Sunday, August 3, 2008

my 5

i've been memed by the science goddess at what it's like on the inside to write the 5 things i wish education policy makers understood. what an inspired meme. i'll be interested to read everyone else's thoughts. i've been mulling this over all weekend and perhaps i am brain-dead with back-to-school business. i don't think this is half as coherent as i'd like it to be.

i wish policy makers understood:

~ teachers want the best for the children in their classes. they chose this career to educate, not for the summers, or because they weren't qualified to do anything else. most teachers are dedicated to their jobs despite being underpaid, not having enough materials, and having to answer to multiple 'bosses' (administrators, parents, school board, etc). respect us for that, treat us as partners and not the enemy. the union has made us come across as lazy and anti-children in the eyes of the politicians. look past the unions and reach out to us. we're a smart, resourceful and creative bunch. we might actually help find solutions.

~ every child is a different puzzle. children are not a product we are churning out for the country's gdp, but individual beings with their own thoughts, beliefs, families, and abilities. every child can learn and the fascinating aspect of our job is to discover how to unlock the magic that will allow him to do so. if johnny can't read it's not because his teachers don't care to work hard, it is because they haven't found the right way to bring the information to johnny.

~every time we are told to teach in one particular way, only use one program, one set of books, one and only one curriculum we are limited in the children we can serve. let us be creative, knowledgeable and resourceful researchers who are discovering what elements each child needs. do not be sold by a text-book company swearing their product, and only their product, is the best. do not mandate us to use it. do not demand that all of our bulletin boards look the same, all of our centers be the same, all of our children smile the same way.

~research continues to show how important early intervention is to closing the achievement gap. it's not something that will win votes in an election. it wont immediately lead to higher test scores or a lower crime rate so it is hard for such initiative to benefit a politician's polls. but it is extremely important in closing the achievement gap, if only we'd follow the research and not the politics.

~a home/school connection is vital for success. it's not the teachers fault, it's not the parents fault, it's not the politicians fault (well... ;) ) we have to work together. parents need to come to school, we need to work with the parents. if parents don't read at home with their children it is our job to teach them about how important it is, and it is the parents' job to work with us. putting money into programs that give us time to work with parents will go far in building this partnership.

what i hope the policy makers never find out, but what i suspect they already know:
~i would do this job for free. i deserve to be paid more money and i like having a salary that pays the mortgage, but i, and many others like me, know we could be more respect and more financially well-off in another career. but i love my job.

other thoughts out there?

elementary,my dear?
this must be thursday?
kindergarten chaos?
snippety gibbet?


Snippety Gibbet said...

Ooooh, good one. The first thought that came into my head was that elementary art isn't (or shouldn't be) just a fluffy time filler. Creative thinking is critical to the future commerce of the nation, among other things. I'll chew on this and post about it. For's 9:35 Sunday night...which mean bedtime was 5 minutes ago. = (

The Science Goddess said...

Thanks for pointing out that we don't need "cookie cutter" curriculum, and so on. We work with human beings---not widgets---and I do wish legislators would embrace that.