Making “my child the teacher” as impressive as “my child the doctor”

When it comes to bragging rights, most parents would still prefer to announce, “My child the lawyer,” rather than, “My child the teacher.”

Would such attitudes change if the U.S. teaching corps became more selective?

The American Federation of Teachers is endorsing an entrance exam for new teachers similar to the bar exam that novice lawyers must pass and the medical boards that newly minted doctors must pass.

“It’s time to do away with a common rite of passage into the teaching profession — whereby newly minted teachers are tossed the keys to their classrooms, expected to figure things out, and left to see if they and their students sink or swim. This is unfair to both students and their teachers, who care so much but who want and need to feel competent and confident to teach from their first day on the job,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools. When the topic even arises in the Legislature, the conversation is usually how to run off bad teachers rather than how to attract good ones.

Lawmakers pay little attention to the fact that the world’s highest-achieving education systems, including Finland and Singapore, improved their schools through concerted campaigns to entice the brightest high school graduates to teaching. And they invested in their training.

“The United States has for many years prized cheap teachers over good teachers,” wrote Marc Tucker, CEO of the National Center on Education and the Economy, in his Education Week blog. “Whenever there is a shortage of teachers, we respond by lowering our already intolerably low standards. We are constantly assigning teachers trained in one subject to classes in a subject about which they know little or nothing. We not only invest very little in teacher training, but we have for a very long time expected our schools of education to produce budget surpluses for use in other parts of the university that we evidently care more about.”

In its new report, “Raising the Bar: Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession,” the AFT calls for a “universal and rigorous bar that gauges mastery of subject-matter knowledge.”

“Teaching has always had a low bar and a wide gate,” said University of Pennsylvania researcher Richard Ingersoll, who studies teacher turnover, teacher shortages and the status of teaching as a profession.

“So, making this a less-easy line of work is all for the good. But it’s really only half the story,” he said in a telephone interview. “You also have to raise the reward.”

Ingersoll sees value in enhancing the stature of teaching because, he said, “The perception remains that anyone can teach, even dummies, which doesn’t make it an attractive choice for bright undergraduates.”

A sheen of selectivity will appeal to top college students, he said. “But those bright students are going to want to know that the rewards are there.”

Historically, raising the bar to enter teaching reduces the supply of teachers, especially males, said Ingersoll. “Everyone can do the calculus. If you make it harder, students are going to say, ‘I can go to law school and get a much higher salary than I can in teaching.”’

When Finland sought to improve the under-performance of its schools in the 1970s and 1980s, it not only upgraded standards and admissions for teacher candidates, it also raised salaries. It’s now more difficult to get into a teaching program than law or medicine.

After gaining its independence, Singapore resolved to produce the best-educated students in the world and began by elevating teaching into a highly paid, highly prestigious profession. Only top academic achievers are eligible for teacher education programs, and they earn salaries as they train, said Ingersoll.

Raising the salary scale in education posed less of a challenge in Finland and Singapore, where education is centralized, than it would in the United States, where nearly 15,000 school districts operate as independent fiefdoms and where local property taxes are a common — albeit inequitable — funding mechanism.

“Singapore could just decide that the whole nation was going to do it. Here, it is hard to have such systemic reform,” said Ingersoll. “You would have to go through one district at a time to raise the reward”

“Given the reward we offer now,” he said, “we actually get a higher quality teacher than we deserve.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

137 comments Add your comment

crankee-yankee

December 22nd, 2012
6:50 am

Economics 101. On average,you get what you pay for. It would have to be up to the individual states to enact this type of reform because of the vast number of local districts nationally. But that would require a political focus and will to actually do it. I would expect northeastern & far western states to be in the forefront were it to catch on because they, as a whole, have demonstrated over the decades that they place high value in education along with a willingness to pay for it. There is a problem in that for the southeast however. There is a mindset here that resists northern state influence in political decision-making, be it transportation or education to name but two. New York City moves ten times the number of commuters as Atlanta metro every day, TEN TIMES. Do they have traffic problems? Yes, but no more so that what we have with a tenth of the population. But do we learn from how they have implemented their resources? No. That same can be said for education. Rightly or wrongly, SAT scores are compared every year and the northeast kicks the collective butts of the southeast. Do we look to see how we could improve based on how education is approached there? No, we instead pride ourselves on “efficient” per-pupil costs in comparison. Education is not manufacturing, students are not widgets and we cannot return “defective” parts to the source. But I digress. If individual states need be responsible for educational reform, don’t look for Georgia to be in the forefront. All indications are that we will lag behind the leaders because of a fear to embrace something not “southern.”

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
7:17 am

Yes I imagine saying “my child the teacher” is kind of hard to say with pride considering the new DSM-IV diagnosis of “singularly insane, with no hope of redemption” consists of a single criteria, that being a “college age youth expressing a desire to become a public school teacher.”

The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools. When the topic even arises in the Legislature, the conversation is usually how to run off bad teachers rather than how to attract good ones.

Pride and Joy

December 22nd, 2012
7:23 am

We already have a test that is supposed to certify that teachers are properly trained. Teachers on this blog claim it is very easy and yet future and current teachers still pay someone else to take the test, which, of course, is illegal.
Teachers make good salaries and have good benefits and the best life/work balance of any profession in the world.
Raising salaries for current teachers would only reward many bad teachers currently in the system.

What we need are FOUR things:

VERY STRICT STANDARDS for earning a teaching degree from a college and an accompanying test that is very difficult to pass that certifies the teacher is qualified.

OUTSTANDING TEACHER EVALUATION TOOLS which include feedback from parents and test scores from children. This needs to be accompanied by a process that is easy to use to fire teachers for poor performance.

THIRD PARTY STUDENT TESTING: Bring back a nation-wide student skills test and administer it through a disinterested, honest, third party entity with all school employees out of the building and out of the way during test preparation and test taking so there is no cheating.

REWARDS for great teachers. AFTER a teacher passes the test and has proven he or she can teach and satisfy stakeholders, then pile on the bonuses. For a real, honest to goodness outstanding teacher — give him or her an extra 20K a year.

COLORBLIND admission policies with NO affirmative action. Open the floodgates to ALL races and genders. Allow the best and the brightest to flourish and teach. If that means that the best and the brightest are all Asian men who bubble to the top of the candidates, so be it. I don’t give a rats’ tinker’s darn what race and what gender my childrens’ teachers are — I just want the man or woman standing in front of my child to be educated, can speak and model correct behavior and knows how to teach kids in several ways so that ALL can learn.

RECRUIT ONLY THE BEST.
TEST to ENSURE THE BEST ARE BEST.
MAKE THE BEST ACCOUNTALBE FOR OUTCOMES.
ENSURE THE OUTCOMES ARE HONEST.
Then…
REWARD! REWARD! REWARD! REWARD!

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
7:24 am

Quote:

The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools. When the topic even arises in the Legislature, the conversation is usually how to run off bad teachers rather than how to attract good ones.

Notice the various Republican legislatures who post here from time to time all have one thing in common? That the party of “law and order” and “personal responsibility” has been absolutely spineless when it comes to supporting classroom teachers in matters of discipline.

Can they explain why they haven’t come up with a single discipline initiative that has had a direct, tangible effect on giving teachers the authority to hold students accountable for either behavior or academics?

Can they explain why, if based on their lack of support for discipline in the schools, they would be (in their own supporters words) the epitome of a “do gooder, bed wetting liberal”?

South Georgia Retired Educator

December 22nd, 2012
7:31 am

Yes, a real change is long overdue, but we can’t expect anything worthwhile to happen until our political leaders see the need and dedicate money and effort to make students and teachers a budget priority. And if such a dramatic change came to Georgia, it would take time and pain to make it work. In the long run, of course, this would lift students and teachers to an unprecedented level of achievement, and Georgia could compete with the world easily in every category. This idea would work, but not with the leaders we now have or the attitude of a skeptical public which now pervades our state. Meanwhile, the years roll on, everyone wrings their hands about the state of public education, and teachers are made the scapegoats. It’s sad.

William Casey

December 22nd, 2012
7:44 am

Crankee-Yankee nailed it: “All indications are that we will lag behind the leaders because of a fear to embrace something not “southern.”

As long as a team from the SEC wins the National Championship in football, all will be well in Georgia citizens’ minds regarding education. (I coached high school football, basketball and baseball BTW.) “Book learning” is an alien concept, not to be trusted.

Georgia has a plantation mentality concerning its labor in general, especially true about teachers. I can’t imagine Georgia school districts doing anything remotely important enough to attract many first rate brains. Money is important but, for smart people, respect is even more important. Can’t see Georgia doing much. “Go Dawgs!”

bootney farnsworth

December 22nd, 2012
7:54 am

considering the state of the profession, I would do everything possible to steer my kids away from making the same mistake I did. public service is a black hole with less respect from society than ladies of the evening.

redweather

December 22nd, 2012
8:08 am

I agree with just about everything in this article. Trouble is, it’s extremely short on practicality.

bootney farnsworth

December 22nd, 2012
8:10 am

@ crankee

while I see your point, I still disagree. in my years in the higher ed system we have adopted every new trend coming from the north and the west, and it still gets us nowhere.

reason? none of these trends actually focus on effective teaching.

I am one of those who strongly believes southern education requires a southern solution. the culture here is very different than north or west, and frankly we are gonna fight like hell against anything we percieve as being shoved down our throats – especially from the north.

we have a different racial dynamic here
we are much poorer than other parts of the nation
we are the one group of US society its still considered OK to ridicule
we strongly distrust central authority

agree or disagree, it is what it is. telling us how it was done in Cleveland isn’t gonna get anything done. frankly, Cleveland ain’t all that great itself. despite what many think, we’re not dumb, we’re southern. talking at us gets a bless your heart (ie, a polite go suck a frog) and we go about our business.

if our yankee cousins ever tried talking TO us…..but IMO the Mayans have a better chance of being right before that will happen.

Lee

December 22nd, 2012
8:49 am

“Making “my child the teacher” as impressive as “my child the doctor””

So, you want a teacher to go through four years of college in an extremely difficult curriculum, such as microbiology, get accepted into a highly selective program which has a rejection rate of 90%+, go through an additional four years in a doctoral degree program, 3-7 years in a residency program, and passage of an exam board.

And then, they will go out and teach kids 1+1=2?

ROFLMAO. Maureen, you’re too much….
—————————————-

Don’t know how teachers are thought of in metro areas, but in rural Ga, teaching is one of the few professional level jobs that pay a decent wage.

Consider this:
XYZ Corporation announced they were going to expand into Podunk County, GA. They were going to bring about $250,000,000 in capital expenditures and employ about 1300 people with an annual payroll of over $42,000,000. Of those 1300 positions, approximately 475 were going to be professional level positions with an average annual salary in excess of $50,000 per year.

That announcement would

Lee

December 22nd, 2012
8:52 am

Hit submit too soon….

Anyway, that announcement would bring the governor and a host of other politicians out of the woodwork in celebration. Hell, we’d probably have a parade for XYZ Corp.

But that’s what the local school system means for most rural counties. They are typically the largest employer in the county and have the most high paying jobs.

Most parents in rural GA would love to have their children become a teacher.

crankee-yankee

December 22nd, 2012
9:02 am

bootney farnsworth
December 22nd, 2012
8:10 am

we have a different racial dynamic here – not really that much different from Patterson or Newark, NJ, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Philly…

we are much poorer than other parts of the nation – so how do you suppose to fix that? Maybe investing in education?

we are the one group of US society its still considered OK to ridicule – as are Jews, Polaks, the Irish, Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, etc. someone is always ridiculing someone else, southerners delight in ridiculing northerners.

we strongly distrust central authority – who doesn’t? What would you call the GA Legislature?

The war between the states ended almost 150 years ago, it is time to move on.

“we have adopted every new trend coming from the north and the west, and it still gets us nowhere…
I am one of those who strongly believes southern education requires a southern solution.”

Therein lies the problem, IMHO, a working system is modified before implementation to reflect a “southern solution” and then is discarded because the modified construct does not reap similar results.

A case in point would be Carl Glickman’s Program for School Improvement out of UGA back in the ’90’s. Initially embraced by many systems in GA & producing tangible, positive results, it fell out of favor when a cadre of administrators in a leading county disagreed with his personal teaching methodology and so bad-mouthed a de-centralized way of implementing change. We are the poorer for that.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

December 22nd, 2012
9:10 am

I can hear all the arguments now:

“If you make it more difficult to enter the profession, you will exclude lots of well-intentioned people who would make otherwise great teachers.”

“More testing doesn’t prove more knowledge (ironic isn’t that)”

“All that fancy education and testing isn’t necessary just to be a teacher”

“The problem is the students/parents/administrators, not the teachers. That’s who you need to fix not us”

How do I know? Because I’m a nurse and we can’t even establish a minimum point of entry to the profession because other nurses fight it tooth and nail. We hate education and standards, especially here in the South. So we will continue to get lousy teachers and we will continue to get lousy nurses because we don’t WANT the best and brightest in these profession; we LIKE our second-class citizen status. Without it, we can’t continue to complain about being victims.

Pride and Joy

December 22nd, 2012
9:16 am

Bootney, you are one bitter Betty. You are always angry and resentful. It scares the heck out of me that someone as angry and resentful as you owns and uses a gun.
You are the one we are afraid of.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:18 am

The replies to this stimulating post are going to be all over the place. I think I will start calling Lee, “Lee Likes Podunk.” Lee thinks the whole world is Podunk, Georgia. Lee’s vision of education is producing rats to run on a wheel as site workers for corporation XYZ that comes to town. I can if they can push a button on a machine, keep their fingers out of conveyor belt, and load trucks, than we’re “golden” so to speak. Maybe LLP (Lee Likes Podunk) and codify a required three word vocabulary for the students of Podunk, “Push (button), Stop, Push (pallet truck).” Oh wait, that’s a two word vocabulary with one variance. Well, that’s more vocabulary than the current New World Order approach requires.

other news:
1. to change gate is wide to gate is narrow, test would be? GRE type test? vocabulary, math, and logic?
2. the real crime going on is the pablum taught in education training programs and lack of specialization in subject area. Go get trained in teaching college how to teach HS biology or physics, you will not be studying any of this, but lot of trendy squishy “methods” and then there is the bucket-load of disembodied statistics study used as filler.
3. Even if you had a high-grade teacher corp, educated people do not like being harassed in the workplace. This “Broad Academy churn & burn” and Arne Duncan “Run As Fast As You Can to My Mandate” as outside management propaganda is a disincentive to professionalism.

Therefore, it is a three part system?
1. quality of teacher corp
2. integrity of teacher training schools (which are also requirement and gatekeeper)
3. quality of government management.

At the moment, this overall topic stimulates my interest in “What is good public service management?” Why can you run teachers cuckoo with made-up initiatives, but not do the same to people who run the water department or build the highways? Why are teachers, schools, and principals targets for brainwashing and some outside super-jerk dictating contrived themes on these professional level workers? That’s my message to the propagandists and meddlers who use authority to intrude on the professional workplace – get out of my work place now! Stop the “round up” meeting so you can spray everybody with poison. Why is it in the USA that the minute anything is organised, it is immediately strategized and exploited by outside “big power” who want to extract wealth and make mandates?

Ga Tech Rules

December 22nd, 2012
9:22 am

Great idea, but “grandfathering in” the existing teachers would be counter productive, they will demand the big pay hikes the new, more qualified teachers are granted. A much better idea is to make the existing teachers compete for their jobs with the new grads, but retain separate pay scales for the “grandfathered” group and the new higher quality teachers.

mother of 2

December 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

There is hope down here in the south! Several of my friends who have very bright children (think top 25% in their graduating class) have children thinking about education as a major in college. I’ve noticed that these students are all girls, but bright girls who really want to teach for a living. Their parents support the decision to teach, but insist that these students attend public colleges because of the return on investment.

I have to agree with several of the above comments about teaching in the northeast vs teaching in the south. Teachers in New England, NY and NJ make significantly more money than teachers in the south.

Ga Tech Rules

December 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

If we just do away with the requirement that teachers have a degree in education in order to be certified as a teacher, changing the requirement to at least a BA in any subject, we will greatly improve teacher quality. Why? Because job opportunities for highly educated people are shrinking, as proof I offer this: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-21/american-dream-fades-for-generation-y-professionals.html

English Teacher

December 22nd, 2012
9:31 am

During residency, doctors must sink or swim. In fact, it is significantly more rigorous than anything a teacher would ever need to do. Similar for young attorneys – I worked for a large corporate law firm and saw first hand the unbelieveable hours associates were expected to keep. Many of them slept at work for days; working 18 hours on a regular basis. Both professions certainly expect newbies to pay dues and make it on their own strengths. If they can’t make it, then they aren’t cut out for the profession.
Teaching, while important (who is teaching those doctors and lawyers?) and noble, is nowhere near as “life or death” as medicine or even law. I don’t see this profession ever being on par with either, and it really shouldn’t be – it just isn’t as rigorous or as stressful a job.
As far as mentoring new teachers – perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing for new teachers to be thrown in and expected to swim. I learned how to be self sufficient, budget my time, and damn well had to figure out a way to reach my students. And I did, without a lot of help. It made me a stronger teacher in the long run.
Teacher education programs need to be more selective, yes, and there needs to be ways for those who wish to stay in the classroom to take on leadership positions and extra responsibilites to make additional money.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:35 am

PS I’d have a differing sentiment if I hadn’t just spoken to a local professional who told me their 3rd grader kid’s math book is changed and it is utterly confusing and the teacher is candidly complaining to about being force-directed to use a math teaching technique that is not effective. Arne and company are skeezers-to-the-max when it comes to curriculum. And that’s the problem.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:44 am

English Teacher your post amuses. What makes you think this sadistic work requirement for young US doctors / lawyers is effective? The result is then that they create an environment where they they think they are a super-caste. In my experience, outside of the US, doctors are a lot more accessible, relaxed, and a lot closer to regular people in both heart and soul, and providing services. And what about the part of the USA has 20x as many doctors as anywhere else? The state of Georgia probably has more lawyers in it than the country of Japan. Expecting professionals to be overworked masochists sleeping at work does not equal a wholesome overall outcome. And many you work in decent circumstances, plenty of teachers are keeping long hours and getting run ragged, and do not have salaries where they can pay someone else to clean their home, fix their car, fix their house, and take care of their yard. One teacher friend I have owns a house, the place is slowing turning derelict as he does not have the time or resources to keep it up.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
9:45 am

typo correction: And what about the part that the USA has 20x as many lawyers as anywhere else?

banderson

December 22nd, 2012
9:54 am

You’d need to set the standards for becoming a teacher much higher than they are now. An IQ of at least one standard deviation above normal, which is only about 116, should be the minimum requirement for teaching. f course, only about 16% of the population has an IQ of 116 or higher and it is still lower than the average doctor,engineer or lawyer, but, if the teaching profession wants to be respected as rigorous and demanding, then it needs to weed out those people who went to college looking for an easy major.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:03 am

Long ago it has been said to do away with “education” degrees as meeting requirement for a BA/ BS 4-year degree. I could see an exception with “elementary education” degree. Point is, I think looking at what the teaching colleges are doing is fertile territory. In the US, there are like some teaching colleges that are excellent, and many are an expensive exercise in attending info-mercials. That’s what I think of my MAT (Masters Arts in Teaching) degree. I’m almost embarrassed of it. And there’s plenty of “players” in these teaching colleges, politically placed deans, ex-teachers pushing trendy materials, well, much of it is vacant garbage is what it is. Oh and those gawd-awful corporate single textbooks they build a class around. Seen “scholarship” is those textbooks, unattributed, anonymous corporate authorship, embedded branding in the articles.

indigo

December 22nd, 2012
10:06 am

“The Unites States has for many years prized cheap teachers over good teachers”

And, you may be sure, those in power will fight as hard as possible to continue hiring the cheap teachers.

Why, you ask?

Because money talks and BS walks.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:09 am

That’s the problem with the “concerned public” commenting on quality of teachers. The “concerned public” does not know what is going on in the teacher training programs.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:11 am

USA: twice as many lawyers and half as many doctors.

Really?

December 22nd, 2012
10:14 am

Pride and Joy, why would you include parent comments in evaluation? If you include student performance data, and the data is good, why do we care how the parents felt about it? If the student performance data is bad, again, why do we care how the parents felt about it?

One of the mistakes that most of the reformers are making is assuming that parents know best or are able to act consistently in the present in ways compatible with the long term best interest of the kids or society. The problem is that other measures indicate that they don’t or can’t. On one extreme we’ve got the parents behind the worsening child obesity epidemic who apparently can’t follow through consistently in attending to vital health interest of their kids and at the other we’ve got the over-involved, co-dependent helicopter parents who seem unable to allow their children to experience the kinds of low-grade short term failures or disappointment necessary to become resilient and independent workers.

While I firmly believe that parents have the right to raise their kids anyway they want to short of abuse, I don’t think that society should have to subsidize their bad decisions by giving them input in teacher evaluation. Decide what we want from teachers, figure out how to measure it, and do it the same way for everyone. Don’t set up a system that requires teachers to pander to a particular set of students or parents for the sake of their evaluation.

RCB

December 22nd, 2012
10:15 am

Gosh, I’m glad my doctor doesn’t work only the educational calendar. I think he’d love 2 months off in the summer! He could do his personal and professional on-going training then, too.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:17 am

“Teachers make good salaries and have good benefits and the best life/work balance of any profession in the world.”

And that’s why so many are leaving? Because of the quality of the work/life balance?

And where is the talk of improving administrators when according to at least one study they have the lowest scores on the GRE?

Oh I forgot, it’s a lot easier to “fix the teacher” than it is solve the problems

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:21 am

Here is a pleasant video about a land that has universal healthcare and basically charges no tuition for university. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE_IUPInEuc

USA is a colony of debt-slavery. Debt-base education system, debt based distribution of medical. the debt-based higher-education can’t hold up. Already a trillion dollars of higher-ed debt existent from the prior 10-20 years? Already it’s at something like $30k per US citizen. I don’t think we get a perspective on this from the US media.

Inman Parker

December 22nd, 2012
10:22 am

Education majors have the lowest SAT scores of ANY college major. Why should we reward mediocrity?

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:29 am

Hey Inman, if you want to jump it a rank lower, look at marketing majors, the folks who graduate and then invent multiple pricing systems for retail stores, required “store cards” to buy at the advertised price, and then go sell your personal information, name and address for purposes of solicitation. Marketing majors – hail to thee.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:32 am

It would be helpful if we had a “document bank” or “data bank” for evidence to support the various assertions in commentary. I’ll add this as item #101 on my 100 things to do list.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:36 am

@Inman we don’t need so much to reward them, as empower. Keep the salaries the same, shift the balance of power from the chronically disruptive students to the teacher, abolish the education monolith that begot us the likes of Arne Duncan, Beverly “the Atlanta Miracle” Hall, Rod “the Houston Miracle” Paige, Crawford “RICO” Lewis and a whole host of other incompetents, and I think you’ll find the majority of educators are competent enough to do what admittedly, isn’t rocket science.

Improve the teaching conditions and you might actually attract a better class of teachers, which we should strive to do anyway. But what sane and informed soul right now would ever consider a career where you are held accountable for “managing success” but given zero authority to do so?

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
10:41 am

yes Beverly the current system is a cuckoo clock of cognitive dissonance. highly stressful for everyone involved.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:45 am

From Private Citizen:

3. Even if you had a high-grade teacher corp, educated people do not like being harassed in the workplace. This “Broad Academy churn & burn” and Arne Duncan “Run As Fast As You Can to My Mandate” as outside management propaganda is a disincentive to professionalism.

Exactly Do you think any college student with any measure of critical thinking skills, once they become educated on the likes of Duncan and Broad, is going to want to make a career of teaching?

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
10:56 am

“After gaining its independence, Singapore resolved to produce the best-educated students in the world and began by elevating teaching into a highly paid, highly prestigious profession. Only top academic achievers are eligible for teacher education programs, and they earn salaries as they train, said Ingersoll.”

You know Maureen, something tells me…a student in Singapore is not allowed to skip an assignment, tell the teacher “F-ck you, b-tch!” when the teacher inquires why the assignment wasn’t done, physically shove the teacher as they storm out of the class, only to have an administrator walk the student back five minutes later with zero consequences, but instead a pointed rejoinder to the teacher in regard to “classroom management” as wells as instructions to the teacher that the child should get 50% credit with a chance for make up the rest.

I highly doubt that happens in Singapore. I know Maureen used to believe (or tout the party line) that dynamic didn’t occur here, especially under the illustrious Beverly Hall, but now she knows better due to “Getting Schooled” by the readers.

Sometimes, oftentimes it really isn’t the teacher. As James Carville might say, “It’s the discipline, Stupid!”

One gets the feeling, along with improving their teaching staff, that Singapore is completely aware of the importance of discipline, unlike Broad and Duncan.

old teach

December 22nd, 2012
11:10 am

When I decided to become a teacher, it wasn’t because of the money. I did it because I wanted to help people. And I certainly wasn’t wealthy, either. (I’m definitely still not.) Also, I’ve never regretted going into teaching; I have enjoyed impacting the lives of my high-schoolers in a positive way. In summary, to stay in teaching and to make it a career, I think you must love the kids and love helping them. It also helps tremendously if you can explain it on “their level.” The money helps a lot, but it won’t keep you in the classroom if you hate it.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
11:19 am

In summary, to stay in teaching and to make it a career, I think you must work in an environment that does not harass workers.

SEE

December 22nd, 2012
11:20 am

I graduated with a 3.7 in English Literature at Georgia State. I was there on a merit scholarship that I received from my impressive high school career. I received a M.A.T from Mercer with a 4.0. It was a struggle to pass my internship (student teaching hours). I created and taught a three week unit plan for that was 60 pages long. It was a success, and I had the percentage rates of improvement to prove it. I had the rigors of teaching the subject down…it was in classroom management that I was weak. That is where teachers sink or swim. A person can be the brightest graduating student in the class, but if they can’t handle the discipline problems two or three students will throw at them, then they will not make it. And frankly, there is not enough “prestige” in the world that will make it worthwhile to be a teacher for any but altruistic motives. Can you imagine a surgeon trying to complete an operation while the nurses complained, “I know which artery to clamp, you don’t need to disrespect me. Why do I have to hold the muscles open when she gets to monitor the heartrate. Oh, so she gets an easier job. I should get extra pay. Why do I have to count the sponges again, I already counted them once. What, you think I’m an idiot, I don’t know how to count. I’m not f- stupid.”

Pink

December 22nd, 2012
11:26 am

I didn’t know anyone was proud to say their child was a lawyer. I would much rather say, “my child the teacher”. Here’s a riddle for you: What’s the difference between a dead lawyer in the middle of the road and a dead possum in the middle of the road? There are skid marks in front of the possum.

As far as doctors go, they save lives. You can’t compete with that. But most people are proud of their child the teacher. My sister-in-law is a teacher and her family is very proud of her. Only the most shallow, materialistic people would only be proud of their child if they make a lot of money. My daughter is an artist and is usually unemployed but I often say, “my daughter the artist”.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
11:31 am

“A person can be the brightest graduating student in the class, but if they can’t handle the discipline problems two or three students will throw at them, then they will not make it”

And why should they have to? Why should they have to “handle” students that administrators often can’t handle one on one much less with a full class to attend to?

As I’ve asked Maureen before (she refused to answer) if her job depended on getting 20 interns up to snuff to work at a newspaper and three continually disrespected the process and she had a choice of:

A) unlimited training in “classroom management” or

B) the removal of those students whose actions warrant it

what would she choose? I think we all know the answer and I suspect it’s why Maureen wouldn’t answer it, because it doesn’t go with the “fix the teacher” narrative (although I must admit she has become more receptive to a balanced point of view as she has learned from posters on this blog)

Again, we would never expect a doctor to put up with a nurse that does such. If a police officer is subjected to such, we fully support the officer in handcuffing the suspect and remaining them to custody. Yet why does that same 18 year old get to openly disrespect the teacher with relative impunity?

SBinF

December 22nd, 2012
11:32 am

I’m a teacher, and I’m fairly certain that my parents are proud to say so. My mom was a teacher, she retired after 30 years. I graduated from Georgia Tech. I’m hardly the ignorant boob that people seem to imply many teachers are. I will be getting out of the profession as soon as I can. Crap pay, no responsibility from the parents or students. And now some nuts want me to arm myself to protect their children?

No thanks.

And I love the folks who talk about what a cushy job it is. Really? Why the heck aren’t you in education then if it’s such a cakewalk?

SBinF

December 22nd, 2012
11:41 am

“If we just do away with the requirement that teachers have a degree in education in order to be certified as a teacher,”

Uhh, what? That isn’t a requirement. I work as a teacher and I don’t have a degree in education. Many teachers don’t have degrees in education. I have a degree in the subject I teach.

eddy

December 22nd, 2012
11:45 am

Can you say APS…..lots of advanced degrees but all are administrators and the advanced degrees are largely worthless except to get a higher salary for make-work activities and attending conferences at the school’s expense. The issues identified in APS remain the same for most of the inner city systems….passing, looking good, feeling good and maximizing the self-esteem of all students are the priorities…..reading writing, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, etc just don’t make the cut.
Just to show you that educating can be done in the inner city…algebra, no less, check out John Kitna, ex-pro football player. He is teaching algebra to kids who would normally be lost and out of school. Coaches football and teaches algebra but his pupils “toe the line” and the discover that they are learning something they would never have encountered in their lives.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
11:49 am

Not that I’m advocating such, but I wonder what would have a more telling effect on the chronically rude, disrespectful and disruptive students who hijack the learning process in a school; a dozen “highly qualified” Singapore instructors or a dozen Singapore canes?

Mitch

December 22nd, 2012
11:49 am

In my grandfathers hiarchy of family values, number one was the choosing of a proper mate. Number two was choosing a career or profession that suits you. . Number three was choosing a good farm.
Forsyth County has a pre-teacher program so that the aspiring teacher can get his/her feet wet with actual teaching in a lower grade. Some take this approach to see if teaching is really their thing. Then our teachers are supported by their Principals, Superintendant and School Board. Guess what? We have one of the best school systems in the Country and proud of it.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
12:01 pm

Hey Lee, I find it notable that you do not expect rural areas to produce their own dentists, doctors, and civil engineers. So everyone sits on their backside expecting Jesus to show up in the form of an outside corporation XYZ setting up shop or some yankee doctor to treat grandma for her heart arythmia? Sounds like rural Georgia is filled with a bunch of vacant lazy slobs. Add to that “player” school administration and there you have it. And some arrogant racist teachers who have little vision for their charges. And then add Arne with his righteous cognitive dissonance forced confusion and a couple nitwits at the top of the state to sign it all into law. But that’s okay because the one or two doctors in town enjoy feeling like Gods looking down their collective nose at the literally dumb peasants. I have a friend whose (deceased) father was one of these rural royalty Georgia doctors. To this day, he still thinks they’re royalty or something. Somebody called Georgia a bunch of be-knighted ^$%$% and they’re right.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
12:07 pm

eddy, Where Jon Kitna lives (Tacoma, Washington) the state just legalised marijuana. That means the police will be re-purposed and there is going to be a bunch of money from taxing / regulation and less people put in incarceration. Good move, Washington, and Kitna will see it in his building, materials, and compensation.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
12:12 pm

It sounds like what Kitna is doing is more than laudable considering his economic options. But one has to ask how much administrative support does one get (as far as discipline in regard to suspending players for example) when one is able to donate $150k to the school, along with the cachet of being “Jon Kitna”?

Not that he doesn’t deserve the backup; the point is that million of other teachers do as well, and unfortunately they aren’t getting it.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
12:15 pm

And the converse to that of course (especially in places like The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence only such backup comes not from merit, but from what fraternity/sorority a teacher happens to be in.

It’s a story that, for some reason, the AJC has never been willing to touch, (far as I know)

Pride and Joy

December 22nd, 2012
12:18 pm

Beverly Fruad challenges my statement that teachers are paid well, have good benefits and have a good work/life balance and Beverly Fraud claims it must not be true because so many teachers are leaving.
People leave ALL professions, it’s not just teaching.
There is no profession on earth where the worker gets time off of work in the numbers that taechers do. Teachers work 180 to 190 days a yaer and get paid 50K for wokring those days with abbreviated hours.
Most teachers are women and all the teachers I know personally went into teaching because of the hours. My cousins are both teachers. They both have biology degrees and went into teaching because they wanted plenty of time off of work to be with their families and they do…and they don’t complain.
They both work as educated, responsible physical educaiotn teachers and they are very happy with their career choice.
And here’s the thing, Beverly, no one forces anyone to be a teacher. Once you become a teacher you can always quit.
So if teaching is so bad, the question really becomes, then why are so many of you staying in the profession while continuing to blog about how bad it is?
The answer is because you cannot find another job with the pay, benefits and life/work balance that you have with teaching.
It’s an adult choice, Beverly.
If teaching is that bad, teachers should leave the profession.
If teachers love teaching but don’t like the circumstances, then picket and walk-out and protest that which you believe in…
BUT…stayng on Get Schooled, day after day, complaining and moaning and groaning about your job, well,
how do you think it makes your customers feel? How do you think it makes we parents feel?
We feel that you are selfish, whiney brats.
You teachers say you want respect (and some of you DO earn it!) but you cannot get by whiney, moaning and groaning on a public blog.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
12:19 pm

Children seek structure and discipline / consequences. Many Georgia schools blame the teachers for kids acting out. This means the teachers who have advantage are the ones who can play-act “mom” and use the culture specific “home” control signs upon the students. It is a behavioral subset and has nothing to do with transferring knowledge and has everything to do with play-acting the familiar and reinforcing and perpetuating stereotypes. When kids and culture run the classroom and not the teacher, it is retrogressive and low performance. If a parent wants to “complain,” they should have it out with their player-kid who needs to know the boundaries. If the parent is unable to do so, the school administration should stand up to it like a concrete barrier. Nitwit untrained children should not be allowed to ramp-it-up in the classroom. Seen many times children who do this and use up school professional’s time until they are finally told they are being removed from school and then the kid cries like a baby when they realise they are being removed from their theater of friends. The inefficient part of it is that currently it takes 5 adults and 200 pages of triplicate forms to get to this point of breaking the errant kid’s will.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
12:28 pm

Schools would be better if there was not a pay differential between teachers and managers. The 100k salaries are a magnet for persons motivated to network as a caste with the priority being the income of their caste. Culture of “executive compensation” creates a hierarchy based solely on income level within the same organization.

bookman parrot

December 22nd, 2012
12:30 pm

those that “test” the best on paper are not always the best teacher.

GrD

December 22nd, 2012
1:04 pm

It’s an easy job to teach children. It takes a special person. School systems simply fill a slot. I agree, half the teachers should not be teaching, but ADMINISTRATORS continues to renew contracts, instead of terminating teachers and support employees who are not performing. Incompetent support staff adds to schools’ problems. They change the dynamics of the staffing as the more support staff at a school site, the less classroom teachers. That’s how school systems organize for staffing school sites. More support, usually means, less classroom teachers, hence larger class sizes, leads to students “falling through the cracks.” Principals fall short in this aspect of education, by repeatedly renewing teachers who clearly should not be in the clasroom, Principals also fall short in that they also fail to terminate support staff who are mediocre, to say the least, always absent, and just simply do not do their job. This problem is prevalent in poorer and urban school settings, Title 1 Schools, etc. Doctors and lawyers are no comparison to teacher….period. Those professions are not confronted with the myriad of challenges a teachers faces daily. Additionally, Hollywood and the media sensationalize the roles of doctors and lawyers as they see nothing interesting or glamorous about teaching. Students today simpy have too many distractions, parent who pay them no attention, and most do not have the desire to learn or participate unless an electronic gadget is involved. Just a quick write this Saturday a. m.

janet

December 22nd, 2012
1:30 pm

Yes, I do think attitudes would change if there was a more selective process for recruiting teachers. But with the more selective process needs to be a higher salary to back it up.

I have to wonder though, if these new highly respected and highly sought after teachers would be willing to put up with the “thug” students and their “I don’t care” parents. We have to remember that even lawyers have a person who deals with these “lowest common denominator” types too. They are called public defenders.

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
1:54 pm

“The education debate in Georgia has skirted the question of improving teacher quality, focusing instead on offering escape routes from local public schools.”

Wrong. While true the primary focus has been on escape routes, there have been numerous attempts to “fix the teacher.”

What has been truly lacking is an honest discussion about teaching conditions. As MACE says “You can’t have good learning conditions until you have good teachingconditions.

Say what you will about MACE, but they were about a decade ahead of the curve (read: AJC) when it came to the snake oil of Beverly Hall. Will the AJC be yet another decade late to an honest discussion of teaching conditions?

And when they finally join the discussion, how many teachers like poster Fled, will have already fled, to the detriment of teaching in Georgia?

Michele

December 22nd, 2012
1:56 pm

Go ahead and give up now. There is absolutely no hope for school improvement in Georgia. The governor and all the legislative branch are clueless, and they have no respect for teachers nor education. In this ridiculous Republican state, the citizens are doomed by the lack of support of education by the ruling party. I actually don’t know what their priority is. I think it is singularly self indulgence. In my neighborhood, most of the parents send their students to private school, because the Gwinnett County school they are forced to attend is ridiculously inept. Yet, when election time comes along, the Republican majority continues over the past 16 years to reelect the useless Republican school board member who does nothing to make our local schools more effective. I can’t figure it out. I doubt anyone could.

Lee

December 22nd, 2012
1:56 pm

Private Citizen / December 22nd, 2012 / 12:01 pm

Hey Lee, I find it notable that you do not expect rural areas to produce their own dentists, doctors, and civil engineers. So everyone sits on their backside expecting Jesus to show up in the form of an outside corporation XYZ setting up shop or some yankee doctor to treat grandma for her heart arythmia? Sounds like rural Georgia is filled with a bunch of vacant lazy slobs. Add to that “player” school administration and there you have it. And some arrogant racist teachers who have little vision for their charges. And then add Arne with his righteous cognitive dissonance forced confusion and a couple nitwits at the top of the state to sign it all into law. But that’s okay because the one or two doctors in town enjoy feeling like Gods looking down their collective nose at the literally dumb peasants. I have a friend whose (deceased) father was one of these rural royalty Georgia doctors. To this day, he still thinks they’re royalty or something. Somebody called Georgia a bunch of be-knighted ^$%$% and they’re right.”

Wow. I don’t know how you got from my post to yours, but it certainly would be interesting to see what’s going on in that skull of yours.

Chris Salzmann

December 22nd, 2012
2:03 pm

Good luck with that over here. In Scandinavian countries, teachers are extensively trained, required to be at the top of their class to be selected for teaching programs, and after they are trained, are extremely well paid. Resources provided to teachers are extensive and varied. As a result, teaching is a profession that is very much sought after that only the best can aspire to. Indeed, over there, to be a teacher is considered on par as being a doctor or lawyer.

Over here, teaching is left to either the extremely dedicated who are poorly trained or to those who cannot succeed anywhere else and have to “settle”. They are are comparatively poorly paid and have very limited resources. Class room supplies have to be provided by teachers out of their own limited paychecks. Not surprising in a state and country where teachers are viewed essentially as glorified day-care workers who keep children occupied while the parents work.

When one invests so little in our children, is it any surprise that we are falling further and further behind other industrialized nations?

A Teacher, 2

December 22nd, 2012
3:00 pm

I shall never forget the look in my mother’s eyes almost 40 years ago when I told her I was majoring in education rather than pre-law. That hurt look has been replaced with pride many times through the years. I became that teacher that everyone in town wants their kid to have. I am more popular in town than the doctors and lawyers. When I soon announce my retirement, many will be concerned over who will be left to teach their kids. People in town regularly tell my mom how much I mean to their kids.

I doubt that mom even remembers how she felt that moment I abandoned the job of prestige and riches that she envisioned for me. Instead, I felt the need to become the best I could be, just like she had taught me all those years. I am the better for it.

I am richer than all of those doctors and lawyers in town. I have the satisfaction of having made a difference for thousands of teenagers through the years. The current politicians and much of the public choose not to understand the true calling to teach, and to teach well. Money will never buy it, nor can those without the calling “learn” it.

I will leave not embittered, but thankful for the opportunity to do what I was supposed to do, and do it well. There is no higher calling!

Fled

December 22nd, 2012
3:04 pm

Beverly is correct to assert that school administration on the whole attracts some of the worst of the worst—and that goes double for aspiring educrats who join the Superintendent’s staff and then write drivel about how all children are “loved and cared for” in Fulton Schools: not a word about educating students to an internal standard of excellence, of course. Teacher as social worker. Teacher as nurse. Teacher as parent for students with sorry parents. Anything but teacher as educator.

I was speaking with my greatest, and the child has some interest in teaching. This is understandable because the teachers this one knows are all well-educated, well-paid, and valued as professionals. Should some parent come in complaining about the asinine sorts of things that routinely get teachers called on the carpet by graduates of Lincoln Memorial University (anyone ever heard of that one before?), the admins at my child’s school would probably say something like, “I’m sorry we did not meet your expectations. I hope your next school will be more to your liking.”

I would not object to my child becoming a teacher in a private international school. Such a job has plenty of challenges, to be sure, but having to deal with ill-educated, power-hungry, incompetent school admins is not one of them. My children’s school does not have any problem recruiting a top-flight faculty because teachers know it is a great place to ply their craft. A NASA scientist might actually want to work there because they hire people to teach and then expect them to teach.

Great school. Great teachers. Great students. Just about the opposite of Fulton in every way a real teacher might care about..

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
3:32 pm

“and that goes double for aspiring educrats who join the Superintendent’s staff and then write drivel about how all children are “loved and cared for” in Fulton Schools:”

When this prime example of what ails education superintendent of Fulton was given a chance to do some PR in the AJC, didn’t anyone at the AJC realize this is the same guy in charge of a system that allowed a student to physically assault a school resource officer, only to be let back into the school in order to help hospitalize another student?

Hello?

And the AJC gave this guy space to spout about school safety? Really? What’s next, a guest editorial from Kathy Augustine about the ethical use of statistics? Credit card advice from Courtney English? School construction advice from Crawford Lewis?

Smartdawg

December 22nd, 2012
4:08 pm

I can assure you that the parents of the educators at Sandy Hook Elementary say with pride, through their tears, “my daughter, the teacher!”

Hillbilly D

December 22nd, 2012
4:22 pm

How ’bout we start judging people by what kind of person they are, rather than their occupation?

paulo977

December 22nd, 2012
4:30 pm

Lee ….”ROFLMAO. Maureen, you’re too much….
_______________________________________

Well ,very well put Lee

paulo977

December 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Lee “In summary, to stay in teaching and to make it a career, I think you must love the kids and love helping them”
and also SBin F

Well said …….Those who keep slamming teachers need our understanding …..they have no idea what teachers are involved in !!!
For a teacher ………..
“Work is love made visible ”
Kahlil Gibran

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

December 22nd, 2012
5:06 pm

Maureen-

AFT is billing this as comparable to a bar exam. Haven taken a bar exam, they do not know what they are talking about. I have the report but it is similar in purpose to the Linda Darling-Hammond report issued by SCOPE and the IN Tasc Model Teaching Standrads. It is a compliance device. It tests very little knowledge and is a performance assessments.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/coercing-teachers-to-be-social-and-political-saboteurs-what-can-be-done/ is the story I wrote on the Effective Teacher evals. Then I read the AFT document klast Saturday. Professions do not create frameworks circumscribing what is to be believed which is exactly what Randi did in that document.

They are walling off education decisions to anyone who has not been properly indoctrinated. And I mean that. That post explains that pedagogy was recreated around what the Soviet psychologists were using. It’s in a UNESCO document from the early 70s. Laying out exactly what constitutes the Learning Sciety.

And I have a family gathering. Not time to talk about education for a while.

Pride and Joy

December 22nd, 2012
6:48 pm

Why does teaching merit a “prestigious as a doctor” reputation?
Why not police officers? They put their life on the line every day.
Why not the military? They put their life on the line every day and have to endure separations frm their families in foreign, desolate, hostile countries such as Afghanistan?
Where is the prestige for them?
Teaching is less dangerous than all of the above-mentioned occupations AND the occupations mentioned above pay LESS than teaching and have far fewer benefits. Cops and the military don’t get three months off during the Summer, all holidays off and work daytime Monday through Friday hours.
If we are going to try to bring some fairness into the world of professions, let’s start with the most deserving ones.

Private Citizen

December 22nd, 2012
6:51 pm

The way things are going, the realpolitik of any US teacher’s test would be navigating the fine points of being brainwashed. Walling off the un-indoctrinated is exactly correct. Lord knows how the USA got this way but it sure has progressed quickly, the regimentation, and not in a good way.

‘Had a thought while driving today. Why is it that government school teachers have to play along with all of this extra meetings and paperwork and indoctrination? Why can not government school teachers work in a manner similar to private school teachers?

Beverly Fraud

December 22nd, 2012
7:55 pm

“AFT is billing this as comparable to a bar exam.”

Bar exam? Who knew AFT was diversifying out into becoming a comedy act?

“That post explains that pedagogy was recreated around what the Soviet psychologists were using.”

Given the fervor of conservatives, I’m surprised this hasn’t been discussed more, if indeed true.

Tech Prof

December 22nd, 2012
9:33 pm

If anyone thinks that increasing the entrance requirements for teacher prep progrms (or any higher program) is going to happen in Georgia, then think again. Governor Deal’s Higher Ed brain trust is going to start funding higher ed institutions based on the number of graduates. Gates will not be narrowed. The gates will be removed altogether and standards will be lowered so that everyone entering the institution gets a degree. That may be a good rationale for this teacher “bar exam”. The degrees will be worthless, so we better make them pass the mother of all certification tests before letting them start teaching!

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

December 22nd, 2012
9:57 pm

Beverly-the report I referred to had been in accessible for years. I knew of it by name and references to it but had never been able to locate it. And I am a good searcher. A few weeks ago I was responding to someone in Australia discussing their version of the Common Core. When I went to doublecheck the name I found the full report on a pdf now. Of course it took me about 10 hours to plow through it. But yes it was quite graphic.

There’s an interesting part of that AFT report where they want the reader to know the comment is from Al Shanker in 1986 but the footnote goes to a 200 AFT report citing the same speech. It would be mysterious if I did not have a copy of that 1986 report as well. That’s not a pdf though and for about the first month after I managed to get my hands on it the book smelled like it had been a a moldy book room since the late 80s. What we endure for the sake of accuracy.

Here’s the quote from the AFT 2012 report “Raising the Bar”: “teacher education programs provide ‘coherence and connection’ for pre-service teachers–that is, they must establish a conceptual framework around which to weave course learning and clinical experiences, avoiding fragmentation and encouraging internalization and application.”

Sounds more like a catechism to me. This is what you are to believe and do. That’s rather the antithesis of the knowledge that grounds genuine professions. That’s not maligning teachers. Most I have talked to hate the theoretical turn that makes no sense that is in the way of what they know works and what they know students need. In fact the Soviet angle makes perfect sense to them. It’s like the explanation that diminishes the extent of the fog.

irisheyes

December 22nd, 2012
10:58 pm

I don’t know, my parents are pretty proud of the fact that I’m a teacher, regardless of the fact that I could have probably done whatever I wanted to. (Graduated near the top of my high school class with a 30+ ACT score many years ago.)

It’s good to see that we’re back to denigrating those individuals so many are willing to entrust with their kids’ lives.

susan

December 22nd, 2012
11:48 pm

People who don’t understand that elected officials make the decisions for education in this state. I would never ever encourage my child to become a teacher in this state. Whether you are a good teacher or not, we are lumped together. There is no respect for teachers anymore by the public or the elected officials who cut funding. They are allowing us to teach more with less, creating situations in which local districts are having to furlough teachers , and increasing rates in health insurance. You’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. I’m trying to keep a good attitude about the profession, but it’s getting harder and harder.

susan

December 22nd, 2012
11:50 pm

Let me “correct” my first sentence. People “don’t” understand that elected officials make the decisions for education in this state.

Atlanta Native

December 23rd, 2012
12:58 am

The question has within it the answer, yet no one has seen it here, it is so simple. How to improve TEACHING quality? IMPROVE THE TEACHING OF TEACHERS! In other words, we need to radically change the teaching methods that are taught in professional education classes. It’s obvious, through multiple research studies, that the ordinary, accepted methods of teaching students in today’s classrooms are outdated and not up to expectations; yet the teaching colleges keep churning out teachers who are using the same old hackneyed teaching methods. There is no room for innovation, no expectation for out-of-the-box thinking, and a sorrowful lack of emphasis on basics such as Phonics, which was successfully used for many years before the psyches got a hold of their idiotic theories about “brain-based” learning and such nonsense. They even told teachers (and sadily, the teachers ate it up!) that it was perfectly okay for kids NOT to understand the words of texts, but to simply “figure it out” based on context. HUH? So, it is senseless to look at things like increased pay, smaller class sizes, and vague terms like accountability. What teachers are taught is the undercut to improving education. Their own education textbooks have unproven and unworkable ideas in them, so toss them out and look around at the methods of schools that are making headway in student interest, students’ enjoyment of learning, and their ability to stay motiviated and graduate. Let’s start innovating where it counts, in the very substance of education, not in areas that are ancillary to the quality of education itself.

JH

December 23rd, 2012
1:53 am

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… You are kidding right… What is the incentive for teachers to really teach our kids well? Nothing. What’s in it for the teacher unions to dumb down the kids so that they grow up to liberal mooching democrats? Everything… Teachers get paid whether a child turns out to be a genius or dumb as a bag of rocks. Teachers and schools hold a virtual monopoly on the content of and the delivery of education. Until the funding and underlying structure of education are changed, everything else is academic…

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
5:04 am

Atlanta Native, As long as you are summoning Jupiter, Geronimo, and you might as well throw in Hank Aaron, since you are a native Atlantan, has it occurred to you while you are blaming teachers for lacking innovation, that there is little state support of materials to do the job? In other words, what I am saying is that you are doing a bully routine of invent! create! innovate!. Teachers are expected to produce all of their materials and methods? Do you have any idea how time consuming and inefficient this is? It’s like asking the worker on the car assembly line to do the autocad designs and operate the wind tunnel, too. Anyway, what we need is some comparison of teaching schools with good curriculum compared to teaching schools with questionable curriculum for the teachers. Also, Atlanta Native, how did you start out critiquing teaching schools and quickly turning it into a slam-dunk to blame teachers?

Do you work for somebody, are you a propagandist? Because this sounds like generalised propaganda: Let’s start innovating where it counts, in the very substance of education, not in areas that are ancillary to the quality of education itself.

Did you just appropriate “education itself?” Where did you learn to communicate like this? Not to be tacky, but it is bullying, as your target is “teachers.” What exactly are you promoting? If you are promoting prosperity, you are going to have to be a little more specific. -Still trying to figure out where you got the “Boo-Rah!” Do you attend football games?

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
5:08 am

Atlanta native, re-reading your post, I see you are concerned about the integrity of language instruction, vocabulary in particle. I certainly agree with that, and it seems the same sort of confused methods has been applied to a required method for the teaching of math. The real question is who is forcing these methods on teachers? There’s a power structure setting the tone for government schools.

kate

December 23rd, 2012
7:06 am

Actually make teachers major in a degree program, not education. Yes, the BOR says they do now, but they don’t, not really. Many BOR-schools created watered-down STEM “degrees” for ed majors instead of making them actually get a real STEM degree in order to teach it. Math ed is NOT the same as as a Math degree!!!! Until that stops (there’s even a broad ’social science’ degree that was created), not a lot will improve GA K-12 teacher education in our state. STOP all the “how to teach” classes that are little evidence-based and don’t matter anyway when we (mistakenly, in my mind) make all teachers obey cookie-cutter lesson plans anyway and don’t let them actually teach creatively. But a class on how to get kids to do art? A few days worth of that content, okay, I get, but at my institution, there are TWO required 15-week classes in that and only 1 in STEM content for P-3 teachers. That’s out of balance. I think most P-3 kids can figure out painting and such on their own, but subtraction and addition, not so much.

dcb

December 23rd, 2012
7:15 am

First, I’m sorry but simply throwing more money to attract “better qualified individuals” to the teaching profession is not going to work. We’ve tried that after the study “A Nation at Risk” hit a couple of decades back. What “might” work better from this retired school head’s viewpoint is to force our teacher training establishments into the twenty-first century. Until they teach the true integration of technology into the teacher training picture as the major tool necessary to meet the classroom needs of our current generation’s techno-crazy learners, stepping into an elementary or secondary school classroom of today will provide an experience no different than those who attended the same schools in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s ….. which isn’t cutting it. Students still need teacher direction, of course. But they have become more self-learners with the laptops and kindles and smart-phones and other tech-related tools that are part of their every day lives from an early age. Those are not being incorporated into the classroom experience to the degree they need to be – in part because the tools were not even around when most of our teachers completed their college Education Department’s training degree. But even currently, because the industry is slow to change. And truth be known, a change as drastic as this is a generational thing. There is no quick fix.

Pride and Joy

December 23rd, 2012
7:20 am

irisheyes you say that “so many are willing to entrust with their kids’ lives.”
WILLING?
Hardly.
Most people have NO CHOICE other than to send their kids to public school.
I am killing myself financially to put my kids in private school and I was darn lucky to find a school with room to take them.
There are waiting lines in parochial schools, even for solid, attending, tythe paying members like me.
The best private schools are so crazy expensive that almost no one can afford them — including you. Woodward is 18K per year per child for basic tuition — there are more fees and other expenses. If you have two kids, that’s 36K AFTER TAX DOLLARS, which is what you earn for an entire year…and most private schools here cost that much.
So NO we are NOT WILLING to trust our kids to you. We have no other choice and that is why the charter school amendment passed by a landslide — we Georgians want OUT of the public school cesspool.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
7:38 am

STOP all the “how to teach” classes

Can we start collecting money for billboards? I’ll donate the first $100.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
7:45 am

teach the true integration of technology into the teacher training

Would not that require coordinated resources provided to teachers? My experience is having to provide practically every stick of resource material myself and source it from the internet or using a scanner. I have literally spent thousands and thousands of dollars of my own money making materials for students, materials to teach with, and spent hours and hours doing same, all of this while being told “how to teach” but roving crooks with $100k salary.

haveyouthoughtaboutthis

December 23rd, 2012
8:13 am

Too many educators (administrators for sure) receive advanced degrees from schools that are at best mediocre. If you went to UGA undergrad; why are you are attending Argosy University for your masters degree? The degree means nothing. Politics drives promotions. . . (somewhere in there should be performance and influence IN THE CLASSROOM).

peachpits

December 23rd, 2012
8:15 am

No teacher I work with has the “summers off”, as most work another job to make ends meet. We are required to work 42 hours a week in the school, but that does not account for the additional nights and weekends of planning and paperwork required to keep a classroom running. The media does nothing but highlight a few bad apples, lumping us in with them as equals. No wonder we get no respect. BTW, I have a master’s, plus a year long, unpaid internship and passed a national assessment to obtain my degree, so thank you for insulting my intellect by calling my job a cakewalk.

8th Grade Math Teacher

December 23rd, 2012
8:16 am

1. Repeal No Child Pushes Ahead/Race to the Middle
2. Give teachers more autonomy
3. Fire the ones who stink, regardless of how long they’ve been there, and provide cash incentives to the ones who perform well

It’s not so difficult, except for the Federal Government mucking it up with all of their obsession with standardized testing. All we have accomplished is to make sure that teachers are no longer concerned with advancing the best and brightest; the entire name of the game is meeting quotas.

8th Grade Math Teacher

December 23rd, 2012
8:31 am

One more HUGE problem that people who aren’t in the profession don’t see is the one concerning discipline.

As teachers, we have to deal with students whose parents don’t teach them respect or common courtesy. Good lessons can curtail this some, but there are some students who are constant disruptions no matter the level of teaching.

These students are sent to the office, and here’s where the real problem occurs. Students see no real repercussions for their actions, because under these stupid No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top (which are laughable descriptions for what they really are) guidelines, our schools receive poor marks when we remove troublesome students.

So what happens is that the students who have no business being in school (and make life more difficult for teachers as well as students who actually WANT to learn) hang around and hang around and never see real consequences for their actions.

The secondary effect of this is that kids who would otherwise toe the line for fear of getting in trouble see that these other students never receive any real consequences and so then they become disruptive. After all, what does it really matter? The worst we can do to them is pull them out of class for a bit and call their parents.

We should be able to send the disruptive students to alternative schools WITHOUT PENALTY for the schools doing so, and make these students EARN the right to come back with the general population.

Some principals do this, but they are always removed for having too many “discipline problems.” How backwards is this? The message to teachers and administrators is that disciplining students is the “problem.”

The job becomes impossible when teachers are expected to teach, babysit, and parent all at the same time.

Dad of future teacher

December 23rd, 2012
8:41 am

I completely agree with the lack of encouragement to enter teaching. My daughter is a college freshman and has wanted to teach for several years. She finished #5 in her class at a North Fulton high school. She is a high achiever. We have people respond with “she could so much more” when they hear elementary education major. Unfortunately our materialistic society focuses on salaries. The only difference between a CEO at a successful company and a teacher of a successful classroom is the age of those the inspire.

Good timing

December 23rd, 2012
8:43 am

Actually, the push to raise teacher qualification standards is not a bad idea considering the current status of the American workforce: where else can you get benefits, a stable income, long vacation time, and a more-or-less set workday schedule? (note: I teach – and a break from students and parents during the summer, whether or not I choose to seek other employment in June and July, is still a vacation)

TeacherMom4

December 23rd, 2012
8:56 am

My education classes were easy and fairly useless, particularly since I was in undergrad during the “Whole Language” era. These facts do not mean that I am stupid, or incompetent, or a bad teacher. Educating future teachers needs to change. There should be more content based classes. Since so many of the methods classes don’t really help, the internship should be a full year. Most of what I know about how to run a classroom has been OTJ training–with me as trainer and trainee. If I had more mentoring, the first few years would have had less of a learning curve. The problem is, when you start teaching, your mentor teacher is busy with their own classroom. They aren’t there to guide you when you have a problem; they can only listen to the story after. My “mentor” my first year teaching in GA asked me periodically how it was going. That was it….and she got a stipend for it. No advice was offered, no suggestions for how to approach teaching a specific skill or topic. I was too proud to ask, or maybe didn’t know how much I didn’t know. Anyway, I was terrible my first couple of years, and I feel bad for those students. Was I unintelligent though? No. I just had little support in an environment very different from New England, where I grew up and went to college.

Revamp the education programs for sure. Make them more rigorous and wash out the lazy who are looking for an easy program. But I really think the training/mentoring that happens within the school would make the biggest difference in success/failure and retention of good teachers.

guitargodnl

December 23rd, 2012
9:27 am

@ pridecand joy:

So, give the really good teachers a $20K bonus for teaching to the test? Do you realize how easy it is to teach to the test? You don’t even need a teacher; you’re looking for a computer. $20K bonus or regular per annum pay scale? Do you realize how very low that is in comparision to business bonuses?
Let’s talk $100K per year, improved benefits, an office, and secretarial help for each teacher. Your proposals indicate one more time that we just do not value education. $20K ? Not hardly(colloquialism). Let’s talk some real money, and you’ll see things happen. We can’t do it with property taxes!

Beverly Fraud

December 23rd, 2012
9:29 am

“The only difference between a CEO at a successful company and a teacher of a successful classroom is the age of those the inspire.”

Sadly @Dad of future teacher, you are wrong. Very, very, very wrong. What the CEO has, that your daughter will never have is authority. The CEO will have accountability but with it the authority to make changes that will or will not lead to success. You daughter will have accountability, but be tasked with things that are destined to fail, then be blamed for failure.

Your daughter has a high degree of probability of being stuck in a systemically stupid situation with people who, for their own selfish ends, think in systemically stupid ways. If she is as bright as you say she is, she will no doubt find the lack of intellect do be frustrating, if not downright debilitating.

Please, please for the love of God encourage your daughter to do two things:

1) take colleges courses that will allow her, if necessary, to go back and have a good “plan B”
2) encourage her to save, save, save it’s amazingly empowering to be able to someone (and mean it) that you are financially, and strategically prepared to walk away, no hard feelings.

If you don’t want to dissuade her from her dream, fine. But encourage her to be prepared if the dream turns out to be a nightmare. There is no downside to that, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Please direct her to this post, and other posters like Fled. Maybe private schools or overseas schools are an option, that will allow her to provide service, if that’s her hearts desire.

Dennis

December 23rd, 2012
9:38 am

The put down of teachers and public education is, and always has been, to serve one purpose – keep taxes low. Student achievement is secondary to that. The proof of that pudding is evident in our governor’s lead to establish for profit charter schools.

Let’s anyone wants to challenge that, the bottom line of the corporate charter school business is money, not student achievement.

And while not all of the brightest go into teaching, not all of the brightest go into business.

But, let’s evauate across the board. Let’s make things even.

Not the brightest and best go into politics, either, and maybe that’s the root of our educational problems.

So, let’s have a midterm evaluation of our politicians and if they aren’t performing up to snuff, let’s turn them out in the same manner we want to turn out “bad teachers.”

Vee

December 23rd, 2012
9:41 am

For those who chide teachers for having 2 (some ridiculous person said 3) months off:

So, you want teachers to work– and children to go to school–246 days out of the year? (I’ll let you figure out I how got the 246 out of 365.25 days.) What’s funny is that you’re probably the same ones that complain about the children returning to school in late July/early August.

For the person who felt that police officers, millitary, etc. deserve more than teachers because they “risk their lives everyday”:

Are you serious?! Honey, teachers risk their lives in ways that you cannot even imagine. Physical threats aside, a child’s lie can ruin a teacher’s career and livelihood. Just ask those teachers and administrators who were suspended without pay and had to fend and prove their innocence because some child lied about them “touching” him/her. Just ask that teacher from Macon who was fired for defending herself when a parent decided to assault her. At least, police officers can arrest those that do not follow their commands. What can teachers do, besides writing an office referral (only for the child to be “warned” and sent back to the classroom, in most cases)?

As for the topic of this blog:
I would be proud to say “my child, the teacher”. My parents are proud to say I am a teacher. My grandmother was proud to call my mother a teacher. Teaching–in this country–does not get its due respect and will not until the demonization of and the egregious demands on teachers cease. However, I know that despite the aforementioned cons of teaching, it takes special people to teach and to do it for more than 20 years. When I console abused children, inspire children who get no support from their parents, and have former students (some who thought I was so “mean”) that visit my classroom, invite me to their graduations, and call me on my birthday, I realize that my teaching is not in vain.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

8th Grade Math Teacher, you’re saying a lot right here:

“We should be able to send the disruptive students to alternative schools WITHOUT PENALTY for the schools doing so, and make these students EARN the right to come back with the general population.

Some principals do this, but they are always removed for having too many “discipline problems.” How backwards is this?”
______________________________

This “New World Order” education agenda seems to contain a lot of unworkable reverse logic. Punish the teachers and principals for governing their schools. I think you’ve clearly identified what is one of the core dysfunctions.

It appears that in the current political climate there is nothing we can do to alter this except abandon ship and re-purpose our own time and dedication.

Tiffany

December 23rd, 2012
10:02 am

Many others have posted the same sentiment, and I must agree: the entire system needs revision, not just “qualifying teachers.”

It is not about having expert teachers, who know more knowledge about A, B, C; teaching is the skill of conveying information in a way that another person can comprehend it. Instruction in that skill was present in only two of my undergrad in education courses. One can be an expert, but if they can not convey their expertise, there is no place for them in education.

Our classrooms should be designed around students’ learning styles and abilities, not around “the same education for everyone.” This includes accepting the reality that some people do not test/write/speak well. Far greater assessment can be gained from dialogue and debate (in the later years) and application of material that students need to master. This reality frightens some people, but education does need to look the same for every student – a child’s strengths and skills should determine which topics should be emphasized and HOW from age 10 and beyond. (I can hear the tirade now!)

Most effective teachers (on the high school level) I know are trying desperately to meet their students where they are at; unfortunately, the reality of social promotion means that the high school years are a huge obstacle for most kids. They have been told for several years that they need to “pass,” but there is no real consequence when they do not. (Thus, the extremely high ninth grade failure rate.)

In addition, those students who have been socially promoted do not value education, nor do they see its purpose. (Whether you like or it not, this is a FACT that stems from the home/culture/society, NOT teachers or the school system.) So many students are there to meet the compulsory attendance laws (for driver’s licenses, for example), but the fundamental flaw of the law is that there is no motivation to PASS, just to ATTEND. Sadly, our current system has strayed from its original intent of offering education to everyone who WANTS the opportunity to achieve.

And that is another issue. Teachers should be the FIRST voice for new legislation, guidelines and curricula. Far too many of the decisions about education are made by people who have NEVER really seen how a classroom functions. The material in textbooks is created on profit margin, not what is best for students. Standards and testing are set by people who know little to nothing about what children should actually learn or HOW they learn. Even teacher evaluations originate OUTSIDE of the classroom/school.

Further, if a child has a natural talent or ability, that should be nurtured, not put on a back burner until they can learn a myriad of other things that will be test-requirements. That child does not understand why their natural ability in Subject A is being minimized while they must also master Subject B, which they may not have a natural inclination for, in order to pass a test. Their strengths in Subject A should become the focus of their education paradigm. All the other subjects are essential, but not to the same degree as their subject of strength, and certainly not the detriment of that strength or their education as a whole. (Please note this similar to our current special education philosophy, so it is functional in its application.)

I left public education after my first child was born and I won’t be returning. While there were many aspects that I enjoyed, the system is simply broken, making it ineffective for the masses. (Again, we need experienced teachers to tell us how to fix the system, including alternatives for those students who do not understand that their education is for their benefit. Such sweeping revisions may look different in each school system.)

We homeschool our children, allowing them to prosper in their strengths at their own rate. The classical education paradigm we employ in our household has long since vanished from classrooms in this country. Our children (and the children we interact with each week) are capable of utilizing their knowledge base in discussion, writing, and application – even in teaching each other.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:04 am

to emphasise the repeat description of current conditions:

We should be able to send the disruptive students to alternative schools WITHOUT PENALTY for the schools doing so, and make these students EARN the right to come back with the general population.

Some principals do this, but they are always removed for having too many “discipline problems.” How backwards is this?

8th Grade Math Teacher

December 23rd, 2012
10:14 am

You are right, Private Citizen.

We have to take back what is rightfully ours and shun those that try to destroy it.

Which is why I will continue to “grin and bear it” until I can get into administration and attempt to put things back on track. I might get fired somewhere along the way for not falling into line, but that is the price to pay for doing what is right.

I would love to see a superintendent somewhere refuse federal grants in order to run their county the way they know is right.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:17 am

My experience of teacher internship in Georgia was teaching high school and doing an excellent job and then being harassed by a stodgy old black female ex-principal of an “historic black high school” who came in a wrote negative work reviews of me every single time and at the culmination gave me a resounding “F” for my review and put into writing holding my accountable for a lot of details that were not part of the teacher training program. It was outright harassment. Due to the F, I had to repeat and pay additional tuition for this section of my teacher training. Meanwhile I had nearly a 4.0 in the program. At the final meeting with this person, I met with this “review person?” and the department head and I produced documentation showing the difference between the review person’s demands and my training. I ended the meeting telling them that it is not normally my style but there is a limit and if they continued in this way I would put them in court. What happened next is that the incompetent review person was not ever used again for teacher review and the department head left the school and the state and went to work in a different university in another state. I guess, in retrospect, I should take some satisfaction that in effect I eliminated an extremely racist black female harassment artist, however it cost me a semester and additional hundreds of dollars in tuition. It was outright harassment and this person tried to drown me on the front end of my career. I have also been harassed in the workplace by another black female who, are you ready? Is another ex-principal from the same “historic black high school.” and meanwhile I have done absolutely nothing but autonomous good work on behalf of my students. At least in some urban school districts in Georgia, there is open racism toward non-black employees. I have seen these harassment artists come into a building and target people who are busy doing good work and doing their jobs as they should. They harassment artist comes into their classroom and perches like a bird and writes reports on the teacher while they are teaching. they do it now wirelessly with laptops via wi-fi.

Wilbur

December 23rd, 2012
10:33 am

Diversity of values and aspirations from parents killed pubic education. While we might value learning and support the teachers, my child is in a classroom with other children whose families do not. When you add to that mix teachers who do not see themselves in partnership with parents, more and more parents who value education will look for an escape route for their children.

Raising the status of the teacher will do nothing to fix the underlying issues that have killed public education in America.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:35 am

They also did this same routine to a career teacher who was very good at their work, had transferred in from another state and was of the caliber that they had helped write the standards for their prior state. This person was an excellent teacher. When the black on non-black harassment started for them and continued to the point that the teacher was coming home and crying every day, their spouse went to the school and told them to copy over to their private attorney any and all forms or reviews to the teacher. After this action, the harassment immediately stopped and life was “back to normal” with demanding teaching on a good day.

If you’re a government schools teacher in Georgia and you work around capricious management, have a private attorney. If they were honest, they would teach this in Georgia teacher training programs and inform teachers that in Georgia there is no protection from abuse for them outside of a private attorney.

Georgia coach

December 23rd, 2012
10:38 am

Private citizen, the fact you didn’t pass is no surprise. You probably came across as you do now, as a needy attention getting know it all.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:40 am

And this was also a third black female ex-principal going around intruding on principals and harassing teachers. This person had a new angle. They had retired and were receiving retirement pay and we hired back as “consultant” with a different pay scheme.

Hey thanks a lot state of Georgia for your excellent guardianship of funds and governance of school management. I sincerely hope you burn in Hell.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

Georgia couch, I’ll withhold what I would like to say to you out in an open field in person. I have achieved a 100% pass rate for my students. And you better believe I am a little “active” daily in getting there. If you want to play it cool like a Georgia slob and withhold approval for good work, this certainly does not surprise me. Maybe you have something in common with my friend with the 25% pass rate for their students and a glowing work review to go with it. You seem real comfortable.

Tiffany

December 23rd, 2012
10:47 am

While I understand “8th Grade Math Teacher’s” objective of moving into administration to fix the problem, I think you will find the same frustrations at that level. As I said in my longer post, education decisions are not made by the only people qualified: teacher and administrators. It is sad to see good teachers leaving the classroom – even if it is for administration positions. Thank you for giving of yourself to make a better future for the education system. It is truly a ripple-effect career.

One note about removing disruptive students: I agree teachers need more authority in their classroom with students. I just have to wonder what we (as a society) do with them after we throw them out. I am by no means saying that “they have no where else to go,” is a reason to keep them in a classroom, ruining chances for other kids who need their teacher’s attention focused on instruction, rather than distractions. We just need an alternative for them and the chance to come back if/when they realize the error of the ways (though the chances are slim unless the alternative is so laborious, that they choose education). I just don’t want to see our jails flooded even more because these kids aren’t teachable at a given age. Any suggestions?

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
10:53 am

Coach, I do not claim to “know it all” but I know how to transfer content and get results and I have the background and training to do so. I wonder why you do not value this? I think you take a lot of things for granted, like where your doctors come, the medical ones, at the dentist and hospital. The ones I use are not from Georgia, they have to move here from somewhere else. Why this is apparent to me and some kind of joke to you is lost on me. Maybe you can answer that.

oldtimer

December 23rd, 2012
11:01 am

Teachers have been tested…GACE….PRAXSIS….GRE….
Also, every new idea we tried in my teacher years…New math, Whole Language, Social Stdies…not history and geography……feel good….no failures…all came from CA…none were any good. Seems like old math, phonics, handwriting, history’ geography….ocasional failures, all worked well….

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
11:10 am

H?ey coach, pardon my French, but my agenda is “how about if you leave me the hell alone and let me do my work?” That is pretty much the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, of my agenda in the workplace. That seems pretty reasonable to me. I have absolutely no concern what anyone else is doing, but if you come in and harass me, then yes, I am going to bite back. When I get to work, I want to do my work. When I go home, I want to go home. If I am producing results and that is not good enough for you and you want to come and smell my socks, I think you should buzz-off and I am right to say so.

8th Grade Math Teacher

December 23rd, 2012
11:17 am

With all that said, I need to add something: I hate negativity, and I apologize if I added in any way to the mass negativity in this comments section.

Teaching IS a great job…it’s incredibly rewarding and challenging. It sounds cliche, but there is no better feeling in the world than seeing a child suddenly “get it.” I have not been teaching for long, but already I have experienced this enough to know that it is worth getting up everyday and fighting for everyday.

For each behavior problem I complain about, there are 4 or 5 great kids. Unfortunately, it is very human to focus more on the bad than the good.

The money is okay (though I would obviously like for it to be better), and yes, getting summer off is nice. I think the teachers and students both deserve a break from each other after a long year.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
11:26 am

Memo to teachers from Georgia Coach:

Dear Teachers, At all times you are expected to have the personality dimension +/- 2% of the counter worker in the perfume / jewelry department at Dillard’s department stores. Thank you.

Former Military, Current Teacher

December 23rd, 2012
11:31 am

@Pride and Joy:

FTR, I am from a family of cops, teachers, and military members. I was in the military and I am currently a teacher. I have friends who are lawyers, accountants, and doctors.

I have to address your statement, “Why does teaching merit a “prestigious as a doctor” reputation?
Why not police officers? They put their life on the line every day.”

I think the argument is that if it did merit more prestige, it would attract a better quality of student. I think you missed that point completely.

Police officers do not require college degrees, and, no offense to police officers nationwide, most DON’T put their lives on the line EVERYDAY. My family’s officers serve(d) their time in suburban communities. While there are dangers, it’s not daily. Cops, like other public servants, get their share of disdain from the “I’m a taxpayer; I pay your salary” bunch – I feel their pain for that. They get benefits and pension in most communities, and if they do work holidays, they get double or even triple time (my policeman uncle volunteered to work every Christmas for the pay). They can retire after twenty years in many places – teachers need to teach for thirty.

‘Why not the military? They put their life on the line every day and have to endure separations frm their families in foreign, desolate, hostile countries such as Afghanistan? Where is the prestige for them?”

I was in the military for three years, and my life was never in danger once. My brother was in for 12 years, and was never on the frontline, despite a war being waged. We were lucky. However, we were not alone. There are plenty of military members serving safely stateside, and they get the same accolades as any other in uniform when they get standing ovations and applause while walking through the airport. They get 30 days paid leave (remember, teacher’s time off is unpaid), and no one begrudges them that. They get discounts and special treatment, too.

“Teaching is less dangerous than all of the above-mentioned occupations AND the occupations mentioned above pay LESS than teaching and have far fewer benefits. Cops and the military don’t get three months off during the Summer, all holidays off and work daytime Monday through Friday hours.”

As far as the lack of danger goes, I’d say tell that to Victoria Soto. If you were to look at overall stats, I’m sure you would see that percentage-wise, teaching is safer. However, percentage-wise (according to the Bureau of Labor), fishing, logging, and and being a pilot are all more dangerous than any of those jobs you mentioned – although there is a prestige to being a pilot, where is your sympathy for them?

While I was in the military, I had fully paid healthcare, dental care, vision care, and life insurance. I also had my room and board provided (and if you married and moved off base, you got extra money to cover that). Military members get 30 days paid leave, as I mentioned, and many DO work Monday through Friday – unless I was on a field op, I did. We also got holidays off most of the time. Military members get compensated for being separated from their families and being in a combat area. Officers also get paid more than enlisted, and if you want a fair comparison to teachers’ salaries, you need to look their compensation since they need college degrees. Teachers get paid per diem. Holidays and breaks are unpaid – you have read this blog long enough to know that.

“If we are going to try to bring some fairness into the world of professions, let’s start with the most deserving ones.”

We weren’t talking fairness, we were talking prestige. All of those professions have something in common – you need to have a passion for them. Despite the dangers, perceived low prestige, low pay, people still pursue those jobs. Your post was a perfect illustration of what Maureen was talking about – what parent would want their child to be a teacher when the public thinks that about the profession?

teacher

December 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

Oldtimer, have you taken the praxis or gace? They are a joke. The fact that anyone fails them is hilarious. Not only should people who fail them never be allowed near a school again, but they should also have their college degrees rescinded. For those of you that haven’t taken these exams, think the driving test, but a bit easier.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
11:33 am

Yes 8th Grade Math Teacher, Apologise profusely and without stopping. This is the “new way.” Even your grocer does it, giving you change, “I’m sorry, I should have given you two dimes and a nickel instead of a quarter.” Your waiter/waitress will interrupt your meal at least five times to apologise. This is also called “begging for money / tip.” You will note in countries where the tip is “compris” (included), waitstaff does not behave this way, as they do not consider themselves to be peasants. However, it is the American Standard now and in the USA there is more apologising during commerce than in the history of the all of the world combined.

Private Citizen

December 23rd, 2012
11:35 am

I hate negativity

Ha. Isn’t that an oxymoron? -Have a happy holidays.

KB

December 23rd, 2012
11:36 am

Improving teacher quality starts in the teacher’s education. When I earned my teaching certificate at Georgia State (already had a B.A.) twenty-five years ago, I spent two weeks in one high school and then student-taught for one quarter at another high school. That simply isn’t enough.

Georgia should find out how much time their education students are actually in a high school. The minimum should be one full school year being mentored by an experienced teacher (or three) who coach the student not only on the subject, but most importantly, on student management.

Better prepared teachers will make better teachers, period.

nick p

December 23rd, 2012
11:58 am

at our fulton county school, we are not even allowed to take away a kids’ cell-phone when not paying attention, but ill tell you as a teacher of 14 years, kids are kids, they have not changed much, there will awlays be disruptive kids, rude kids, etc…. to me what has changed is the parent at home or lack there of who is not going to take responsibility, and the kids know it, and the second problem has to do with watering down of discipline and enforcement of rules, administrators dont want to deal with it, and btw, as a struggling student due to discipline or lack of knowledge whats the point learning something the right way when you know most students get multiple chances to retake quizzes and tests which means why even prepare for the initial assignment, education is a complex and multiple variable problem, and when you always try to boil it down to teachers constantly, you only drive away good teachers which only deepens the problem. Public education is not a private sector business, and we cannot run it like one, especially when many of our students, so called customers, lack the maturity and understanding to take advantage of this moment in life to further advance themselves for the future

nick p

December 23rd, 2012
12:05 pm

since everyone always bashes education in this country, how about pointing to an era when ou elieve education in this country was great? i mean to do comparisons and see what has gone wrong, how about telling me when was it right? when a teacher stood in front of all different age groups and taught 20 different subjects? maybe the 60s? are you telling me there were no rude or disruptive students back then? whats changed is the force we called angry parents who were ready to deal with the problem, meaning their child, now a days the parents make the same lame excuses for their kids that the kids themselves make, thats what has changed!

bootney farnsworth

December 23rd, 2012
12:07 pm

@ Maureen,

can we please have some sort of ignore feature here?

bootney farnsworth

December 23rd, 2012
12:16 pm

despite all the venom in this blog, it still ends as a simple issue.

until this nation values education -which it doesn’t- my child the teacher will never have the same cachet as my child the (fill in your own noun).

and there’s little I see on the horizon which leads me to think this will change anytime soon

bootney farnsworth

December 23rd, 2012
12:20 pm

@ nickp

as far as I can tell, you have to go back to a time when education was voluntary, not mandatory

jess

December 23rd, 2012
12:28 pm

I would much rather have a reputation for impressive students than teachers. Several years ago I was transferred from a small town in the North Ga. mountains to Connecticut. Our son, who had very good grades was entering the seventh grade. A school counselor ask for a meeting with us and very nicely suggested our son would have a better chance of success if he were to enter the sixth grade. This was not based on his grades, but on the fact that he was coming from Georgia. As it turns out the small school he had attended in Ga. was a very good school, and after insisting he be placed in the seventh grade he made honor roll every quarter he attended school there.

The point is that it seems a focus on having impressive teachers is the wrong focus. Impressive students should be our goal. I haven’t had a child in school for quite a while, but it seems to me the focus of schools efforts are: #1 school board, #2 administration, #3 teachers, #4 students. If you have impressive students, You have an impressive system.

Dad of future teacher

December 23rd, 2012
1:01 pm

Beverly, the danger of using words like “only” is people can point out the flaws. Thank you for the insights to preparing her for teaching. My prayer is that she will be a steward of all the talents God has given her. Hopefully the current job economy has taught her that she should save no matter what she ends up doing.

AlreadySheared

December 23rd, 2012
1:53 pm

I recall that some years ago, the infamous “Stewart Avenue” in Atlanta was renamed “Metropolitan Parkway” in a vain attempt to remove some of its stigma. However, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, and likewise for less pleasant things.

Long hours, low pay, administrative disrespect and micromanagement, an education system rendered sclerotic by an accumulation of govenmental and legal mandates: if the armed forces of the United States were structured like the public schools, we’d all be learning to speak Russian right now. Public education will NEVER be fixed.

TGT

December 23rd, 2012
2:31 pm

I have been teaching in Juneau, Alaska for 13 years, but I was born and raised in Georgia. I have lived here for twenty years, and education and its funding is always a hot button issue. I think the article hits on some relevant issues like compensation, and all university education programs should strive to attract quality teachers. There is already the Praxxis exam in order to get certification as a teacher in the State of Alaska. If we really want high quality education for all students, we need to convince each state legislature to adequately fund schools so that class sizes don’t reach unreasonable levels. Right now, my class of third graders is at 27, and my wife’s fifth grade class is at 31. I think elementary should be capped at 20 in K-2 and 24 in 3-5. I think consideration should be taken with middle and high schools as well when it comes to class sizes. Here in Juneau everything has been cut. We have half time teachers, specialists, fewer instructional assistants, and most benefits and salary schedules have been either cut or frozen. Salaries here in Alaska aren’t great considering the cost of living, and in order for most people to travel here, it requires boat or air travel. I love it here, but my wife and I have considered changing occupations or moving because of the lack of respect and the lack of funding across the board.

Claudia Stucke

December 23rd, 2012
6:18 pm

I agree with the AFT that teachers should pass a rigorous exam. We used to have the PRAXIS in Georgia. I don’t know why we changed over to the GACE, but people who have taken both report that they found the GACE easier to pass. When I took the PRAXIS for secondary English in 2001, I was appalled at the number of test-takers who commented that they had failed it several times before and were taking it for the third or fourth time. It was not difficult; in fact, I think it may have been a little too easy. As for mentoring, I think it’s a great idea–not hand-holding, just some professional advice during the first year or two to steer the new professional in the right direction. And yes, new practitioners in some professions, such as medicine, are thrown into the deep end right away. Perhaps the physicians benefit from this practice, but do their patients? Would our students?

AlreadySheared

December 23rd, 2012
7:41 pm

@Claudia,
If you switch from Praxis to GACE, you can set your own passing scores without having to refer to a national benchmark.

Patricia Tomlinson

December 23rd, 2012
11:46 pm

What on earth is a “southern solution”? I mean really!!!

Teacher in DeKalb

December 24th, 2012
8:39 am

Teachers make good salaries and have good benefits and the best life/work balance of any profession in the world.

Teachers USED to “make good salaries and have good benefits and the best life/work balance of any profession in the world.” However, over the last 5-6 years, salaries have gone down, cost of benefits has gone up exponentially, and ‘life/work balance’ is a joke. With 28 2nd graders in a classroom and much higher in upper grades, there is no balance during the school year. I arrive at work at 6:30 and leave at 5 – and except for a 25 minute lunch break, I am working all those hours. Weekends usually involve lesson planning or research for ways to better address the needs of my students. If I had small children at home, I don’t know how I’d do it. I am not whining – I know what is expected, and I do it. Even with all the difficulties with the school district, I am committed to the little ones I teach every day. Those precious babes deserve a teacher who comes every day with the desire to do the 2nd most important job in the world. (The first is being a good parent.)

Mary Sue

December 24th, 2012
9:07 am

I scored a 1490 on my SAT. I double majored in English Literature and Political Science in college. After I decided that I wanted to teach middle school English/Language Arts, I had to go back to school to get my teaching certificate. Finished that at a highly-respected private university with a 4.0 average. The classes were a joke. Got perfect scores on both the English and the Social Studies Praxis exams – these tests were a joke. I am now in my 12th year of teaching. I am very good at what I do – not because of any teacher education classes I took. I haven’t gone back to graduate school to get a masters or better in education because the classes are ridiculous and have zero to do with REAL teaching. I know tons of people with masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees in education who are, frankly, crappy teachers. Teacher education programs need to change. There needs to be more content and less fluff. I don’t need a class on how to create bulletin boards and how to arrange my room. What is needed are solid classes in the subject the teacher will be teaching through that department (not the ED department), classes in classroom management and developmental psychology, and then a lot more time in the classroom getting training than what is required now.

Teacher Lady Ma'am

December 24th, 2012
11:17 am

I had to stop reading the comments because my blood pressure was rising. I have been teaching for 18 1/2 years, have my M.Ed. and my Ed.S. and I just finished my Math endorsement. I cannot think of the last time I had 2 months off for summer that did not include a second job to help pay bills or taking several classes to help me to be a better teacher. I come home from school after 6 (we had 30 minutes added to our day with no compensation) and work until bedtime correcting papers, coming up with interesting (hopefully) lessons that the children may pay attention.

I resent the attitude that teachers don’t matter. We spend more time with your children than you do. The county I teach in makes Clayton look outstanding in the midst of all their problems. We have no money for paper – computer or toilet – and our technology is a joke. The discipline problems have increased as we have been encouraged not to write discipline referrals. On top of this, we are supposed to teach (with no books) children whose parents fight us tooth and nail. And we want them to have a say in our evaluation? Children get mad at us for correcting them and they have a say?

I am proud to say I’m a teacher and do feel the pity in people’s faces when I say where. I still love ‘my kids’ and will continue to give them the pencils, paper, notebooks, etc. that they never have. I still give them hugs when they come in and when they leave. Maybe one day someone will ask us what they can do to HELP instead of criticize. My principal says instead of complaining, come with suggestions… What will you do?

Ole Guy

December 24th, 2012
12:49 pm

“my child the teacher” vs “my child the doctor”…absolutely no comparrison. When was the last time a doctor alloweed parental pressure or, for that matter, any outside influence at all, to enter into sound medical judgement? It would seem that educational judgement, on the other hand, is influenced by any-and-all non-educational entities. If teachers were able to/HAD THE GUTS TO practice their profession as they saw fit, kids would have to EARN passing grades; kids, on the HOPE scholarship would NOT have to take remedials in college and would ALL graduate. Those who couldn’t/wouldn’t get with the program would be left behind to provide a labor pool for the menial labor demand. Meanwhile, those who survived would become the movers and shakers; the leaders of a progressive economy and an equally progressive society…one in which I just migh be able to grow old an’gray in relative grace.

Both while in the military and in the civilian community, I have had the privilege of working with some pretty young folks…as well as a few fossils like myself. Those young folks, for the most part, all had one (among many other) common denominator…they were all SHARP; high school/college grads who, early on, knew what total dedication to the task at hand meant.

You kids had best start pulling it together. You’ve already got the lead weight, of a piss poor economy, straped to one ankle. NEVER DAMN MIND. It don’t matter what you do…doctor, teacher…Indian Chief…just do it to the best (or better) of your abilities. Stop fartin’ around, comin’ up with all sort of reasoning for your sub-par performances. GET that high school diploma (no GEDs…that’s simply fools’ gold…don’t kid yourselves) and then go make something of yourselves. PERIOD.

Merry Christmas

Pride and Joy

December 24th, 2012
2:43 pm

Mary Sue, I appreciate your comments and I agree with you!
So glad you are a teacher!

Tonya C.

December 24th, 2012
4:39 pm

While I think teaching is a noble profession (my husband is one) I will not in any way, shape, or form support any of my kids going into teaching or any public service profession that requires a degree. Sorry. Intrinsic rewards are great, but the power and gas companies don’t take that as payment for utilities. There are too many far more financially-rewarding options out there to encourage that. If they want to help the world, I will tell them to join Peace Corps or become a missionary.

I think teachers are the cornerstone of our society, as well as police officers, firefighters, and social workers. None of them are as valued as they should be, in terms of respect and/or financial compensation. I don’t think any less of the professions but that doesn’t mean I’ll beam if my kids select one as their career.