Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weary...But Determined...

I am getting a little weary of all these 'bash the teacher' movements around the country. "The teachers aren't doing this...they aren't doing that...We need to replace them all...Teachers are lazy."

Anyone who blames teachers for the state of today's education crisis is just ignorant of several facts. For instance, the teachers on my fourth-grade team work 10 to 12 hours a day...PLUS, we take home work for the weekend. I arrive at my school at a little after 6:30 in the morning and try to leave by 4:30 in the afternoon. Most of my summer is spent preparing for the next school year. AND, I work at a much lower salary than the $80,000 that my surburban colleagues earn.

I work with some children who are dirty, hungry, tired, and abused. I am teaching with books that are twelve years old. The students don't have their own workbooks to write in--I have to create them. I teach in a school where my students cannot concentrate because the walls are thin and the other teachers' voices are heard. I teach students who may not have parental support at home. Long ago, I stopped counting the money that I was spending on my students to supplement the curriculum.

Yeah, you can blame the teachers for today's crisis in education. But, while you're at it, make sure you blame the curriculum, the parents, the culture of today's society, inadequate technology in the classroom, and aging textbooks.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Better Early Than Late...

Larry Sanger, who started Wikipedia, taught his young child to read at an early age. On his blog he states that his son, at age 3 years, 10 months, could read the First Amendment of the Constitution. Now, of course, he couldn't understand every word that he read, but, it's still pretty impressive. Wait, before you say to yourself, 'Yeah, right...', take a few moments to read his essay. Dr. Sanger has several videos of his son reading. As an educator, I am all for teaching children to read EARLY! And, who's to say what 'early' is, anyway?!