Friday, October 8, 2010

martyr teacher....

Last night I was talking to a friend - a teacher, just like me. He had posted an article on his facebook about a teacher in LA. The article stated that the LA Times had run a story naming not only the schools that had low testing scores but also specific names of teachers who had low scores. This teacher then took his own life. According to his colleages, he was a very good teacher, but he taught special ed and worked with some difficult students.

When I hear stuff like this - it makes my stomache hurt. As in physically sick, hurt. I don't understand the reasoning behind why a newspaper would publish something like this and name names. When the Times was questioned, they said that the stats could be off and that there were "a lot of different variables"... Of course there are!

The variables are the kids! Did they have breakfast this morning? How's their home life? How do they feel this morning? Did they have a fight with their parents? There are a whole list of questions that come into play when dealing with kids. They are kids.

When I have conversations lately about the state of teaching and education makes me wonder if I'm going to have to find something else to do soon. Administrators, teachers and students are getting hit with a lot of extras - assessments, initiatives, curriculum, etc.

I'm starting to wonder where it will stop and when we stop trying to put a band-aid on a problem instead of trying to figure out what to do about the problem.

For now, I have the family of the LA teacher in my thoughts and I hope they can carry on.

1 comment:

  1. It does make me so sad that they don't take the differences into account. Lets say you give two kids a test.
    Kid A: Yesterday after school, he played for a while and then studied his spelling words and math facts with his parents. During dinner his parents asked questions about what he learned in school. He told them something he learned but had it a little mixed up. His parents gently straigntened out his misunderstanding and they had a great discussion about history and life during that time period. That night he had a bath and went to bed at a decent hour and slept securely. In the morning his mom woke him up, and he dressed in clean clothes, brushed his teeth and ate a healthy breakfast, while dad quizzed him on his spelling words. He arrived at school on time with all of his homework finished and lunch money in his pocket and the permission slip for next weeks field trip signed.
    Kid B. Came home to an empty house yesterday. No snack, so he watched TV. Mom came home late with her boyfriend. When the kid asked about dinner mom threw a bag of chips at him and told him to shut up. When he asked her to sign the permission slip she told him he didn't need to go on any field trip that cost 3.00. When he argued mom slapped him and took the chips away. Mom and boyfriend were making a lot of noise, so kid stayed up till 2AM watching TV. When he woke up on the couch he realized he was going to be late for school. He hates being late because that means no free breakfast. He looks for some clothes to put on but nothing is clean. As he is walking to school he remembers he had homework, and tries to fill in the blanks with random numbers while he walks so he will have something to turn in. When he gets to school, he hurries to his seat because he is worried the other kids will make fun of him, because he is wearing dirty clothes and probably smells like his moms smokes. When he gets the test he realizes he has no pencil and is embarressed to ask the teacher for one because she said to be sure to bring one. He is also having trouble concentrating. He keeps watching the clock to see if it's lunch time yet because he is hungry. He is also thinking about that new boyfriend and hoping that this one is nicer than the last one. He is also tired.

    Hmm, which kid will score higher? How much difference can the teacher make?