jueves, 15 de septiembre de 2011

Back to School: Ready, Steady..

Thinking about Education nowadays...

As you can see in the news , things look pretty bad for public school teachers not only here in Spain but, unfortunately, in different countries all over the world. Remember the riots in Chile, for instance

This first video is from the US. I like its message, Save great teachers: Great teachers make a tremendous difference in students' lives.  Apparently, this year they risk losing some  teachers in the US, and they fear some of those are really good ones.

The campaign in favour of public schools involves all sorts of people - actor Matt Damon, for instance, who attended a public school and whose mother is a school teacher:

Here is some food for thought: check this article by Ron Clark, American teacher,  What teachers want to tell parents.  I totally agree with the following points:
  • we are educators, not nannies.
  • parents are ready to fight and defend their child- no matter what- and it is exhausting for teachers.
  • if parents really want to help their children be successful, they should stop making excuses for them. Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and the children they are raising will grow into adults who will turn toward excuses all too often and who will not have a strong work ethic
  • helicopter parents are dangerous because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing education to your child.
  • never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child.
I find it sad when people question my work or any teacher´s work - or even the fact that teaching means any work at all; I wish I could react like Taylor Mali. Maybe I should learn this poem by heart, “What Teachers Make" (the short title of  " What Teachers Make, Objection Overruled, or If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school.”) It is one of Taylor Mali´s most popular works, an inspirational and a teacher appreciation poem. It starts off talking about teacher salary, but quickly shifts to what teachers make, not how much.

The poem is  fascinating to read, but it is even more powerful when heard, as in the following video:

This is the poem,"What Teachers Make":

You want to know what I make?
I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).
Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

If you need a translation of the poem into Spanish:, click here

It is always interesting to know what students think about the same question: What makes a good teacher?:

I wonder what students think of teachers when they see cartoons like the following one with such a distressing title, "Teachers are people" (Goofy) and with such a powerful message:  "Teachers must be fair, honest, understanding and intelligent." If people agree, how come so many people say such negative things about teachers? On the other hand, are people expected to be "fair, honest, understanding and intelligent" - all of them at the same time- in any other jobs?...

Most people expect too much from teachers and films are partly to blame for this . Here are some examples of top teachers in the movies:

The expectations are so high sometimes that some parents and students tend to think of us as miracle workers,  like Hellen Keller´s teacher, Anne Sullivan.  Check Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan´s stories.

I sometimes wish I had been born in the good old days when working as a teacher involved a blackboard, a piece of chalk, and gaping students willing to absorb anything you taught them. Compare that to 21st century learners. This project, for example,  was created to inspire teachers to use technology in engaging ways to help students develop higher level thinking skills. Tough task!

2 comentarios:

  1. Rosa,me ha emocionado el poema de Taylor Mali,es precioso.....lo comparto.Que bien que estés de vuelta con tu blog.Magnífico trabajo el que haces,impresionante,la mayoría de las veces."What teachers make"........here it is,just a very small part of it and how big! on the other hand.
    Your first fan

  2. Loli, the preparations of this school year are really hard and I feel very touchy these days so you´ll never know how much I appreciate your comment right now.Thank you very much!
    It´s so nice to know people like my blog!


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