# An English teacher looks at the new student writing expectations and shrieks in horror. I would, too.

Still waiting for DOE to respond to this note a high school English teacher sent me last week:

I was just given a copy of the GaDOE’s Curriculum Maps for ELA 9-12th grades. I need some help from you before I quit my job and lead the charge for every other high school English teacher to do the same. I have taught for many years, am am good at my job, am an asset to the school at which I teach, and love teaching.

I have rolled with the punches of increased class size, decreased paycheck size and all the other gripe-worthy problems in education. I am not a whiner, a crier (literally or figuratively) or a complainer, but after today, having seen a document that reduced me to tears, I am inspired to leave teaching in the state of Georgia.

Today I saw the CCGPS Curriculum Map. I have provided the link for the 9th Grade ELA CCGPS Map for you.

If I am reading this document correctly, I have four nine- week sections. Fair enough. In each nine-week section I have to tackle one major piece of literature and seven small pieces of literature, easily done, and honestly probably a low number.

Here is the rub. It suggests that my students are to write 4-6 analyses and 1-2 narratives every nine weeks. Let’s do some math. On the low end, I am looking at grading 20 and at the high end 32 process writings a year.

Here is a little Math for you and a little fact about the population I serve. First the fact: If Johnny writes it, his parents will want meaningful feedback written on it or on a rubric and will complain if they don’t get it.

Now for the Math: 20 x 35 (my class sizes this year) = 700 papers per year. 700 x 5 (the number of classes I will teach) =3500. Each paper takes me a minimum of 10 minutes to grade. I will spend 35,000 minute or 583.33 hours or 24.3 days or 72.872 8 hour work days a year grading only students’ written assignments. THIS IS THE LOW END!!!

I would do the Math for 32 papers, but I may have to jump out the window if I do. Also, I get a grand total of 9,900 minutes or 165 hours of planning time. During those times I plan and do everything else teachers are asked to do—I am going to spare you the list that I know you have seen too many times.

I send you this e-mail not in an effort to gripe to you about my woes, but to ask you to help me get to the bottom of this ridiculousness. I get that the more kids write the better writers they become. My kids write often, but not 20-32 full process papers a year. Please help me and every English teacher in the state by getting some clarification on this matter.

The DOE has passed the information to the county curriculum coordinators, and they are going to treat this document as final CCGPS ELA edict from on high. I guess what I am asking you to do is investigate the DOE’s intentions with its ELA curriculum mapping before I grab my pitchfork and torch and storm their great fortress (or at the very least get arrested for indecent exposure)!!!

P.S Ok, so I did the high end math without jumping out of a window: 32 papers a year requires, 933 hours or 116 (8 hour) work days of pro bono grading. What can I say; hyperbole makes me happy!

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

tchr

April 26th, 2012
11:41 am

Forced to be Anon >:(
April 26th, 2012
11:32 am

Isn’t that a sad commentary? Teachers have so little trust in the staying power of education fads, they are advised to just wait five years–it will change.

Well if the last 15 years are my guide…

T-Square

April 26th, 2012
11:44 am

Forced to be Anon – My profession will pay off at the bank. And I’m helping society also, but most people don’t see it that way. Meaning most people only think you’re helping society if you’re a fire fighter, police officer, soldier or teacher, they forget about the other professions that make their lives enjoyable, and criticize us for wanting to make money. Some teachers may leave, but in my experience, the better teachers are doing it because they enjoy it, not because they’re getting paid well, or because they think it is easy. Neither of us is ever going to convince the other that they’re wrong about their point of view. I’m assuming your point of view comes from a teaching background, and my point of view comes from going to really crappy public schools, where I heard the teachers making the same complaints being made here, but they weren’t teaching to begin with, so I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now.

Tonya C.

April 26th, 2012
11:44 am

The argument is ALWAYS about the time teachers have off. Okay then…when a vote comes up to extend the school year make sure you cast your lot for it. Many, if not most, teachers know students need more seat time. That is hard to cover everything in 180 (or 160 in some districts) days. They work the schedule given to them, they have no say in setting it. Not even the year-to-year calendar.

But then everyone would need to fund it, not complain about having ’summers off’ for their kids, and be prepared for year-round homework. No ‘whining’ about sports or activities or vacations. Would that make their reflections on their workload more acceptable?

Maureen Downey

April 26th, 2012
11:45 am

@To all, I received a note from a terrific teacher today that she is leaving the profession at the end of the year, a true loss to her high school. She read the comments on this post about teacher workloads and noted:

“The article you just posted is just one of the reasons I am leaving. Now — watch how many people tell us to shut up, stop complaining (after all we have a job), and just do it. I guess I just don’t understand why people in Georgia hate teachers with such venom.”

Tonya C.

April 26th, 2012
11:46 am

And let me add: public schools are a reflection of the communities in which they sit. I’ve yet to see anything different.

Tonya C.

April 26th, 2012
11:47 am

Maureen:

Not to pry, but please tell it’s not Jordan? Then again a few teachers have said they are throwing in the towel after this year so maybe not.

rob thompson

April 26th, 2012
11:53 am

Howard Finkelstein you are an idiot, you have no idea how hard we work. You couldnt do our job because of your ignorance… moron

Dunwoody Mom

April 26th, 2012
11:53 am

guess I just don’t understand why people in Georgia hate teachers with such venom

Oh, my goodness – this is just a silly statement. Teachers are not “hated”. In fact, most parents/community members I know or have come across value the work that teachers do and are thankful for their presence in our children’s lives.

T-Square

April 26th, 2012
11:55 am

Scott – I’m partially being contrary because it amuses me to get people so upset about things that an anonymous blogger says on a blog. To your points though.

The argument I’m making, may paint a caricature, but it is the caricature that is the perception of those that pay your salaries. We see teachers begging for more money and fewer demands on their time, then we see stories about how they’re cheating their students out of an education by changing answers on standardized tests. If that was isolated to APS, I would have thought it was just an isolated event and let it go, but it seems to have spread throughout the country. Everyone has the part of their job they do at work, and the part they do at home. I continually have to do research, go to lectures, read trade journals, ect. to stay “current” with my profession. I can understand your point about being worried that you might not have enough time to actually teach the students, but that isn’t a new complaint. I’ve been hearing that since I was in high school. Focusing on doing your job, or as you put it, teaching the students, would be preferable, but I haven’t seen evidence that most teachers were doing this before the extra requirements were placed on them.

William Casey

April 26th, 2012
12:05 pm

I just LOVE how anonymous “heroes of business” come on this blog and flog teachers for being lazy. They ALL have “sweatshop” type jobs that make them miserale and they want everyone else to be miserable as well. They also have an “assembly line” view of education. Simply speed-up the line and things will improve. Real learning doesn’t work that way.

Why don’t you anonymous “education experts” man-up, use your real names and give specific examples of how your jobs have become more difficult because of unreasonable demands from management? I didn’t think so. You have no credibility.

I’m not blogging on company time. I’m comfortably retired after teaching, coaching and administering for 31 years. I know that my situation must pi\$\$ you off no end but….. life’s tough. Isn’t it?

William Casey

April 26th, 2012
12:06 pm

“miserable”….. poor editing, I’ll have him fired.

Ole Guy

April 26th, 2012
12:11 pm

There were always a few students who would complain over the fact that, in addition to the time demands of a job, they had to prepare research papers, etc for a demanding instructor. My response: “And this time demand takes you completely by surprise”?

These number, English teacher, are indeed overwhelming. However, just like those students who decided to saddle themselves with both full time jobs and full time course loads…WHAT’S THE JUSTIFICATION FOR YOUR CONCERN? Did you not realize, at the very beginning when you decided to teach, that these demands on your time just might, at some point, approach the “edges of your time envelope”. Spare us the Hamlet act of jumping out of windows…you knew (or SHOULD have known) that high school English, PROPERLY TAUGHT, involves a helluva lot of writing.

Your dedication to the job of preparing youth for the demands of life is admirable, however, you will find little, in the way of public sympathy, when you find yourself in over your head for having to actually teach to a meaningful standard.

YOU WERE NEVER PROMISED A ROSE GARDEN!

Ron F.

April 26th, 2012
12:16 pm

Perhaps we all need to take a step back and look at what we’re doing both here and in the world at large. Teachers are under the microscope (for some good reasons), and we’re feeling the pressure. The last ten years, with ridiculous NCLB requirements have been a pressure cooker. My fear is that there won’t be enough good, dedicated folks left to teach by the time the critics and the reformers get through with us. Some here may think that’s good- I just hope you’re ready for the teacher shortage that will ensue. Why do you think they had to give us as much as they did in recent decades? There was a shortage, and there’s one now in Math and Science and Special Ed. we haven’t begun to fill.

Forced to be Anon >:(

April 26th, 2012
12:16 pm

“YOU WERE NEVER PROMISED A ROSE GARDEN!”

Again– the stop whining argument.

Howard Finkelstein

April 26th, 2012
12:20 pm

For those of you stating “come do our job (teaching) and see how easy it is”. I dont think so, Speedy. You chose your profession because you thought it would be wonderful. Summers off, Xmas holidays, teachers work/screw around days off. Then ya found out, OH NO, Im gonna be held accountable for my lack of actions, my do nothingness and my bad attitude.

Suddenly its poor pitiful me, Im so persecuted, no one likes me then comes the crying and bellyaching. Well suck it up whiners or change careers. HA HA…AHH HAHHAHAHHAAA!!

: )

Howard Finkelstein

April 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

….and one more thing. Get off the computer and GET TO WORK!!!

Forced to be Anon >:(

April 26th, 2012
12:26 pm

Actually, Fink, Most teachers choose their profession to make a difference for kids.

Dunwoody Mom– look at the posts. Do you see where one might get the idea that GA hates teachers? Look at the news stories. While parents and communities may tell others about teachers they love, the national narrative –and policy (NCLB)– seem to imply otherwise.

If GA loves its teachers so, why doesn’t anyone stand up for them? Or for their own kids?

Dunwoody Mom

April 26th, 2012
12:31 pm

Surely no one with intelligence would take anonymous posts on a message board as “evidence” of anything. If so, that’s double-silly.

Chaos

April 26th, 2012
12:34 pm

@Fink and @t-square:

Piss off. And BTW, teachers don’t get three months off. They get paid for nine months of work, including all of the extra time grading, meeting, etc. I’m so tired of D-bags like you two…and I don’t even teach public school.

Chaos

April 26th, 2012
12:45 pm

@Ole Guy

No teacher I know who went into the profession had any inkling that the GA Gen Assembly would raise the caps on the amount of students permitted in a classroom. It has happened time and again. Teaching english and writing to 24 is one thing…teaching it to 30 times 5 classes a day is a whole horse of a different color.

How would you like your boss to come in and tell you that your work load is going to be increased by 25% with no additional pay??????????

Come on, man. Do you really believe what you type?

Howard Finkelstein

April 26th, 2012
1:03 pm

“Actually, Fink, Most teachers choose their profession to make a difference for kids.’

Well, thats what they would like for you to believe. Yes the are so Noble, so selfless and giving. Sounds as if you swallowed that one, hook, line and sinker.

Chaos, teachers get much more time off than they deserve and YOU KNOW IT!! Also, me thinks your brain has taken off for good.

Howard Finkelstein

April 26th, 2012
1:04 pm

“How would you like your boss to come in and tell you that your work load is going to be increased by 25% with no additional pay”

In the private sector, if happens everyday. Sounds as if you live on BubbleHead Blvd.

meredith

April 26th, 2012
1:10 pm

Seems like the author just wants the DOE to clarify the intentions before the paper is considered law. To those few loud negative voices who like to just stir the pot and play no role in education, find a new blog audience. I hear habitiat for humanity and make wish need a good verbal slapping!

Another comment

April 26th, 2012
1:17 pm

Maureen, to me this looks exactly like the New York State Regent’s 9th grade High School curriculum. Similar to what we even did back in the 1974-1978, when I was in High School. My recent research into the SAT scoring Rubric for the Essay, has found that people have found it is identical to the 11th Grade NY State Regent’s Exam. If you have been prepared properly and are truely college ready material doing well on the NY State Regents exam is a good predictor of success. Now New York State has always been bright enough to realize that not everyone is college material and offers a General Diploma with a Vo-tech training in it’s High Schools to this day. Perhaps this is why New York State has always been one of the top 10 states in Education.

I believe that this is a great improvement over what Georgia has been doing. My daughter even took IB Freshman year. I was outraged that the teacher had them doing shoe boxes and cereal boxes in 9th grade IB. Then he pulled grades out of his butt. I wrote him e-mail after e-mail how could doing shoe boxes and cereal boxes be college level or helping to attain college level. He would send me back BS that this was a college level class. I would reply that I took English at a top tier private University and one certainly does not do shoe boxes and cereal boxes in top universities.

My daughter went to Catholic School 3-8, read Huck Finn in 7th or 8th; she then was assigned Huck Finn in 10th grade at a Cobb County School in Honors Lit.; then it wasn’t assigned until 11th grade honors Lit. in Fulton County. The lack of consistancy has adverse effects in taking thing like the SAT.

I have been deeply disturbed by the lack of writing and reading in my daughters Honors classes in high school, She is now in AP in 11th grade, since the school just went and seperated them into AP and on level. She is back in the original Cobb School.

T-Square

April 26th, 2012
1:18 pm

Chaos – Do you really believe what you type? If you get paid, year round, for working 3/4 of the year, you get 1/4 of the year off. Add in the other breaks, and you’re getting closer to 1/3 of the year off. But hey, I’m sure it makes you feel “big” to tell me to piss off, and call me a d-bag because our viewpoints don’t line up. Also, just out of curiosity, do you really believe that most people’s work loads haven’t been increased without getting a bump in pay? I work at a small firm, when I started there were others there, they were subsequently fired. I was forced to pick up their work, yet I didn’t get a raise. Maybe I should send a blogger a letter talking about how unfair it is, and how I’m going to jump out a window if my boss actually expects me to do what I’m paid for. That seems to be what you respect.

hildymac

April 26th, 2012
1:24 pm

Two things: 1, that letter about quitting was so “I’m taking my toys and going home” it’s not even funny and 2, great job either not feeding the trolls (not T-Squared, because he’s actually being rational) or making sure the comments section is free of them so discussion can take place.

Another comment

April 26th, 2012
1:25 pm

As to getting the grading done teachers, give the assignments as in-class assignments. Grade the previous assignments while they are writing the next assignment.

I taught in graduate school and graded papers for another class, while taking a full course load. you can become very profecient at grading for hundreds of students. As a college TA, you also have them stopping by your door, to ask questions at night or on the weekends. Then your boyfriend comes over and says, so I didn’t know you knew him. I am like he is my student. How did he know where you lived? They figured it out. Try that out when you are 21 and your students are 21, 22, 23 +.

Scott

April 26th, 2012
1:25 pm

T-Square,

Thanks for the honest response. I wish we, as a community in this state, could actually have this conversation. I get the humor of riling tempers, but I would submit that this is an important discussion that we need to have. As with most political issues, the rhetoric quickly devolves into name calling.

“Focusing on doing your job, or as you put it, teaching the students, would be preferable, but I haven’t seen evidence that most teachers were doing this before the extra requirements were placed on them.”

From my experience, as a department chair and English teacher, this sentiment is somewhat of a canard that gets repeated often. Certainly there are bad teachers. Certainly there are teachers that whine about reasonable expectations. These though are the exceptions. In fact, most teachers in my building, excluding only a few, work incredibly hard to provide their students the best education they can.

As in any field, there are those that won’t live up to reasonable expectations. I’ll concede that in education some of these lazy teachers are allowed to continue to teach. I would even argue that getting rid of them is one of the most important reforms we can make to education. We need to be able to get rid of bad teachers, but while we hear a lot about those teachers in the news, I can promise you they don’t represent our profession. They are our outliers, as are the bad computer programmers, the server who would rather spit in your food than serve you, or the guy in the cubicle over that everyone hates because he does the bare minimum to get by.

When people dismiss these complaints about these expectations by saying that we should have expected this, or that teachers have always complained about their workload, I’d ask them to look at the recent shift in educational policy. Teachers have always complained, much like any other profession, but the tenor of those complaints has risen around the time of NCLB, the incarnation of a growing focus on statistical results and children as products. Good teachers, teachers who we need in the classroom, are the most frustrated as we are hamstrung more and more by people who have never taught, nor understand how to teach children.

While the focus of this article is on student essays, and as I said earlier, I think it is, to some degree, an exercise in hyperbole, the underlying sentiment is valid. I don’t know what your career is, but for argument’s sake, you are a carpenter. Imagine building a wonderful chair only to have your manager come and cut one of the legs shorter than the rest. What if he then sends you to a professional development class focused on the need for varying sizes of chair legs, instead of giving you the time to fix the mistake he created.

The politicians who are guiding educational policy are moving further and further away from effective teaching. It isn’t that we want to work an 8-5 job. We want to be given the latitude to do that which we do well. Teach. No matter how long it takes.

We are tired of fighting. We aren’t fighting the kids. They are on our team, albeit reluctantly. We are tired of fighting the bureaucracy and policies that keep us from doing our job, and I fervently hope everyone on this forum agrees that being kept from doing our job is a valid complaint.

Old Physics Teacher

April 26th, 2012
1:49 pm

Howard,
“I rise to the occasion”
…I don’t know where to start. I want to laugh, but that might be insulting. I’ll just give you a study that was done many, many years ago concerning the Chief executives of the Fortune 100.

To be in the study, you had to personally know at least 25 of the fellow execs (something that wasn’t that hard). Each exec was asked to evaluate their ability on a Likert scale of 1 – 5 and the execs he/she personally knew on the same scale. What was discovered was that the execs who scored themselves the highest were viewed by their peers to have the least ability; the ones that viewed themselves critically were viewed by their peers to be of significantly higher ability.

The conclusions of the researchers? Generally when someone states “they rise to the occasion,” you can usually assume they didn’t.

And as far as your high school teacher grading your homework, you might remember a guy named Jaime Escalante? The movie Stand And Deliver was drawn from his life. He always assigned voluminous homework, too. HE NEVER GRADED IT. You have to consider the possibility “in the old days,” your teacher didn’t either. There were no administrators, state investigators/evaluators standing looking over his shoulders. Principals let their teachers teach, and they kept the petty bureaucrats off our backs.

Hall Mom

April 26th, 2012
1:51 pm

One possible solution: The requirement is only that they write the assignments, not that you grade them. So when you are stuck with overwhelming numbers like this, randomly grade only a percentage of the writings. The trick is to not tell your students which ones you will grade for which students each time. As long as you tell the class that not all of their assignments will be graded, I think the parents will understand.

mathmom

April 26th, 2012
2:04 pm

One of the many sad parts of this is that the rubric for the GHSWT does not seem to hold grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc in high regard – these constitute just 25% of the score. So, how, exactly, are English teachers supposed to score these papers? And what kinds of comments are expected? If Suzy has wonderful ideas but can’t put a sentence together with proper grammar and punctuation, who cares, really, what she is trying to say? The GADOE is destroying our schools.

April 26th, 2012
2:05 pm

@Scott,
Kudos for a well-written, thoughtful blog entry. Very refreshing.

A working woman

April 26th, 2012
2:10 pm

I understand the teacher wanting a reasonable work schedule but I just don’t think she realizes how the other half lives.

Yestreday was typical.
I was in back to back to back meetings, literally from 8 to 5 with ZERO lunch break and zero time to actually do my work. After leaving the office at five, picking pu my kids from the sitter at 6, home, meal, homework, baths, prayers it is now 9 p.m. and THEN I actually do work on my laptop at home while my boss emailed me until 11 p.m.
It is really hard to be sympathetic about this teacher’s complaints when the rest of us do all we can to keep our jobs.
She doesn’t understand that YES she is whining.
Times are tough. The economy is in the tank.
We who are working are lucky to have jobs…
and if the work is too hard for this teacher…she should try to work in the private sector to get some persepective about what life is like.

Howard Finkelstein

April 26th, 2012
2:12 pm

Old Physics Teacher

April 26th, 2012
1:49 pm

You are just another sad old teacher who has outlived their usefulness, if ever there was any.

April 26th, 2012
2:12 pm

@T-Squared et. al.:
I believe it was the late Patrick Moynihan who said “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Consider this excerpt from a prior “Get Schooled” blog:
“The estimate of the percentage of new teachers leaving after five years ranges from 30 to 50 percent, with the greatest exodus taking place in urban areas.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/10/04/in-1987-88-most-common-experience-level-of-teachers-was-15-years-twenty-years-later-it-was-one-year/?cp=3

And now, consider the graphs on page 3 of this link.
http://www.all4ed.org/files/TeacherInduction.pdf

T-Square (or whoever from the “whiners in a cush job” crowd), can any reasonable person say that the data (aka facts) support your opinion?

Howard Finkelstein

April 26th, 2012
2:23 pm

Funny how private schools have so many FEWER problems. Could it perhaps be the character, moral bankruptcy of these public school teachers, parents, children? Gee Whiz…

Ron F.

April 26th, 2012
2:55 pm

Scott: well said! In my building too, most teachers work very, very hard. The old saying about one bad apple applies here in my opinion. The bad are far less than 1% of the total if you really count. And you’re right about the tenor of the complaints. To borrow from your example: There’s a lot of frustration when you realize you are accountable for making that chair look like Brazilian mahogany, and the material you are given is warped pine with too many knot holes and the boards are all split. We cannot control the raw material, but the final product has to be uniform and consistent. Thanks for expressing the idea so eloquently and calmly!

Ron F.

April 26th, 2012
2:58 pm

Howard: the moral bankruptcy began within society (read parents, students, citizens in general) and has, over time, affected schools and teachers who have tried not to lose their belief that children can be and should be taught. Enough of us in education have given in that you might think we all have. Trust me- after over twenty years in the profession, I haven’t given up and know many who are still trying to keep the negative from taking over.

Beverly Fraud

April 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

Seems as though the teacher in question should do as the rest of us do when we’re dissatisfied at work — seek another job. Why all the drama?

Thank you GwinnettParentz for exposing your ignorance

Why all the drama? If the teacher leaves, the teaching CONDITIONS remain the same.

If the teaching conditions remain the same, then so do the LEARNING conditions, which means it has a direct effect on YOUR CHILD’S education.

That’s “why all the drama”. Because people have such a MYOPIC “blame teachers first” mentality that get it through their thick heads that if it affects teachers negatively, is many cases it affects CHILDREN negatively.

Formerteacher

April 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

Here is a question for all you non-teachers- when you are evaluated at work, are you judged on YOUR work or on the work of they person in the cubicle next to you? My guess is that you are evaluated on what YOU produced. Teachers, on the other hand, are evaluated on the work produced by someone else. Imagine if tomorrow your boss came in and announced that your job security and potential pay increase was based solely on the performance of the 20 people who sit in desks around you. You look around and see some folks who do a good job, some who do just enough to get by, and you see some real slackers. What do you think your frustration level might be when the slackers’ lack of performance is used to lay blame at your feet for lack of production? That is what teachers are faced with- their jobs hinge on what other people produce. Teachers can only input the information; they can’t make kids learn if the kids don’t want to learn and if the parents don’t care if the kids learn. How is it fair to make them responsible for both input and outcome?
And I am so tired of the “you just wanted an easy job with summers off” argument. Even 10 years ago, before NCLB and all the other “magic bullets”, when I was teaching, it wasn’t easy. I can only imagine how much harder it is for those teachers who really love teaching, who really want their students to learn, who really enjoy the subject(s)they teach, to get up every day and face the ever increasing demands with ever shrinking support – and I’m not talking just about financial support. I’m talking about the lack of support from the Legislature, from society, and from parents.

Beverly Fraud

April 26th, 2012
3:12 pm

Eagerly awaiting what Matt the Mouth Organ at DOE has to say about this. Will he SPECIFICALLY address the time issue? Would the DOE have put this out there if they THEMSELVES had to do it?

Or would it suddenly NOT be “good for children” if THEY had to do it?

high school teacher

April 26th, 2012
3:31 pm

I too have concerns about the new English CCGPS; however, my concern is for the students. We just had a team meeting today during planning, and we discovered that in a 9 week unit for British Lit (roughly 45 days), the students are expected to complete 35 tasks. There is a note that the tasks usually take more than one day. For the college bound student, these tasks are not too daunting. For the lower level students, these tasks are a bear. They are expected to read Macbeth on their own for homework. Also, students who will get a special ed diploma will now be in regular classes and will be expected to comlpete these same tasks.

I’m not whining about the thousands of essays that I will grade next year (and I will choose not to grade some and use peer review or self review); my complaint is that all students are expected to produce the same work regardless of ability. Maybe I should move to New York and teach there ?

William Casey

April 26th, 2012
3:41 pm

@HOWARD: I taught in both public and private schools. The latter get to CHOOSE their students. It’s really that simple. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to educate you.

Ron F.

April 26th, 2012
4:25 pm

Formerteacher: In business, you can fire the ones out of that twenty who don’t do the job. In education, we can’t just send off the ones who can’t do or won’t do. We are expected to find the magic combination to make them better. Even as much as I try with all my struggling learners, I still have the few who just never turn around. I never give up, but at the end of the year, I have to accept their choices, however misguided, and move on to next year’s group. If a company had to keep even it’s derelict and try to “make” them become better, then they’d understand the quandry we’re in as educators. Until then, they never will really understand.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

April 26th, 2012
4:27 pm

In my opinion, anyone who equates teaching with babysitting has shown they are so lacking in basic understanding of my profession, that their opinion is summarily dismissed as useless. That is akin to suggesting that judges choose their profession so they can bang the gavel on the big desk.

As for the CCC… I too have my concerns about the writing expectations at even the elementary level. For me, it is not so much the grading that will be the problem, but that the focus seems to be on quantity rather than quality. The students are expected to complete numerous examples of types of writing. However, with in increased time spent writing, there will be very little time to actually TEACH the writing process. Children don’t learn to write through osmosis; they need to be TAUGHT good writing practices. They need to work through the writing process with ongoing guidance. It can take child hours to get through the entire writing process the first few times. Students all move at different paces through the process, and the teacher needs to work with them individually or in small groups to identify and address weaker areas. I already struggle to do a good job with writing as it is, since there is so much emphasis on completed pieces and not so much emphasis on the process. The CCC seems to exacerbate this problem. I really am not sure how I am going to manage it while still doing what I feel is most beneficial in terms of actually teaching children HOW to write well.

Old Physics Teacher

April 26th, 2012
4:32 pm

Howard,

soooo… what was your point? What evidence do you have to back it? And what’s it worth?? Calling me names for asserting you should examine your belief in your own importance and ability does nothing to change the facts. I was simply trying, tactfully I thought, to explain that you might have over-estimated your ability and your knowledge of what’s going on.

Heinlein said: “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!”

After watching politicians blow smoke for so long (and it’s smoke you believe), people begin to believe they “know” things. Before you spout off about specific conditions WHICH YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT (even thought you BELIEVE you have the opinion from on high), you might consider that you’ve taken a position on something you know nothing about!

Going to school and being a student does not qualify you to tell a teacher how to perform his/her job. And if you ARE that good, I’m sure your local school system would be ecstatic to get you as a teacher.

ashley

April 26th, 2012
4:41 pm

It was just today that I wished students would write more. The age of texting is really hurting students’ ability to write essays or even copy notes of an overhead quickly. I’m GLAD these kids are going to have to write more.

GwinnettParentz

April 26th, 2012
5:10 pm

Those of us in the private sector can only wonder at the rampant self-pity of some on this blog purporting to be teachers.

If you feel so abused by principals and taxpayers — why are you still in the profession?

Also extremely odd is all the free time you seem to have. Day after day, and during working hours, you have the leisure time (and no supervision?) to repeatedly post to blog topics!

Who’s paying for this?

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

April 26th, 2012
5:31 pm

@ GwinnettParentz “Also extremely odd is all the free time you seem to have. Day after day, and during working hours, you have the leisure time (and no supervision?) to repeatedly post to blog topics!”

Apparently a lot of “private sector” workers have time during working hours to post as well, aye? Not all the comments here are from teachers, certainly. Aren’t the private sector workers supposed to be working too?

Personally, I never have time to post till after working hours (and then some.) But funny you should say this, since just the other day I was wondering about all the “private” sector workers on various comment threads etc., who post all day long, or admit that they, or their co-workers spend hours playing World of Warcraft in their cubicles, or watching videos on their smartphones or streaming sports on their computers… Or the ones who run to the bank or the store on their lunch, while I bolt down something in the 20 minutes I get…

I think the conclusion should be – those of us who have a strong work ethic and personal integrity work hard, regardless of whether we are private or public sector.

And then there are those who coast.

teacher&mom

April 26th, 2012
5:36 pm

Perhaps we can solve this great debate by simply paying teachers by the hour?

I’ll gladly clock in and out each day. That way if I stay late, attend an after school event or meeting, work on Saturday, participate in summer trainings, gate-duty at sport events, school club meetings, school dances, etc., I can be paid a fair hourly wage for my time. Instead of grading papers at home, I’ll return to school, clock in and grade them in my classroom. Once I hit 40 hours, overtime pay will kick in.

Lazy teachers will not be rewarded and the hardworking teachers will be paid handsomely for their hard work and dedication.