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  #101  
Old 04-09-2014, 10:49 AM
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Sorry to hear about those bad experiences. I used to be a teacher so I know how you feel.

On top of all that's been said, some district have another issue - race. Sometimes black, white, or hispanic teachers, parents, and administrators just do not get along. I was working in the Kansas City Missouri district while they were going thru their desegregation mess where you definitely saw this issue come up.
The great majority of my teaching was wonderful. The two students with IEPs that I mentioned were in my first class, so I really didn't know what I was doing. Perhaps it would have gone better if I had had some experience.

I think a lot of my stress came in dealing with other people's children. As a waitress, or when I worked in an office, if I made a mistake it might upset a patron, or a client, but people aren't quite as patient or understanding when their child is involved (and as the parent of a wonderful, almost perfect child , I've been on the other side of the desk, too). Something small could blow up because a child misunderstood something, or repeated part of a conversation to his parents. When I first started teaching, most parents might call and ask for clarification, but by the end the parent would just be furious before asking what happened. People, and I include myself in this, can be very sensitive about their kids.

I enjoyed most of my time teaching. I would not encourage any young person to go into the profession, though. Perhaps it's because I'm in Illinois, where the state hasn't made its contribution into our pension system (the same as if you found out your boss had never paid his share into Social Security), so now they don't want to pay our pensions.
  #102  
Old 04-09-2014, 01:23 PM
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I enjoyed most of my time teaching. I would not encourage any young person to go into the profession, though. Perhaps it's because I'm in Illinois, where the state hasn't made its contribution into our pension system (the same as if you found out your boss had never paid his share into Social Security), so now they don't want to pay our pensions.
This was one of the things that made teaching an attractive job 20 years ago. Sure, you didn't get paid a lot of money - but you did get almost three months off in the summer. And, after 25 years, the pension in a lot of states and/or districts was very nice - I remember teachers retiring at 50 with full salaries. Benefits were good, too. The pension situation and benefit situation have really changed. The teachers I know who have taught for 20 years or more now say that the kids have changed a lot - a lot more discipline issues than they had when they started. Class sizes are a lot bigger for them as well.
  #103  
Old 04-09-2014, 02:15 PM
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You have research that shows your methods (that aren't being implemented) are better than those that are?
Absolutely I do. For one, my methods differentiate. For another, my methods give students authentic audiences, which research shows leads to higher engagement and better results among all students but especially among low-income students.
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And you also have research that shows that what you are doing now is putting kids in a worse position than those of say, 25 years ago? How have the educational results trended in your district over the last 25 years?
Absolutely I don't. How would that study even work? Seriously, are you going to design a study that controls for demographic shifts, changes in use of technology at home, economic fluctuation, changed grade-level standards, and other variables over the course of 25 years in order to judge student performance in this manner? It's hard enough to do an apples-to-apples comparison of two concurrent classes. I'd be interested to see your proposed study design.
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A bigger question, should teachers just be able to do whatever they want in the classroom?
That question is only "bigger" in the sense that it's "even more ridiculous." Seriously, this is what you think a good question looks like? Try again.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 04-09-2014 at 02:16 PM.
  #104  
Old 04-09-2014, 03:39 PM
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You have research that shows your methods (that aren't being implemented) are better than those that are?

Teachers have access to educational research, you know.

But the longer answer is that teaching is a lot like managing people. There is research around it, but it's not one size fits all. You need to find the intersection between best practices, your own management style, and the people you are working with

The best schools build in collaboration. Teacher work together to share what works and what doesn't, develop sophisticated materials, and provide feedback on each other's work. That's how effective and innovative ideas spread. But it takes time and money to do that, so it's pretty rare to see it done right.
  #105  
Old 04-10-2014, 08:31 AM
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A bigger question, should teachers just be able to do whatever they want in the classroom?
Well yes and no.

One thing about teaching - your room is your castle. You can put up all kinds of things on the walls or hang from the ceilings that reflect your personality, hobbies, or what you want to emphasize in the classroom. for example a science teacher might put up alot of sci-fi stuff. My sons 4th grade teacher was nuts about football and his college so he put up a lot of stuff about that. I know an art teacher who set up a full loom.

When you teach if your more knowledgeable about a certain subject-you emphasize that. My 4th grade teacher was into cooking and did alot of cooking demo's. Another teacher might be into certain books.

Some teachers slip their religion in.

Now it can get out of hand and that is where the "no" comes in.

Point is it makes the job more interesting for the teacher. Nobody would want to work at a school that forbid any personal effects.

Last edited by Urbanredneck; 04-10-2014 at 08:31 AM.
  #106  
Old 04-10-2014, 09:12 AM
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Absolutely I do. For one, my methods differentiate. For another, my methods give students authentic audiences, which research shows leads to higher engagement and better results among all students but especially among low-income students.
Can you elaborate on this? I'm interested in knowing more. What does it mean to say your methods differentiate, and give students authentic audiences?
  #107  
Old 04-10-2014, 09:38 AM
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Are there other jobs where you have to supply tools for those that work under you using your own money if you wish the job to be done right?
No, I agree it isn't good or even right. I was reacting more to Sicks Ate's proposition that one should toe the line and not spend anything.

As for anyone, and teachers especially, having a passion for what you do will drive you to do more than what many people think you should do.

Last edited by 2gigch1; 04-10-2014 at 09:39 AM. Reason: speling
  #108  
Old 04-10-2014, 11:14 AM
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Can you elaborate on this? I'm interested in knowing more. What does it mean to say your methods differentiate, and give students authentic audiences?
"Authentic audiences" means that when I do a writing unit, I try to arrange for an audience for the writing that's not just me. At the very least we'll do a bulletin board of the educational posters students create. We might invite other students in to the classroom to teach them about what we've learned, or share it with our reading buddies. We've sometimes written pieces that are performed before the whole school, or a section of the school. We've written letters to the mayor. Once we even wrote letters to businesses asking for their support for a service project we were doing (planting trees along a river). There's decent research showing that all learners, but especially low-income learners (who generally come from a less academic family and therefore practice fewer academic skills outside of a school setting) are more motivated and engaged in their learning when they know that their products have an audience that's not just the teacher.

"Differentiating" means that I try to adjust assignments to account for different skill levels of my students. In writing, this might mean that everyone writes a three-paragraph narrative about the field trip that we took to a business, but the more advanced students include four extra paragraphs discussing the business's history, its source for raw goods, and its target customers. This is some Vygotsky stuff, where students learn best in their Zone of Proximal Development: if you teach everyone exactly the same material, it's boring for some, perfect for some, and inaccesssible for some.

In addition to having accessed research in the past that supports my preferred pedagogical approach, I am, in a fairly loose way, engaged in conducting this own research myself, through a fellowship that compares this kind of writing to a default district writing curriculum, comparing the written products of students from both approaches. It's loose because my main job is teaching, not research, but I certainly know how a more rigorous study could be designed, given more time for conducting the research.
  #109  
Old 10-07-2019, 07:32 PM
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"Desperate to fill teacher shortages, US schools are hiring teachers from overseas"

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Across the US, schools are hemorrhaging teachers while fewer college graduates enter the profession.

In 2018, the US had an estimated shortage of 112,000 teachers, according to the Learning Policy Institute.
  #110  
Old 10-08-2019, 01:25 AM
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. . .believe it or not, the tests usually cover the subject.. . ..
That's often not the case, and often what it means to "cover" a subject is open to legitimate debate. As someone who professionally has written tests and diagnosed program assessment systems, I would say that many tests are problematic and some solely serve as the instrument of greatest convenience for the program, rather than a valid measurement. In one case I have have studied, a particular single test has come to critically shape a whole area of of education, which wants to change, but can't, because that test is the only one available for accountability toward federal funding. Tests are not neutral things--they have all kinds of historical, political, and circumstantial biases which eventually come to be taken for granted and effectively invisible. This isn't to say that they can't be effective, because obviously they often are, but I've seen many bad tests that programs blithely use without even stopping to consider their real value.
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I've read quite a few teacher complaints about Common Core. They are required to pretty much teach and prep the kids for those tests.
There are no "Common Core tests" per se. Common Core is a set of standards. The state or the district adopts its own tests. They may or may not accurately reflect the Common Core Standards, and they may do so to varying degrees, one way or the other. They may be good tests or they may be terrible tests. The fact that the test themselves are high stakes has nothing to do with any particularly standards; whatever standards they have, they'll still have to "teach and prep the kids" for whatever tests they have.
  #111  
Old 10-08-2019, 07:53 PM
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Like this thread, I am a zombie, retired for nearly 20 years. University professor, it was a great job when I started. I had a lot of autonomy. But over the years, the administration took a lot of it away, just gradually, like boiling a frog. Even so, in my day, I never had a parent complain. I did have one student who went a lawyer around, but that student needed a shrink, not a lawyer. And one other, an Argentinian whose mother got the Argentinian consul to phone my chairman. Still things have changed more and not for the better. Everything is more bureaucratic and I told my children to avoid the profession.
  #112  
Old 10-08-2019, 08:08 PM
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There are two sorts of people who go into teaching: Those who have a calling for it, and those who think it will be easy. Those who have a calling will find it worthwhile. Those who think it will be easy, won't.
  #113  
Old 10-08-2019, 08:20 PM
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There are two sorts of people who go into teaching: Those who have a calling for it, and those who think it will be easy. Those who have a calling will find it worthwhile. Those who think it will be easy, won't.
I have seriously never known a teacher who thought it was gonna be easy. I don't think this is a particularly helpful taxonomy.
  #114  
Old 10-09-2019, 03:31 AM
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Like this thread, I am a zombie, retired for nearly 20 years. University professor, it was a great job when I started. I had a lot of autonomy. But over the years, the administration took a lot of it away, just gradually, like boiling a frog. Even so, in my day, I never had a parent complain. I did have one student who went a lawyer around, but that student needed a shrink, not a lawyer. And one other, an Argentinian whose mother got the Argentinian consul to phone my chairman. Still things have changed more and not for the better. Everything is more bureaucratic and I told my children to avoid the profession.
Weren't you a professor of mathematics? Plumbing the fathoms of the universe, as the centuries of human thought gently washed against your office door - a mouthpiece of God. Who nevertheless had to teach a couple of one hour tutorials every week.

This is Holy work and hardly the same thing as being a classroom teacher in a school.
  #115  
Old 10-09-2019, 06:16 AM
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My best friend is an elementary school teacher in CA. He loves the job, says it’s the best he’s ever had. He teaches science to 1st thru 6th grades, so he has 6 years with most of the kids.
  #116  
Old 10-09-2019, 08:26 AM
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My best friend is an elementary school teacher in CA. He loves the job, says itís the best heís ever had. He teaches science to 1st thru 6th grades, so he has 6 years with most of the kids.
Sorry for the thread hijack but are you saying they have a separate teacher for science for grades as low as first grade?
  #117  
Old 10-09-2019, 08:30 AM
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I have seriously never known a teacher who thought it was gonna be easy. I don't think this is a particularly helpful taxonomy.
The closest I ever saw to a teacher thinking it would be "easy" are the ones who saw themselves as coaches first - teachers second. And who can make good money running camps and doing side instruction in their sport. This allows them to pursue their passion like basketball or football all their lives.
  #118  
Old 10-09-2019, 08:48 AM
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I've certainly seen teachers who came from some other line of work, and bought into the whole idea of "Only 7 hours a day! 5 hours, after breaks! Summers off!", and who thought it wouldn't take any particular skill. They generally last a single year.
  #119  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:43 PM
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The closest I ever saw to a teacher thinking it would be "easy" are the ones who saw themselves as coaches first - teachers second. And who can make good money running camps and doing side instruction in their sport. This allows them to pursue their passion like basketball or football all their lives.
You know, I don't like sports in school. I'm in a school with no athletics, and it's like a miracle. Over the course of my career, I have had so many negative encounters with coaches--I've found many that are dishonest, dishonorable, excessively competitive, appallingly negligent in the classroom, and in some cases personally odious.**

I have never, ever, ever known one who was lazy. As much as teachers bitch about how much we work, coaches invariably work schedules that are insane by anyone's standards. Late, late nights. Every weekend. It's not just practice; it's prep, and a take-down, and strategy meetings, and individual help, and, honestly, dealing with the social and emotional needs of their kids. It's fund-raising, glad-handing, community-building. It's paperwork. Tons and tons of paperwork. And they also have to be in the classroom at least part time, with lesson prep and grading (however shitty of a job they may do)

I don't agree with the whole goal of their existence, but I can't deny they put heart and soul into it. I'm sure they love it--they couldn't do it otherwise--but that doesn't make it easy.

** I have also known some lovely coaches. Who also worked very hard. But even the jerks were hard workers.
  #120  
Old 10-09-2019, 03:45 PM
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You know, I don't like sports in school. I'm in a school with no athletics, and it's like a miracle. Over the course of my career, I have had so many negative encounters with coaches--I've found many that are dishonest, dishonorable, excessively competitive, appallingly negligent in the classroom, and in some cases personally odious.**

I have never, ever, ever known one who was lazy. As much as teachers bitch about how much we work, coaches invariably work schedules that are insane by anyone's standards. Late, late nights. Every weekend. It's not just practice; it's prep, and a take-down, and strategy meetings, and individual help, and, honestly, dealing with the social and emotional needs of their kids. It's fund-raising, glad-handing, community-building. It's paperwork. Tons and tons of paperwork. And they also have to be in the classroom at least part time, with lesson prep and grading (however shitty of a job they may do)

I don't agree with the whole goal of their existence, but I can't deny they put heart and soul into it. I'm sure they love it--they couldn't do it otherwise--but that doesn't make it easy.

** I have also known some lovely coaches. Who also worked very hard. But even the jerks were hard workers.
I used to be a PE teacher, and in that field you are generally expected to coach. I hated it, partly for the reasons you list - stupidly long hours etc. But more importantly, I don't see how it's possible to be a good teacher while coaching.

I would stand up at conferences after they'd tell us about all the new teaching stuff coming down the line and I'd say, "That's great, I'm all for it. But who's going to coach? Because if you want me to devote myself to teaching - and I'm all for it - I'll need to be a full-time teacher." This was usually met with muffled grumbling and an admonition that, well, we need coaching too.

Not many schools with no athletics, but I'd be for that too. Ideally, I'd like to see school-wide recreational programs but no actual athletics. Plenty of opportunities for that outside of school, never mind how sports have gotten a completely out-sized place of importance in education.

I wish I'd been given the chance to work hard at being a teacher, but in PE that's not generally considered the important part of the gig, unfortunately.
  #121  
Old 10-09-2019, 06:29 PM
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We have the most amazing PE program because of exactly that--our PE teachers are primarily PE teachers.

When I was a young teacher I resented the coaches who were negligent teachers, but I finally came to realize that it was impossible for them to do both jobs, and that they were hired---and would be fired--based entirely on their coaching performance. That was their job.
  #122  
Old 10-09-2019, 07:19 PM
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Based on what my mom told me from her 10+ years she mentioned it being a rather thankless job. How she pretty much had to teach kids things they should have known from a lower grade level just so they can perform in their current level, the cuts to funding, dealing with the parents and also having to sometimes play the role of parent or person who gives a damn, plus the kids being unruly at times. All in all it doesn't sound at all what I imagined it to be, but then again things rarely are.
  #123  
Old 10-09-2019, 09:17 PM
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...When I was a young teacher I resented the coaches who were negligent teachers, but I finally came to realize that it was impossible for them to do both jobs, and that they were hired---and would be fired--based entirely on their coaching performance. That was their job.
That explains why the boys' PE teachers at my high school all sucked. None of them had seemed to have much interest in actually teaching or any clue what to unathletic boys with zero knowledge or interest in sports other than yelling, negatively comparing our performance to "the girls", or otherwise insulting us. I hated it so much I ended up ruling out several colleges, that in retrospect may have a better choices for me, because they had PE requirements, and didn't voluntarily set foot in a gym until I for almost 10 years after graduating high school. Bad teachers can end up doing a lot more harm than good.
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  #124  
Old 10-10-2019, 02:34 PM
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Most area high schools have a full time theater teacher. At my sons school they have a theater teacher who just teaches and runs that department. They do about 5 plays and musicals a year which might sound overwhelming but really the students do almost all the work.

He's even joked how easy it is and he could just sit back and drink his coffee. Its really amazing how its the students who are the directors and such and the older students even teach some of the classes. Which is good that since its the students who handle all the small and middle things and even big ones he has the time to fix the larger issues that come up.

This gives him time to direct outside professional productions or pursue other interests.
  #125  
Old 10-10-2019, 02:40 PM
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We have the most amazing PE program because of exactly that--our PE teachers are primarily PE teachers.

When I was a young teacher I resented the coaches who were negligent teachers, but I finally came to realize that it was impossible for them to do both jobs, and that they were hired---and would be fired--based entirely on their coaching performance. That was their job.
I think the days of the hated drill sergeant PE teacher have mostly gone away. They are now expected to have lesson plans and actually teach. No more just toss out a basketball and them just sit on the side doing coaching paperwork. My sons PE teacher has a set curriculum (hes taking weightlifting) and they watch the kids closely.

Now there are still the ones who teach history and just show videos all the time and spend most of their time on coaching.

You would be surprised how much they make on the side running camps and clinics or doing private coaching.

Also I think that having half the PE staff are also female now has changed alot of it.
  #126  
Old 10-11-2019, 09:12 AM
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I tried being a classroom teacher for decades, but that is a brick wall I will not beat my head against anymore. It is amazingly rewarding, but I could not succeed at it. I taught every grade from Pre-K to 6 full-time, middle school and high school art, and library; I volunteered with marching band. I substituted all levels. I taught at public, charter, and Christian schools. I loved working with primary students, I was all right with 4th; 5th and 6th was just not me; I was great with middle and high school students when they wanted to learn what I was teaching and couldn't stand them when they fought me.
I moved often; I never taught at any school more than 3 years. Some jobs I left when it became obvious I couldn't agree with the administration; some I left because my husband was moving. Contracts would not be renewed, but never with definitive reasons. ("It's time for a change" being the worst.) I was asked to resign once, when false gossip in the extremely small rural town (pop. 300) got toxic. In the last school, I don't know what they wanted from me because feedback was nonexistent, but I was told I "hadn't grown as much as they had hoped".

I thought I was done with education when we moved to Indiana, but just when I thought I was out, it pulled me back in. The difference this time is that I am not a classroom teacher. I am now an assistant. I work with 2nd graders at a public school in a Midwestern city. It's part time; the pay is not enough for one person to live on; there are no benefits, but the rewards are fabulous. I get to work one-on-one and with small groups of kids instead of herding cats. I teach; I don't do paperwork, lesson plans, or grades (which are at best nebulous and are utterly inadequate for reporting student progress). I don't have to deal with parents. I don't catch heat from the dad who thinks every kid in class is bullying his son when in reality his son spits on everyone in class. I don't have to try to control a classroom full of ipads when the IT department won't give one to the teacher so she can use Apple Classroom to monitor the kids. I don't have to mediate between feuding parents whose kids are in my class because the administration won't intervene. I do get to talk to kids whose families are a disaster and are hurting and angry. I'm not a counselor, but I can listen, cry with, and love them when they need it.
I also work part time with a private tutoring company. Still not enough to live on, but still rewarding.
  #127  
Old 10-11-2019, 10:27 PM
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I tried being a classroom teacher for decades, but that is a brick wall I will not beat my head against anymore. It is amazingly rewarding, but I could not succeed at it. I taught every grade from Pre-K to 6 full-time, middle school and high school art, and library; I volunteered with marching band. I substituted all levels. I taught at public, charter, and Christian schools. I loved working with primary students, I was all right with 4th; 5th and 6th was just not me; I was great with middle and high school students when they wanted to learn what I was teaching and couldn't stand them when they fought me.
I moved often; I never taught at any school more than 3 years. Some jobs I left when it became obvious I couldn't agree with the administration; some I left because my husband was moving. Contracts would not be renewed, but never with definitive reasons. ("It's time for a change" being the worst.) I was asked to resign once, when false gossip in the extremely small rural town (pop. 300) got toxic. In the last school, I don't know what they wanted from me because feedback was nonexistent, but I was told I "hadn't grown as much as they had hoped".

I thought I was done with education when we moved to Indiana, but just when I thought I was out, it pulled me back in. The difference this time is that I am not a classroom teacher. I am now an assistant. I work with 2nd graders at a public school in a Midwestern city. It's part time; the pay is not enough for one person to live on; there are no benefits, but the rewards are fabulous. I get to work one-on-one and with small groups of kids instead of herding cats. I teach; I don't do paperwork, lesson plans, or grades (which are at best nebulous and are utterly inadequate for reporting student progress). I don't have to deal with parents. I don't catch heat from the dad who thinks every kid in class is bullying his son when in reality his son spits on everyone in class. I don't have to try to control a classroom full of ipads when the IT department won't give one to the teacher so she can use Apple Classroom to monitor the kids. I don't have to mediate between feuding parents whose kids are in my class because the administration won't intervene. I do get to talk to kids whose families are a disaster and are hurting and angry. I'm not a counselor, but I can listen, cry with, and love them when they need it.
I also work part time with a private tutoring company. Still not enough to live on, but still rewarding.
Forgive the sidetrack but with moving around so much, how have you been able to build up a retirement? My wife teaches in Kansas and thus is part of KPERS. Same with an aunt in Missouri. Are you part of such a program in Indiana?
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