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The Teacher Thread

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by NewYorkIslander, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. KenRose

    KenRose Senior member

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    no, just the PE dept. Up here in Alberta they split the PE department head and Athletic Director duties. To do a good job at both you need two people.
    I was just busting his chops. Calm down. You teach high school? You also run the athletics side of things?
     


  2. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Senior member

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    no, just the PE dept. Up here in Alberta they split the PE department head and Athletic Director duties. To do a good job at both you need two people.

    Sometimes three.
     


  3. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    they do get touchy about being lectured to. i've got a friend who is a retired headmaster of a pretty prominent private school down here and he gets pretty apoplectic about "civilians" and their ideas about education. i have pretty definite ideas about education, but to an extent, I see his point. education is one of the few fields where you get can advanced degrees and spend your whole life working in it and still be talked down to by someone who never got out of high school, just because her kid is in your class.
    I actually try really hard to keep my opinions on education out of any discussion with professionals, and on boards I try to convince other board members that just because they can shell out 100k a year to sit on a board doesn't mean that they know anything about the subject. That said, my wife has more education and expertise than almost any principal, and my mother has two Ph.Ds in education related fields, and mentored an entire generation of special educators in Northern California, and still, teachers generally have very little interest in listening to what they have to say about how to better educate individual children. Look, I don't think teachers are inherently worse than politicians, hedge fund managers, firemen, lawyers or chefs. I just don't see any reason to believe they are any better either. The problem is that at least two, maybe three, of those professions have built an aura of goodness and use it to further their own interests. I think it is BS, and when you break it down, the clay from which all of these people are built is just about the same. I respect people like cbrown who seem to really care about education, and I think kids need them. There are others in this thread who appear, at least to me, to be nothing more than know it alls basking in the fake golden aura of their own goodness. I don't doubt the good stories I hear in other posts in this thread, but I can tell you that in the time I have been involved in the field, I have seen as much bad as good, and perhaps a lot more.
     


  4. Bhowie

    Bhowie Senior member

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    Wife and I have been talking about a lot of this stuff lately. She thinks that one of the biggest problems in her school is pockets of teachers who are resistant to change. She told me some of the other teachers still use worksheets they typed up on a typewriter XX number of years ago. I think she used the line "no group of students is ever the same, so how could all of your classroom material be exactly the same for 2-3 years." She doesn't seek to reinvent the wheel every year, but you really need to evaluate on a weekly basis your approach and its effectiveness.

    The biggest insurmountable problem for her has been all the extra bullshit the kids face outside of class. How can you teach a kid math if one of their family members was killed in some violent act, or some other nonsense? She isn’t a counselor; some of them don’t even want help. So she just has to do the best she can in the classroom and outside of the normal classroom time to teach them.

    I think she once told me she had a 16 year old kid who was the head of the MS-13 chapter for the area she teaches in, and the FBI came looking for him. These kids don’t bust her chops it’s the other normal kids who are bigger distractions and more difficult to work with.
     


  5. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    I'M IN MIAMI, BITCH
    There are others in this thread who appear, at least to me, to be nothing more than know it alls basking in the fake golden aura of their own goodness. I don't doubt the good stories I hear in other posts in this thread, but I can tell you that in the time I have been involved in the field, I have seen as much bad as good, and perhaps a lot more.
    I certainly hope you don't think I'm some sort of education know-it-all. I'm just somebody who's spent quite a bit of time observing the educational system from the outside in. Also, I definitely agree with the last sentence.
    Wife and I have been talking about a lot of this stuff lately. She thinks that one of the biggest problems in her school is pockets of teachers who are resistant to change. She told me some of the other teachers still use worksheets they typed up on a typewriter XX number of years ago. I think she used the line "no group of students is ever the same, so how could all of your classroom material be exactly the same for 2-3 years." She doesn't seek to reinvent the wheel every year, but you really need to evaluate on a weekly basis your approach and its effectiveness. The biggest insurmountable problem for her has been all the extra bullshit the kids face outside of class. How can you teach a kid math if one of their family members was killed in some violent act, or some other nonsense? She isn't a counselor; some of them don't even want help. So she just has to do the best she can in the classroom and outside of the normal classroom time to teach them. I think she once told me she had a 16 year old kid who was the head of the MS-13 chapter for the area she teaches in, and the FBI came looking for him. These kids don't bust her chops it's the other normal kids who are bigger distractions and more difficult to work with.
    Have you shown the wife season 4 of The Wire yet? It should be mandatory watching for teachers in inner city schools. The person I take care of once had a child who didn't get picked up from school in the evening. When she asked her where her mother was the kid replied "My mommy died yesterday. I didn't have nowhere else to go so I came to school today." Imagine hearing that from a 7yr old. Some of these poor fucking kids.
     


  6. KenRose

    KenRose Senior member

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    I hear you on the resistance. Not excusing teachers for shutting someone down without listening first but I have another point of view which may shed some light. In early January I met with a specialist employed with my board who doesn't teach, but is an "expert" and advises. Her area of specialty is with kids who have vision impairment and I have one girl coming into our program who is legally blind, who was also at the meeting as I was looking at how to integrate this kid into the PE program in order to meet the requirements of PE 10 (which is needed for a high school diploma in Alberta). Now this specialist was bringing up all these possibilities like Goalball (handball for the blind) and ringing t balls (in place of softball) and was suggesting that we make all the kids do it. What she was not picking up on was the extreme body language of this visually impaired 16 yr old girl who just wanted to "fit in" and be like everyone else. Now, the specialist's ideas were good ones but she completely missed looking at what is best for this kid and what actually works in the classroom. I sat down with the kid after the meeting and talked about what she wanted to do and what she was good at. Together we came up with module choices that she could participate in with very little modification, and encouraged her to push her comfort level with one or two choices. So far she's doing very well. We often have these AISI specialists come to the school and run seminars on things that we should be doing, but the problem that I have when I hear this is while we are spending so much time "evaluating", who is doing the teaching? Agreed that there are many teachers who are not putting in their best effort. But I think that there are far more that put in their best effort and (like other professions) the shitty ones tend to get noticed more.
    I actually try really hard to keep my opinions on education out of any discussion with professionals, and on boards I try to convince other board members that just because they can shell out 100k a year to sit on a board doesn't mean that they know anything about the subject. That said, my wife has more education and expertise than almost any principal, and my mother has two Ph.Ds in education related fields, and mentored an entire generation of special educators in Northern California, and still, teachers generally have very little interest in listening to what they have to say about how to better educate individual children. Look, I don't think teachers are inherently worse than politicians, hedge fund managers, firemen, lawyers or chefs. I just don't see any reason to believe they are any better either. The problem is that at least two, maybe three, of those professions have built an aura of goodness and use it to further their own interests. I think it is BS, and when you break it down, the clay from which all of these people are built is just about the same. I respect people like cbrown who seem to really care about education, and I think kids need them. There are others in this thread who appear, at least to me, to be nothing more than know it alls basking in the fake golden aura of their own goodness. I don't doubt the good stories I hear in other posts in this thread, but I can tell you that in the time I have been involved in the field, I have seen as much bad as good, and perhaps a lot more.
     


  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    ^ This isn't the kind of thing I am talking about. Not trying to be abrupt or anything, and I can see how that would be annoying.
     


  8. KenRose

    KenRose Senior member

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    Love the Wire and especially season 4. What I think needs to be taken out of that season is that each kid is an individual. It would be easy for someone to get a general (and most likely bad) opinion of a kid like Namond, but when you actually talk to the kids and get to know them you see that they are quite unlike how they present themselves.
    I'm no superstar but I do take pride on the fact that kids come and talk to me all the time; I don't think it's wrong at all to afraid to let the kids "like" you. Too many teachers say "I'm not here to be liked, I'm here to teach you". Well, thats a pile of shit. It may work for football or the military but it's pretty hard to teach a kid who hates you because you're a prick. Also, I have had maybe 10 discipline problems in 20 years and they usually resolve themselves without going to another level because I try to treat each kid with respect.
    Sorry for the sermon, just thinking about lessons from Season Four

    Have you shown the wife season 4 of The Wire yet? It should be mandatory watching for teachers in inner city schools.
     


  9. FtRoyalty

    FtRoyalty Senior member

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    Has anyone seen Waiting for Superman? It's up in my Netflix queue.

    Side question related to the film: Does anyone have any experience with charter schools? I get the impression the film paints a very rosy picture of them, but I'm curious if this is an accurate protrayal. At face value, charters seem to take the best of public and private educations. However, like any school or company, I'm sure there are poorly managed charter schools too.
     


  10. KenRose

    KenRose Senior member

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    Yea, its tough sometimes to try and interpret posts. In fact, it probably wasn't too professional of me to post that experience. But what I was meaning to say is that for me only, I usually take people who come in to help us with a bit of a grain of salt. Some are quite helpful, but most are similar to what I've described. Now, our situation in Canada may be different from what your wife faced in California. But I'm just curious if some of the wrongful ignorance shown to her was because some before her came in and lectured on what teachers should be doing.
    I don't know. Part of me wants to know exactly what your wife tried to offer and part of me is afraid of hearing about the experience that she had. I truly believe that the hard working teachers are a silent majority but it drives me nuts when the poor ones make us all look bad.
    It was quite sad to hear that Scott Brown had suffered abuse as a child but I was happy to hear that he credited a teacher among others for getting through his experiences.
    ^ This isn't the kind of thing I am talking about. Not trying to be abrupt or anything, and I can see how that would be annoying.
     


  11. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    this is a really interesting thread. does anyone have any experience teaching college level? I'm entering an MA/PHD program next year and will be teaching by my second semester, and I'm having some definite anxiety about the experience.
     


  12. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Senior member

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    Love the Wire and especially season 4. What I think needs to be taken out of that season is that each kid is an individual. It would be easy for someone to get a general (and most likely bad) opinion of a kid like Namond, but when you actually talk to the kids and get to know them you see that they are quite unlike how they present themselves.
    I'm no superstar but I do take pride on the fact that kids come and talk to me all the time; I don't think it's wrong at all to afraid to let the kids "like" you. Too many teachers say "I'm not here to be liked, I'm here to teach you". Well, thats a pile of shit. It may work for football or the military but it's pretty hard to teach a kid who hates you because you're a prick. Also, I have had maybe 10 discipline problems in 20 years and they usually resolve themselves without going to another level because I try to treat each kid with respect.
    Sorry for the sermon, just thinking about lessons from Season Four


    I think this is overlooked by so many. Sorry, but we aren't the gatekeepers of knowledge any more than school has a monopoly on learning. It's all a crock of shit from the past four generations who tell us what a classroom is supposed to look like and what is supposed to motivate kids. Had a good talk with a teacher the other day about how her students spend so much time on cell phones and facebook in her class that she's banned everything. In my head I was thinking "maybe if you weren't so boring and angry with them all the time they'd have a reason to listen to you". Don't get me wrong, the students should be way more respectful, but the way to get it isn't to simply tell them to respect you. You kinda have to earn it and by developing strong relationships, life in the classroom gets so much easier. If the teacher fucks up, is it so wrong to ask for forgiveness? Is it wrong for kids to see you smile?

    Never seen The Wire (and have no idea what it's about but I'll look into it for sure).
     


  13. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Senior member

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    this is a really interesting thread. does anyone have any experience teaching college level? I'm entering an MA/PHD program next year and will be teaching by my second semester, and I'm having some definite anxiety about the experience.

    No experience teaching college level, but I've been around a lot of high-level seniors. Fire me a PM and I'll see if I can scrape a few web resources for you to use/think about (if you want).
     


  14. KenRose

    KenRose Senior member

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    hey man, as much as you might want to start with season 4, start with season one. I wish I had 5 unwatched seasons of The Wire left!
    I think this is overlooked by so many. Sorry, but we aren't the gatekeepers of knowledge any more than school has a monopoly on learning. It's all a crock of shit from the past four generations who tell us what a classroom is supposed to look like and what is supposed to motivate kids. Had a good talk with a teacher the other day about how her students spend so much time on cell phones and facebook in her class that she's banned everything. In my head I was thinking "maybe if you weren't so boring and angry with them all the time they'd have a reason to listen to you". Don't get me wrong, the students should be way more respectful, but the way to get it isn't to simply tell them to respect you. You kinda have to earn it and by developing strong relationships, life in the classroom gets so much easier. If the teacher fucks up, is it so wrong to ask for forgiveness? Is it wrong for kids to see you smile?

    Never seen The Wire (and have no idea what it's about but I'll look into it for sure).
     


  15. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Senior member

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    Sorry for the spamming, just wanted to stir things up a bit here in the pedagogy realm: I suggest reading the entire article although here's a snippet. (and i think parallels can be drawn with physical activity) http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/nonreaders.htm
     


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