A great teacher diary: “hey do we hv skool 2day?”

over (Medium)If you have time this weekend, read this daily diary of an inner city high school teacher from the Parenting web site. It is an anonymous account of a single day at a big city high school but well worth your time.

After reading about the writer’s abrasive students, indifferent parents and ill-equipped building, I have to ask: Would any of us encourage our children to take her job?

The teacher’s diary opens with a 6:45 a.m. text from a student, “hey do we hv skool 2day?” and ends with a late-night text from another student, “Wassup miss can I get my code thingy so I can chek my grades?”

Here are two short entries from what went on in between those texts:

9:30am
My second class begins to arrive and immediately lets me know I’ll be working hard for the next 50 minutes. They make their entrance pushing and shoving each other, taking each other’s bags, running around the room, ignoring me. They used to be one of the best groups in this grade, but now we commonly refer to them to as “that formerly good class.” Where things went downhill, I don’t know.

I hand out a quiz. We spent the entire last class reviewing for this test, and yet it seems to take them completely by surprise today. It’s clear that no one has studied. “I think you’ll find you know more than you think you know,” I try to reassure them.

“I think you’ll find you’re a bad teacher,” quips one student, loud enough for us all to hear, even over the air vent.

11:00 am
While I’m bubbling in my attendance sheets in #2 pencil and waiting for a parent meeting, I try calling the father of the student who was so rude during second period. His is the only contact we have listed. The first number is out of service, but the second number puts me through. Dad tells me his son no longer lives with him, and that he rarely sees him. He gives me Mom’s number. I relay the story again to the student’s mother, who responds, “Yeah, he doesn’t really like plays.”  Upon my pointing out that, regardless of how much he does or doesn’t like a subject, this is not an acceptable way to address a teacher, she begrudgingly agrees to talk with him when he gets home.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

57 comments Add your comment

Jack

April 28th, 2012
7:37 am

Classroom behavior will not improve until the teacher has the authority to dismiss students who are disruptive. The teacher needs her authority reinforced by the principal and school board and disruptive children shouldn’t be allowed inside the school building.

God Bless the Teacher!

April 28th, 2012
7:40 am

I’m not denying such days occur (all too often), but why is she just getting ready at 7:00am when school starts at 8:30am (and she has to ride the subway to get to school)? Could’ve downloaded the vide the night before. Assuming the subway takes half the time to get her to work as it did that particular afternoon, and say she left home at 7:30, that’d put her at school around 8:15. So she’s one of those teachers who wait until the last minute to run copies, then is probably one of the first to complain when the copier is down. Why not make copies a day or two before? A solution to her lunch dilemma…eat food from the cafeteria at school! I suspect there are pre-made salad alternatives that would silence her hunger pangs. Why would she be receiving text messages and phone calls from students and parents. Personally, teaching at an inner-city school, I would have an unlisted number! I don’t think I would ever take an inner-city teaching job because of the nightmare stories I’ve heard regarding administrators and violent student conduct. However, she must have chosen to do so for whatever reason. If it’s that problematic, move to the suburbs or a rural district. Not all problems will disappear, but there are also plenty of lives to touch out there.

Jordan Kohanim

April 28th, 2012
7:40 am

I have such admiration for teachers who are able to do this. My dad did it and loved it. It just takes a special type of person to cultivate relationships with these kids. Most of them test adults because adults have continuously failed them (in regards to stability).

In short, I WOULD recommend teaching to a kid if he had his heart set on it–inner city or otherwise–but I would remind this child that one can not save the world. And there is no sense in destroying yourself to save a failing system.

That’s really the problem with teaching–you can’t do it unless you love it with all your heart.Your heart can often blind you to just how bad it has gotten. It is never the KIDS that make teaching rough, or even the parents. It is a crumbling system that began with a beautiful notion, but has been bled to death and has now become harmful. A system that teaches kids to distrust or even hate learning.

So what is the alternative? Privatizations carries equity problems. Reform has a “burn the witch” mentality. Vouchers and School Choice raise the hackles of tax-payers, tax-payers who are already strapped and frustrated by the perceived lack of progress. On top of all of this, the system is bleeding to death from corruption and budget cuts. Death by a thousand paper cuts, if you will.

I hope one day the system will be better so that more teachers can go back to what they love–teaching.

God Bless the Teacher!

April 28th, 2012
7:42 am

Regarding my comment suggesting she move our of the inner-city school district…I guess she wouldn’t have anything to write in her book. Once her book is published, then she’ll probably flee.

Colonel Jack

April 28th, 2012
7:51 am

I just read the entire diary link. It reminds me so much of a modern version of Bel Kaufman’s classic “Up the Down Staircase” – which was also set in a New York City school. Every year just as summer break is ending, I re-read that book and realize that, no matter how bad my lot may be, it’s nowhere near as bad as an inner-city school, and I thank God for my career and my students. (Even if my system still doesn’t want me around.)

JunkMonkey

April 28th, 2012
7:54 am

I am so glad you psted this for everyone to read. Days, weeks, and even months exist like this exsit in
all Georgia schools today. This teacher evidently knows what it takes to try and reach her students. It is a pity that the administration blames the teacher for a loud class, or just one student walking around the room. We had a principal one time (he was the best I ever worked for in my career). You were the head of your class and you had the control. If a child was sleeping in class, just let him sleep but at the end of class give him a zero in the grade book. .Then we had another principal, who was a joke, who said students can not sleep in class. Wake them up and make them learn. Well, the one student, could really destroy a class with his thought that a small nap was needed. What this principal did not realize this student was working from 4 PM until 1 AM to earn money to help his family and for his college. He always turned in great work and he knew what was going on in class — he was that smart. He was a great studnet not unrulely. Today, I know it is different. Many students are sleeping in class because they watch llate television or are out doing things (probably they should not be doing.) Teachers have got to understand their students and the community inshich they teach. Hats off to this teacher… this exdperience is making her a wonderful teacher for all students.

JunkMonkey

April 28th, 2012
7:59 am

Jack, teachers fo have the righr to remove any disruptive student from the classroom. There is a law in education that states that no student can keep other students from learning. Maybe your principal or assistant principal needs a refresher course. They may have never had the first course on school law.

Hey Teacher

April 28th, 2012
8:06 am

@Jack — I LOVE “Up The Down Staircase” (which should be underlined but I don’t know how to do that on this blog!) and have given it to my student teachers many times over the years. I recommend it to anyone thinking about a career in teaching, along with Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

Dr. John Trotter

April 28th, 2012
8:17 am

Maureen: I think that this diary illustrates two of my immutable laws of the public schooling process: (1) The motivation to learn is a social process, and if a student is not motivated to learn, no teacher can make the student learn; and (2) You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions, and you cannot have good teaching conditions if the student discipline is out of order. © JRAT

For more details on these laws…

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

carlosgvv

April 28th, 2012
8:22 am

When the integration revolution started in the 50’s, and right up thru today, we have constantly heard the mantra of civil rights. Civil rights has been dinned into our heads loudly and repeatedly for over 50 years by civil rights leaders. Unfortunately, these same leaders have said next to nothing about civil resposibilities. The fruits of this irresponsible and incompetent leadership are evident in many areas of our society, including the classroom.

Inman Park Boy

April 28th, 2012
8:43 am

Everyone has to complain about something. I have been in education for forty years, in elementary, middle and high shools, and no matter how “good” or “bad” the situation, some people will constantly harp. Others just forge ahead and do the job they are paid to do (and most of them do it darn well).

Newton County parent

April 28th, 2012
8:52 am

bootney farnsworth

April 28th, 2012
8:53 am

much as it pains me to agree with Boortz, credit’s gotta be given where earned: in the inner city as a whole there is a pervasive culture of desired ignorance

(note: this occured some years ago, but I think the premise holds)
I asked one of our kids at GPC one time why “keepin’ it real” is at odds with gaining a higher education?

the response was, edited for public viewing, Biggie didn’t need no education. 2pac (sp?) didn’t need no education.

when I pointed out both died young and violently, the response was
that’s real.

after I picked my jaw up, I thought about it: its just a spin on the old James Dean “live fast, die hard, leave a good looking corpse” approach. kids have been this way for years. young, dumb, stupid, and not understanding the full impact of their actions.

what’s different is us, the people who supposedly know better. back in the dark ages when society was less “enlightened”, if we got too out of line society pushed us back in place.

today, we give them reality shows.

bootney farnsworth

April 28th, 2012
8:57 am

in answer to the question, I’d tell my kids to deal drugs or run hookers before teaching in today’s inner city schools.

less dangerous, more money, and MUCH more cultural respect

and I’m not kidding

bootney farnsworth

April 28th, 2012
9:00 am

@ inman park,

it would seem, based on the qaulity of education these kids are getting lately

your claim is full of holes and badly in error.

Newton County parent

April 28th, 2012
9:22 am

I want Dr. John Trotter to see this attack on free speech of teachers employees and citizens by a school principal in Newton County: http://www.newtoncitizen.com/news/2012/apr/26/alcovy-principal-sues-over-website-comments/

ScienceTeacher671

April 28th, 2012
9:58 am

@Maureen: the writer’s abrasive students, indifferent parents and ill-equipped building

It’s not much different at many schools in Georgia, especially now that many of us have 35 students in rooms built for 25.

Just saying..

April 28th, 2012
10:19 am

Heartbreaking. I was 26 years a cop. I wouldn’t last two days as a teacher in a school like this.
And the irony. Schools like this produce the need for many cops.

Digger

April 28th, 2012
10:37 am

Responsibility? Too much hassle. Easier to blame everything on racism.

STAR Teacher

April 28th, 2012
10:37 am

@God Bless the Teacher (7:40am): Did you read the entire diary or just the piece published here? If you had read the entire diary, you would realize that this teacher, like many of us, spends most of her evenings—and nights—working on plans, grades, and other school related tasks. She may sleep a little later than you approve or arrive a little later than you can tolerate, but she’s there before her students have to be there and prepared when they get there. As for your criticism of her waiting to download the video clip in the morning instead of the night before, I have to wonder: Have you ever worked so long into the night to prepare for the next day that fatigue took over before you could get it all done?—for no compensation? (We’re paid only for the contract time we spend on campus, not a minute more unless you count sick leave or personal days, and I know we’re not the only professionals who enjoy the latter or suffer the former.)

Do you know for certain that she didn’t already have everything but her copies prepared in advance? What if she had spent the night before creating those worksheets? Sometimes we revise our plans as we go along as we see the need or get better ideas, and sometimes something that happens in class inspires us to go home and create something new because we see a better way to meet our students’ needs. Furthermore, when we’re new at this job, we often spend all evening and into the night every night—and our weekends—creating, grading, and preparing for the next day, the next week, and the next crises. We sacrifice time with our spouses and even our own children. Do you? God bless you and them if you do.

This teacher has done nothing wrong, and if all you take from her diary is a criticism of the chronology of her day, her generosity, and her choice of workplace, then you have a narrow focus and can’t possibly see the bigger issue that a diary like this reveals, and I have too many essays to grade to address that issue here and now.

One more thing, if you’re serious in your suggestion that she eat the cafeteria food, then you must have forgotten what it’s like.

Jane W.

April 28th, 2012
10:48 am

One day those who don’t want to learn will be in non-academic programs better designed for them and for the jobs they (hopefully) will fill in the world of work.

… once we find a work-around to the laws liberals have erected to prevent any screening.

dekalbed

April 28th, 2012
10:52 am

@Junk Monkey,

It appears you’ve never talked to a teacher working in Dekalb.

Maureen, I wish the AJC would investigate 1) discipline in DCSD and 2) the illogical dissasociation between student behavior and performance.

As someone who’s experienced five different superintendents while working for the former DCSS and current DCSS (how I wish new titles, calendars, and job classifications really did impact the students positively), I-and my students-have suffered from the “call the parent” approach/mandate. And this approach is problematic for the following reasons:
1. It assumes that the student’s behavior is anomalous, something he or she has rarely witnessed being performed by parent(s) or allowed to do in front of or to parent(s).
2. Is assumes that the parent(s) can actually control the child/young adult. Ask a high school teacher how many times he or she has been told “I don’t know what to do,” or “He doesn’t listen to me, either.”
3. It generates another task that takes away from the real purpose of the classroom: learning.
4. It belies the question: “Why do we have assistant principals of discipline?”. If they’re only task is to process referalls (that are currently completed and accessed on-line), then why aren’t the “punishments” (Is in-school or out-of-school suspension really a punishment for a student who sees little value in the classroom experience or already doesn’t want to be at school?) processed by a computer program.
5. Most important, it denies young adults who genuinely need to learn the value of respecting others and property, the life skill of remaining quite and listening, and the job skill of performing tsks that may be difficult or uninteresting.

How is that DCSD promotes “differentiated instruction” in the classroom, yet it ignores “differentiated instruction” in behavior? Why is it that with all these “specialists,” “directors,” and “managers,” no one is able to come up with programs that would actually benefit all students-the ones needing behavioral intervention (not teacher phone calls) and the ones who already know how to behave in an academic classroom?

Mikey D

April 28th, 2012
10:56 am

While I believe that either of my boys would make outstanding teachers, I would discourage that choice as strongly as I could because I love them and want them to be happy in their adult lives. Until the profession sees a substantial change in the organizational structure currently implemented, I don’t see how things are going to get better. While the number of eggheads at the DOE continues to skyrocket (eggheads who are years removed from practical classroom experience) and the legislature continues gleefully cutting the education budget and willfully breaking the QBE law, teachers (you know, those of us who actually DO the work of educating kids) see our class sizes increase by 35-40% while watching our paychecks decrease; all the while reading about how lazy and worthless we are and watching the president and his joke of an education secretary celebrate when entire school staffs are fired. Yeah, great time to be a teacher!

Teachers Rule!

April 28th, 2012
11:53 am

The teacher should be able to get up at any time she wants to. If she is late to school, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is if the students are on time. The teacher getting to school on time is just another bureaucratic overhead mess designed by bureaucratic administrative know–nothings who have never taught in a real school and know nothing about education. Only teachers know about education. They have education degress and those degreess are only earned by the smartest people in the world. Everyone knows that.

Teachers Rule!

April 28th, 2012
11:57 am

No one should should encourage anyone to be a teacher. Encouraging someone to be a teacher in this day and age is just another bureaucratic bungling by teh know-nothings in the Board of Education who have never taught in the classroom and know nothing about education. On teachers know about education because they have education degrees, which are the hardest degrees in the whole world to get. Teachers are the smartest people in the world. Everyone knows that. another teacher correctly discouraged him from being a teacher because everyone knows Albert Einstein wasn’t smart enough to be a teacher. Only superior human beings can be teachers and only other teachers could possiby know whos is qualified to teach.
Teachers Rule!

Teachers Rule!

April 28th, 2012
12:12 pm

We need thousands more websites like this for teachers to use to tell everyone else all the problems that go on in the classroom. We need a law that cuts down classroom teaching time to give teachers more time to blog about how hard it is to be a teacher. We also need a law that requires all other professions to read all the blogs so that everyone is aware that teaching is the most difficult job in the entire world. We should never allow families who fathers and sons and brothers and daughters are in the Middle East stepping on IEDs to ever complain about the 120 degree heat and getting shot at because everyone knows the hardest job in the entire world is to be a teacher, especially in Georgia.

Cartmanspeedzone

April 28th, 2012
1:04 pm

I support much of what this teacher writes,I only question the burden of downloading/showing a YouTube video. 1. Why has YouTube become such an important part of instruction (and believe me, it has)? 2. Did the teacher have the necessary rights to show this video to a classroom audience, or, as I suspect, have most classrooms discarded the idea of copywrited material? Personally, I want my kids book-educated by a trained person of the subject matter, not entertainment-industry-influenced-YouTube-babysitter educated.

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

April 28th, 2012
1:11 pm

@Cartmanspeedzone “2. Did the teacher have the necessary rights to show this video to a classroom audience, or, as I suspect, have most classrooms discarded the idea of copywrited (sp) material? ”

Teacher can make use of copyrighted material for instruction under the “Fair Use” provisions of copyright laws.

Public HS Teacher

April 28th, 2012
1:17 pm

Please understand: this is one day in the life of a teacher from one side of the job, only!

Teachers also must deal with idiotic “supervisors” to include department chairs, assistant principals, counselors, etc. These “superviors” are most often not selected because they are competent but rather because they are connected (they are best friends with the principal or whomever). Those people tend to make the job of a teacher MANY times worse. These idiots are in it for the power and that is all.

I’ve had a department chair ‘write up’ an excellent teacher (her kids always scored well on all tests) simply because that teacher did not post the GPS of the day on the board.

Are you kidding me?

Prof

April 28th, 2012
1:51 pm

@ Teachers Rule! Pretty good example of what teachers routinely face either from the students and/or from the parents of such students…pretty lame sarcasm… pretty ungrammatical, too.

Not surprised

April 28th, 2012
2:29 pm

They couldn’t print enough money in Washington for me to teach at a public/government school.

Beverly Fraud

April 28th, 2012
4:14 pm

Re: A solution to her lunch dilemma…eat food from the cafeteria at school!

Yes and we all know just how enhancing cafeteria food is to the palate…

Jane VV.

April 28th, 2012
5:48 pm

Will Pres. Obama ever find it opportune to confront the poor attitude toward education so prevalent among black students?

Will white liberals ever call on him to?

Tony

April 28th, 2012
9:24 pm

As the current political theme decries the awful teachers, they are simply trying to pass the buck for their own failures. The difficult challenges that face many schools have not resulted from poor teaching, but from poor political leadership. Leadership that treats some of our neighborhoods as castaways. This will be further perpetuated when the state of Georgia is allowed to approve charter schools willy-nilly.

We have many teachers who bring life to their classes daily and do their best to work miracles in the lives of their students. These teachers do not need better evaluation instruments or high-stakes tests to grade them or their students.

Pity the politicians only want more of the same. They are the ones pushing the status quo. They are the ones sucking resources away from the schools that desperately need them. They are the ones trying to pin the blame on the teachers when they should be looking in the mirror.

God Bless the Teacher!

April 28th, 2012
9:32 pm

@STAR Teacher…you’re preaching to the choir. I have twenty years in, including 8 as an administrator before I chose to return to the classroom. Yes, I did work at school today (Saturday) from 7:00AM-3:30PM (and frequently on Saturdays). Yes, I usually work at school from 5:45AM until about 5:00PM every day trying to get all of my work done so I don’t have to take it home with me, although I will be grading papers tomorrow (Sunday) for most of the day. My month of June will be spent in professional development opportunities to prepare for the CCGPS that starts rolling in next fall. Yes, I read the entire post. And no, I don’t see anything wrong with cafeteria food. Considering the cost and the budget with which the cafeteria staff has to work, it’s not that bad.

Ron F.

April 28th, 2012
10:12 pm

“Pity the politicians only want more of the same. They are the ones pushing the status quo.”

Tony: you’re absolutely right! The only way to tear down the system is to do just that, and get people wouldn up and angry. They’ll vote for anything at that point just to get something different, without ever thinking about how it will work.

northatlantateacher

April 29th, 2012
10:42 am

I agree that this post sounds a little whiny. Teaching is a very difficult job, but so are a lot of others and no one wants to hear our “sob stories”. Clearly, it isn’t working to continue to share them. Perhaps a different approach is needed – or no approach at all.
I I like what I do, and have no intention of leaving, but I also accept that there is a lot of our job that is just plain frustrating. Lack of adequate pay tops the list…but I bet many other professionals can say the same. It’s the complete lack of respect that gets me.

Northern School Parents

April 29th, 2012
3:48 pm

North Atlanta Teacher. I liked your post. I agree with you that “this post sounds a little whiny” and I understand your feelings when you say that ” it’s the lack of respect that gets me.”
The thing is, I think one causes the other. It is very difficult to respect someone who is whiny.

Sam

April 29th, 2012
4:55 pm

I’ve gotten called lots of names this year. I know I’m not supposed to let it hurt me, but I’m not a robot. If your kid calls me a b!tch, it hurts. Period. Especially when the student has broken a rule(s, usually) and you are disciplining them. A modicum of respect, parents. If you would just teach them at home, I wouldn’t hate your kid all year for being a d-bag.

northatlantateacher

April 29th, 2012
5:01 pm

@Northern School Parents: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Hard to say.

northatlantateacher

April 29th, 2012
5:05 pm

@Sam: When a truly disrespectful student calls me a bitch, I consider the source. Also, when a 15 year old finds this acceptable behavior, the verbal assult has absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with them and the environment that fosters that ridiculous behavior. Why give them the satisfaction of taking it personally?

Of course we aren’t robots, but the more we talk about our feelings getting hurt the less respect we will receive. Not right or fair but certainly the reality.

northatlantateacher

April 29th, 2012
5:14 pm

I guess I got moderated because I used b!tch without the exclamation point.
@Sam: I had another post to you that may or may not appear later. Basically, it’s our job to be professionals when students are not acting appropriately. We signed on to work with children, children who come from homes that foster behaviors we cannot possibly imagine or condone. If a student feels it necessary to call me a b!tch, I consider the source. An angry, disrespectful (of me, any authority, and likely themselves, which is quite a burden for a kid) and very unhappy child…doesn’t make it ok and it deserves to be addressed and handled, for sure. However, we haven’t gotten anywhere attacking parents (and I use that term loosely for many) and we won’t get anywhere doing so. In fact, it’s only going to inflame the current problems further. So will calling a kid a d-bag on an education blog. Maybe they are, but it’s not helping matters to call them out. Even anonymously. It’s our job to be professional even when we don’t want to. That means not taking things personally. I often think of EMT’s responding to 911 calls. They have to help the patient, even when the person is combative and out of control. It’s the job they signed on to do, regardless of the disrespect they receive – and it’s a lot.
Our job is one of the most rewarding, but it’s also one of the most devestating and draining. It’s the nature of working with and caring for other human beings.

Prof

April 29th, 2012
5:35 pm

I’ve been thinking about why it is that so many non-teachers on this blog state that teacher-bloggers are “whiny” for relating difficulties they have while teaching (classroom discipline without any back-up from the administration, student disrespect and even attempted battery of the teacher, indifference from parents, and so on). North School Parents, your 3:48 pm post is only one of many here. “Whine” is used so often.

“Whine” means “to complain in a childish, annoying way,” akin to the child who nags a parent by pulling on the sleeve for attention. I don’t think that is really accurate here. It’s more that the teachers are commiserating with one another about conditions not in their power to change. It can be consoling to know that you’re not alone. Non-teachers, you’re simply being allowed to eavesdrop.

When northatlantateacher writes: “It’s the complete lack of respect that gets me,” that is not whining. That’s asking for one’s humanity to be acknowledged.

northatlantateacher

April 29th, 2012
5:47 pm

@Prof: I agree with everything you say. However, to publicly commiserate with other teachers is like leaving the faculty workroom door open. Everyone in any job vents. They just don’t do it online, and if they do, don’t act surprised when everyone doesn’t automatically support it.

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

April 29th, 2012
6:26 pm

Maybe if teachers weren’t attacked so often, they wouldn’t feel the need to defend themselves by “whining.” If someone tells me I am nothing more than a lazy, greedy, babysitter, I am going to feel compelled to set them straight. After all, keeping my mouth shut, simply enduring, doing my job and refraining from complaining for all these years has gotten me bumpkis – in fact, the lack of respect has gotten even worse.

Thanks to the attack on anything to do with “unions” (which seems to translate to all teachers, unionized or not), the media’s focus on any sensational case involving a teacher they can latch onto, the desire to scapegoat teachers for all problems facing education rather than addressing the much more complex underlying societal problems, the influx of big money and big money influence into education, and the growing lack of respect for education, teachers have become an easy target for the public’s frustration and fears. I believe there is a deliberate and planned attack on public education going on in this country. The question is, who stands to benefit? I will continue do my job to the best of my ability, but no longer will I sit back and let others spread lies and disinformation without speaking up. Call it whining if you will, but I am not going down without a fight! I care too much about what is best for my students and my profession.

Prof

April 29th, 2012
7:57 pm

@ northatlantateacher. But this blog is termed “About Get Schooled. Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation”! So online complaining is encouraged. And to tell you the truth, I think “learning about education” should involve the non-teacher learning about how it’s different now from 15 years ago or whenever the reader last went to school.

For I do believe that the problems K-12 teachers have encountered since 2001 when the NCLB Act went into effect, and 2004 when IDEA was passed by Congress, are just drastically different from those before. And the general public really needs to know that. This is not venting…. more like combat training before going overseas.

northatlantateacher

April 29th, 2012
8:03 pm

@Prof: I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t read the descriptor of this blog and think that online complaining is encouraged. I don’t expect that anyone is ever going to understand the complexities of education today through teachers complaining on a blog. Instead, they will look at that complaining as validation for all of their incorrect assumptions about public education.

I see your point and completely agree that things are very different than they were 15 years ago. The general public doesn’t care about that. They want things done the way they’ve always been and they don’t want to hear any excuses…no matter how valid and important they may be. How to change that? I have no idea. I had high hopes that a new administration would breathe new life in to public education, but things will only be worse with Common Core/Race to the Top.

Prof

April 29th, 2012
8:22 pm

@ northatlantateacher. Well, to quote old Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, who in turn took the idea from Sun Tzu of the 5th Century BC– “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Before I started reading “Get Schooled” a year ago, I had no idea of how public K-12 education has changed since my child went to school in the 1980s…..

Northern School Parents

April 29th, 2012
9:04 pm

Prof, you said ” But this blog is termed “About Get Schooled. Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation”! So online complaining is encouraged. ”
I don’t equate “discuss” and “learn” with “complain.”
Complaining is not discussing and learning. It’s just annoying and off-putting. The assumption that others are “allowed to eavesdrop,” is also far-fetched. Teachers are only part of the school. Parents and students are a big part of the school, students being the primary focus. So to say that “others” are allowed to eavesdrop is saying that Get Schooled is for teachers only and others have no right to be here. They are only “allowed.”
I don’t think that’s the case at all.
I sincerely wish the tone of the Get Schooled blog was about sharing ideas instead of trading teacher war stories.

Prof

April 29th, 2012
9:29 pm

@ Northern School Parents.

As I know only too well since my field is full of scholars very fond of theories, unfortunately “ideas” are theoretical and abstract, but it’s putting them into practice that’s the untidy part.

I can only speak for myself when I say that the “teacher war stories” on this blog have taught me quite a bit about the students who do finally wind up in my classes; and if I were the parent of a student still in public K-12, I would be very glad to hear the other point of view from my child’s….as well as what the other students are like that shape my child’s classroom experience.

And if I were fortunate enough to live in a “good” school district, then I would want to learn about the others that aren’t.