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Old 07-08-2008, 02:47 PM   #16
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For a good laugh. . .

Naïve Teacher Believes In Her Students | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

The sad part is that a lot of the nonsense in this article is actually my reality.

(ie: we have been instructed not to give D's or F's, we give them prizes for coming to class on time, etc)
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:30 PM   #17
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For a good laugh. . .

Naïve Teacher Believes In Her Students | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

The sad part is that a lot of the nonsense in this article is actually my reality.

(ie: we have been instructed not to give D's or F's, we give them prizes for coming to class on time, etc)
There is a lot that's sad in that article. So much so I couldn't bring myself to laugh. It's sad because I know teachers with exactly that kind of mindset. Sad because the implication seems to be that the alternative to naievte is cyncism. Sad because it suggests that kids really can't be inspired to want to learn.
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:40 PM   #18
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I'm a little confused - so to be certified all you need is a BEd degree and some kind of content exam? Why wouldn't they all be certified??
Because most if not all states, require that you get recertified every couple years. As Dread said, eventually you're expected to earn your masters and even after that my understanding that is that you have to continue to take CE classes to keep your certification current. Which I think are all good things. Also, if you move to a different state you have to get certification for that state (which if you have a education degree may be as simple as taking a state history class and the state's teacher cert exam).

Full disclosure: I've been teaching in the CNMI for almost ten years now and my certification(which was originally from Michigan) has been lapsed for several years.

The reason is, honestly, that my opinion of what it takes to get certified here is so low that I haven't felt its worth my time and expense. Still, I know it's something I should do and in fact, I will be taking the Praxis in Hawaii at the end of this month. (The Praxis exam is the exam used to award CNMI teacher certification). I also should start on my masters degree. . .but I've never been sure if I wanted to stay in teaching and so I didn't want to pursue a masters that would limit me to continuing in this profession.

My work is deeply rewarding but a lot of it has to do with being able to teach in the kind of environment I do--a small private school, with high academic standards, and lots of one-on-one interaction with the students. I've literally watched a lot of my students grow up and it's really rewarding to see them going to college and becoming successful. I'm not sure how much I could take of teaching in a massive public school where I see a hundred kids a day.
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:44 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Irvine511;5275901] and while much of this is justified, there's a semi-poisonous atmosphere that i felt in the few staff rooms i've frequented. it struck me as a profession that's quite down on itself, and it seems to inculcate a feeling of being a profession under assault by ... well, everyone.

QUOTE]


This is true. But I think it again goes back to how and why so many people become teachers. If you have a lot of people "falling back" on the profession, it's no wonder they are bitter. They had no idea what they were getting in to!
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Old 07-08-2008, 08:33 PM   #20
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Because most if not all states, require that you get recertified every couple years. As Dread said, eventually you're expected to earn your masters and even after that my understanding that is that you have to continue to take CE classes to keep your certification current. Which I think are all good things. Also, if you move to a different state you have to get certification for that state (which if you have a education degree may be as simple as taking a state history class and the state's teacher cert exam).
That is true. In MA teacher's must recertify every five years. It amounts to professional development in the area you teach. In some cases three courses in five years, along with district work will get you certified.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:57 PM   #21
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Also, what about some of the ideas from Obama's education platform (.pdf)? (these are all explained in more detail in the document, though as always with platforms the language is often vague)

[q]• Create Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts.
• Quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.
• Work to ensure all children have access to pre-school.
• Provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families.
• Create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels.
• Increase Funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant Program.[/q]
[q]• Expand service scholarships to underwrite high-quality preparation for teachers.
• Performance-Based Teacher Education
• Provide mentoring for beginning teachers so that more of them stay in teaching and develop sophisticated skills.
• Create incentives for shared planning and learning time for teachers.
• Support career pathways in participating districts that provide ongoing professional development and reward accomplished teachers for their expertise.[/q]

There's also a shorter and still vaguer 'college affordability plan' (.pdf).
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:07 PM   #22
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It sounds like he has been stealing more than speeches from my Governor....hehe. I will respond tomorrow, no time now.
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:11 PM   #23
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Regarding the negative, almost despondent air that can sometimes be around at a school, is that I believe the respect for a teacher from both parents and students is almost zero compared to 50 years ago. Now this isn't just contained to the teaching profession, lawyers, police, government, everything is held up to scrutiny, and viciously attacked, but when you have a student every day for 40 weeks, and that student brings all these ideas and feelings he gets from home, the atmosphere is not conducive to work and learn in.

Teachers have lost a lot of power with students, I don't believe in corporal punishment, but to have almost no power of students, nothing to make them tow the line - the learning gets thrown to the side for a myriad of behaviour management techniques. I have spent a lot of this year with a very chatty, immature and rude class with many many many clashing personalities working on behavioural techniques.

I think what both candidates should realise and focus on, is how to find that balance in the classroom - how to positively reward the 'good' students maybe with stud grants, or vouchers to stores or something, and for beginning teachers, to really help them with behavioural problems, because we all can teach, we learn to teach and in different ways, but to manage a class, to feel like we're not just barely holding on to the class before it explodes into an all out riot (which has happened at a school i've been too)

I also think parenting classes should be compulsory. Not like 'this is how you wipe their bums' but a 'this is how you support your child at school, these are some techniques you can use to get your student to work' Once the child has proved he can work successfully at school, you have passed the class. I know unrealistic and possibly harsh, but really, when you don't have a parental support, when the parents are non existent, or toxic, or uncaring, learning is not going to happen, or happen very slowly, to the detriment of the other students in class, who have the well rounded understanding of learning and support from their. parents.
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:23 PM   #24
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^It's true. Management is such a vital issue. If you can't manage the classroom it really doesn't matter what other kinds of skills you have.

Dread, Amy, Martha, WildHoney (and any other teachers on this forum), did you feel your teacher training adequately prepared you to manage a classroom? I don't remember much about my own management classes. The things that helped me the most were two master teachers (one teacher I worked with while teaching on the remote island of Chuuk--imagine moving the inner city to a small tropical island and you get the idea. We had teachers literally physically attacked by students with knives, chairs, etc. The other teacher was my supervising teacher during student teaching). I'm also fortunate to just kind of naturally have a knack for managing students. It comes easily to me.

I'm just wondering what your take is on how effective our teacher training programs are in this crucial area.
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:04 AM   #25
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My training had very little "classroom management" components to it. Just the basic "talk to student, talk to parent, refer to counselor, dean, etc. . ." Most of the situations that were presented to us were set in a middle to upper-middle class school community. Not very useful when your students do not share the middle class values you were raised with. Student teaching was my first real experience with classroom management.

I happen to have a knack to dealing with students too. I am part of the mentor program at my school and struggling 1st year teachers are sent to my room to observe me. That being said, I've had my share of disasterous days.

For example, this year I had a student call me a "fat fuck" and I had to push for the suspension.

I also had a student tell me to "fuck off", "shut up talkin to me," & the ever popular "I don't have to listen to what the fuck you say." Now all this time I was calling for security, smiling at her, and then told the class that it was this type of apathetic attitude that makes us a failing school. Well, if I'm bitter it's in part b/c this student called her mother, told her I told her to fuck off and that I called her pathetic. Our assistant principal has no spine and believed this student and her mother when they came to her with this story. I immediately got my union rep and administrator. The mother insisted that the class be polled as to what I said. Oh yes, they did it. A few of the kids made stuff up but most of them had my back. (I was told what each student said, btw) The mother, who texted almost the entire meeting , was very upset my boss would take the word of a teacher over her daughter. The associate principal who allowed this charade to begin was usurped by my boss and the student's 5 day suspension was upheld.

So yeah, I'm bitter. I don't have many rewarding days. But this isn't a pity party. I've chosen to stay at my school for another year. After this year, we'll see. Even I have my limits.
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:53 AM   #26
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My training had very little "classroom management" components to it. Just the basic "talk to student, talk to parent, refer to counselor, dean, etc. . ." Most of the situations that were presented to us were set in a middle to upper-middle class school community. Not very useful when your students do not share the middle class values you were raised with. Student teaching was my first real experience with classroom management.

I happen to have a knack to dealing with students too. I am part of the mentor program at my school and struggling 1st year teachers are sent to my room to observe me. That being said, I've had my share of disasterous days.

For example, this year I had a student call me a "fat fuck" and I had to push for the suspension.

I also had a student tell me to "fuck off", "shut up talkin to me," & the ever popular "I don't have to listen to what the fuck you say." Now all this time I was calling for security, smiling at her, and then told the class that it was this type of apathetic attitude that makes us a failing school. Well, if I'm bitter it's in part b/c this student called her mother, told her I told her to fuck off and that I called her pathetic. Our assistant principal has no spine and believed this student and her mother when they came to her with this story. I immediately got my union rep and administrator. The mother insisted that the class be polled as to what I said. Oh yes, they did it. A few of the kids made stuff up but most of them had my back. (I was told what each student said, btw) The mother, who texted almost the entire meeting , was very upset my boss would take the word of a teacher over her daughter. The associate principal who allowed this charade to begin was usurped by my boss and the student's 5 day suspension was upheld.

So yeah, I'm bitter. I don't have many rewarding days. But this isn't a pity party. I've chosen to stay at my school for another year. After this year, we'll see. Even I have my limits.
Oh, wow. I'm sorry.

It makes our job so much harder because it seems like there are just so many parents out there who just don't know how to do THEIR job.

Still, the school makes a difference. I can't imagine anything like that happening where I teach (though it would have for sure in Chuuk).

It's a shame that the classroom management training you had focused on kicking the problem up the chain of command. Good management strategies are really preventative. The goal is to not have to engage the disciplinary program at all.

I hope next year is better for you. Hang in there!
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:58 AM   #27
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As a principal/and teacher I would say classroom management, is the biggest skill necessary for success. Having been a grad assistant at a college in the education department, I would say it is the ONE area, schools suck at preparing people for.

Content can be learned, management is something that people either have the skills, or they need to be groomed. Good mentors are helpful in this area.

I had a student telling me to fuck off and tell me that I was an asshole (4th grade) let him go on and on and on. The teacher could not believe it when I looked at the kid, laughed out loud, and started talking to the aide about the Patriots.

The behavior stopped, and we got things under control. Another kid destroyed my office with a bat. would I have had the skills for these situations as a rookie no way. That is experience.
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:20 PM   #28
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As a principal/and teacher I would say classroom management, is the biggest skill necessary for success. Having been a grad assistant at a college in the education department, I would say it is the ONE area, schools suck at preparing people for.

Content can be learned, management is something that people either have the skills, or they need to be groomed. Good mentors are helpful in this area.

I had a student telling me to fuck off and tell me that I was an asshole (4th grade) let him go on and on and on. The teacher could not believe it when I looked at the kid, laughed out loud, and started talking to the aide about the Patriots.

The behavior stopped, and we got things under control. Another kid destroyed my office with a bat. would I have had the skills for these situations as a rookie no way. That is experience.
And isn't it ironic that the biggest skill necessary for success is the one that schools suck at preparing for.

In my experience the keys to good management include, 1) a comfort level with being in charge. I know some new teachers who "feel bad" to be in charge of the classroom 2) a belief in your ability to control the class--letting the kids know you mean business and meaning it 3) not taking disruptive behavior personally and not disciplining out of anger. 4) Consistency and follow through and 5) A little bit acting talent is useful too!

And as you pointed out, you need to know when "not" to respond too, or at least you need to avoid "getting in it" with a kid. For example I've had students run away from me and I refuse to chase them.

I still think you and WildHoney have way worse kids than I do though. . .geez. Destroyed your office with a bat? I don't know if I EVER want to move back to the U.S.!
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:40 PM   #29
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My initial reaction to Obama's plan:

Section I NCLB

Reform assessments? The federal governement has NOTHING to do with the assessments being used for NCLB. The government requires them, the states determine the standards and the assessment model. I do not understand what he means by improving the assessment, nor do I believe it is the federal governments responsibility to dictate what the assessments should be.

The improving accountability portion is vague.

II. Early childhood - Sounds good.

III. Retaining Teachers

It all sounds good. Mentoring occurs. I am wondering how he plans to provide collaboration time. There has to be money for this. Many schools cannot get grade levels the same planning time. Currently I am working on a grant to expand the school day by an hour and half. Built into my plan is more time for teachers to collaborate. If we do not get the grant, it will not happen.

I like the residency ideas in his plan. I think the paid common planning time is coming from Massachusetts Expanded learning time grants. I would not be surprised if it did.

There are some good ideas. In general, i THINK he has a better grasp on this topic than McCain does based on the proposals. 18 Billion seems a little low to fund this.
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:40 PM   #30
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So what's needed to better prepare new teachers to manage the classroom effectively? More varied and extensive role-playing in the (education) classroom, more time spent student teaching, more comprehensive mentoring programs, all of the above, or what? How widespread are mentoring programs right now, and how do the best ones work? (Obama's platform at least seems to assume many schools don't have them; I've no idea whether that's accurate or not)
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Having been a grad assistant at a college in the education department, I would say it is the ONE area, schools suck at preparing people for.
This much is a problem college faculty have in common with primary and secondary teachers, though we're not dealing with anything like the behavioral issues you have to contend with. My "classroom management" problems are peanuts by comparison; every now and then I'll get a mentally ill or emotionally disturbed student doing, well, things that mentally ill people do, but that usually happens in my office, not the classroom. However, basic teaching skills--how to hold students' attention, how to lead a discussion, how to grade and otherwise give feedback so that students understand what they need to do to improve, stuff like that--those things are for the most part not "taught" to grad students at all; it's usually entirely dependent on who you get assigned to TA for...does s/he takes the mentor role seriously, give you lots of guidance and feedback, and role model good teaching skills for you to emulate, or is s/he a crappy teacher to begin with whose attitude towards you is basically "Woohoo, personal secretary for the semester! Less work for me!"
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I also think parenting classes should be compulsory. Not like 'this is how you wipe their bums' but a 'this is how you support your child at school, these are some techniques you can use to get your student to work' Once the child has proved he can work successfully at school, you have passed the class. I know unrealistic and possibly harsh, but really, when you don't have a parental support, when the parents are non existent, or toxic, or uncaring, learning is not going to happen, or happen very slowly, to the detriment of the other students in class, who have the well rounded understanding of learning and support from their. parents.
Compulsory parenting classes are definitely unrealistic, although there are some "learning community" approaches to school improvement that involve parental participation; I think Dread talked about that in another thread awhile back.
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