, bagging products doesn’t make one financially independent, but at least he has made the effort to get a job and earn a few dollars, a boon for his parents without a doubt.