If one were to ask you the names of your favorite teachers from kindergarten and throughout your schooling, it may be not too difficult to answer....
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Hey Bob, it is the govts job to stifle education ! It is part of the you did not build that mindset, so beloved by democrats. we must be dependent on the govt for all things. If not, how else do you explain the huge growth in govt we have seen with little to show except an increase in our taxes. If you take your finding one step further, we see that college debt is at an all time high. Our college grads our set back even before they start. Not so when I graduated. i worked minimum wage and had money in the bank after graduation. No debt. From all of this we could say, get the govt bureacrats out of education and give us choice. Not likely though as the democratic teachers union fights that tooth and nail. I remember nearly all of my teachers saying education does not stop after graduating and that one should read books. Good advice.
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The much learned doctor failed to include the single, most important determining contributor to teaching and learning -- and one, which I will add, he has noticed continuously declining throughout his teaching career, are the parents. Parental involvement is ultimate responsibility in the education of their children.
But instead parents have shifted that burden more on to teachers and institutionalized standards as a way for parents to tell teachers, "making sure my kid scores high is your job, not mine."
But its not, is it Doctor? No, its the parents' job -- and the good doctor knows this, as all the research says so.
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oh, and Steinerdzzz...the fact that you had almost no debt when you went to college has less to do with your ability to pay, -- and clearly less to do with your "genius" -- than simple, documented fact that, back in your day, state govts used to support 30% - 35% of public colleges' budgets.
Now, that amount is only approx 7% - a 400% - 500% reduction. Student debt load simultaneously increased, 400% - 500%, with the decrease in state support.
In other words, should you be going to college today, chances are you would have tens of thousands of dollars in debt -- which a minimum wage job wouldnt begin to dent.
Yet again, Steinerdzzz, another data point in which you directly and economically benefited from liberal policies -- and typically conservative, now that you have yours, you don't want others to have, so cut state support to "bloated" colleges.
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Very good article. I was a high school English teacher in rural New York State for many years before going into another profession and moving out of state. I agree with many of your theories regarding what makes a teacher a great teacher. I would also like to add some observations I made while in the teaching trenches. One, teaching is a gift from the gods, or whomever. I saw twenty year veterans who could not keep the attention of any of their students, even the ones who liked them and tried to engage. They simply didn't have it. On the contrary, I also witnessed student teachers who walked into that classroom and owned it, immediately sucking the students into a world of learning. So, how do we separate the real teachers from the frauds there for a paycheck? I hate to say it, but here's where I agree with Steiner. We have to curb the union's power. We cannot keep teachers who do not do their job.
cont'd: We cannot use standardized tests wholly because the students are not a consistent enough variable. One year you could have a bright class, next year-not so much. It has to be done through direct observation. Administration has to be out there. I saw a business teacher I worked with that read the paper every day after he gave his class their 45 minute assignment. What I didn't know was that he wasn't reading the paper; he was sleeping. I found out first hand, and it was embarrassing for both him and me, and very funny to his class, althoughb they already knew. Surely we can use standardized tests as one means, as well as teacher's lesson plans etc.to rate a teacher, but the most effective way, in my opinion, is administrative and co-teacher observation/evaluation as well as students'opinion and evaluation.
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A good teacher is like a good any other profession doctor, lawyer or Indian Chief. One has to have pride in what one does. One has to have a good work ethic. If it's your nature to do everything half-a s s e d then that is what you do. As for parents part in this I agree they do not get a passing grade. Unfortunately today everything, for the most part, has become about money and social status.
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The essence of teaching is a calling, an altruism to share with and promote knowledge and skills among the young who are our future. As a teacher of 35 years, I don't agree with the thinking that, via unions, pits the teachers against the best interests of students. I never understood, e.g., why there was a need to have negotiated rules against leaving the parking lot before the school buses. This is not to make a blanket indictment, but teachers need to examine their motives for teaching. When these favor their needs over those of students, then an ethical problem arises. To the degree that teaching is a profession, not just a job (earning a living), then teachers have an ethical responsibility for their teaching, as with any "profession." All professions, especially the "helping professions" (medicine, therapy, law) have--or should--have this professional obligation. The unionization of teachers to the status of factory workers on an assembly line is a prob
cont. is a problem. Some teachers opt for a life style (pay check reusable lesson plans, etc). But those committed to a teaching "ethos: find heir rewards from their interactions with,a helping of, students. That's not in the contract. Do you have a contract with your dentist?
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