Monday, April 5, 2010

Teachers Get a Bad Reputation

What is it that makes the general public hold the opinion that "all teachers are bad"?

We hear from EVERYBODY(and Newsweek runs stories) that the reason our students perform so poorly on standardized tests compared with other countries is because teachers are doing a bad job.  Sidenote: The word "accountability" is used too much nowadays as a fancy word for "blame".  Finding who to blame does nothing to solve a problem.  "The search for blame is always successful and never productive." 

Walk into my classroom and witness kids working together, solving a problem that's unique, managing their work in an appropriate manner, and most importantly interacting with each other.  Walk into my classroom, and you will not see kids preparing for a standardized exam.  Okay, it's AP Stat, they're preparing for the AP Exam, but the overall focus is on learning.  Most importantly, the focus is on the students in the room, not the teacher.  You sure won't see me in front of the room showing "how to do this problem" for 40 minutes.  Well, if that's what I'm doing, then I must not be working very hard.  I would invite anyone to come into my classroom and leave saying "That teacher is doing a very poor job". 

Throughout the country, our classrooms are transforming into students being productive 21st Century learners, and building a skill set that will serve them in any aspect of life or their career.  They are building an ingenuity skill set, not a standardized test skill set.  My only wish is that there be an "ingenuity" index to measure our students versus the rest of the world, but it should be no surprise that there is no standardized test that measures ingenuity.  I think I'd be doing a "bad job" if all I did was push students to meet standards that will be meaningless when it's time to take on college, life, and a career. 

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