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View Diary: Education writers and teachers meet (20 comments)

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  •  I've been retired from the profession (4+ / 0-)

    for almost 14 years now, electing to take early retirement when I became eligible because of burnout though I was still considered to be highly successful and effective by others.  I could just no longer face the endless battles to maintain the standards and values necessary to quality learning.  One of the big changes, as administration began to usurp teacher roles in curriculum and instruction was a district wide mandate that curriculum be solely dictated by textbook selection and the company's teacher's manuals.  Further teacher objects and the general language used in discussing specifics of curriculum was that "the textbook TEACHES____.  The use of the phrasing "the STUDENT will LEARN" was also abandoned.  From what I can detect over the years this is increasing the direction that teaching, or education, has taken, just with the addiction of standarized testing.  Teachers and students are being indirectly removed from the process and the relationship created is between text and test with the role of the teacher relegated to verbalizing a textbook and monitoring and reinforcing performance on the knowledge or skills, usually low level, which the test measures.

    Good teachers can and will encourage and develop reading/writing/thinking skills as well and attempt to exposure students to aspects of the human condition appropriate to the age and maturity level insofar as possible.  But it seems to me to be an incredibly difficult task today and if the current reforms as they are being presented are eventually mandated, an almost impossible one.  Most of the reforms are simply rightwing attacks on the idea of liberal public education, in what used to be the nonpolical sense of achieving a liberal education.

    I could go on for quite some time, but your experience with
    the symposium/panel is a good illustration of the chief problem with education today.  As I've mentioned before, I admire your tenacity in working toward defending the best in teaching and reforming true weaknesses in the system.

    Humankind cannot stand too much reality. T.S. Eliot

    by blueoasis on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:29:21 PM PST

    •  I do what I can, but it is bone-wearying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, mapamp

      there are times that I fantasize about taking whatever pension I can grab and simply packing it and doing something for a little income that does not require so much time and energy

      then I think of my students and refocus -  which I will have to do early tomorrow morning after I figure out if
      a) we are on time  -  right now unlikely
      b) we are on a two-hour delay, or
      c) we are closed

      Given either b or c, I would have to replan what is left of the week, so I will get up at 4 AM and see what if anything has been decided - although sometimes they go as late as 5:30 before announcing a delay.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:44:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, Predictor, mapamp

        It's the students and caring that keep so many good teachers in the profession as long as possible.  I taught for 30 years and would periodically toy with the idea of changing professions, but the genuine joy of seeing the lightbulbs come on again and again and the many expressions of appreciation from students and parents kept me going until I begin to feel so drained, as well as never having enough free time in the evenings or over weekends -- the endless stream of work.  Luckily I had a long time hobby from which I could make a bit of money and put less pressure on myself with the different challenges that that entailed.  Still, I do miss much of the stimulation and the personal rewards that come with teaching.

        Weather stresses, the modifications because of them, the increased absences, the make-up days, all of that I'm relieved to be free from.

        Humankind cannot stand too much reality. T.S. Eliot

        by blueoasis on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:05:25 PM PST

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