Sunday, April 11, 2010

PLEASE don't be a teacher

From Facebook, just now:

There's perhaps one sentence in all of that which doesn't make me cringe and whimper in fear at the future of our education system.  I'm fairly certain the last person to comment isn't a teacher, but there's a good chance all the rest are, as the OP (with whom I went to school) is a teacher and is talking about her job... (Full disclosure: this is the second version of that screen shot and this paragraph.  The first one had the third comment down singled out because of the egregious misuse of commas; when I went back to Facebook I saw it had grown so much worse I no longer felt comfortable pointing to just one.)

Neal Boortz goes off on Education majors on a routine basis.  I was going to paraphrase him, but here:

Our kids are being taught by the worst of the worst in their government schools. Check out the education school at most major universities. The freshmen who chose to pursue a degree in education come from the lowest level of the entering class; and those who go on to pursue a graduate degree in education come from the lowest ranks of their undergraduate class. This is how you get teachers sending home report cards that read "Johnny are learning to spell good."

This is a regular rant from him.  Thing is, I honestly didn't believe it.  Not, that is, until two things happened at the same time: 1) I went to college and 2) I enrolled my oldest daughter in school.

Number one introduced me to actual Education majors.  Almost immediately, what Boortz had said made sense.  The Education majors I've interacted with are nice enough (well, most of them), but not the brightest bulbs in the door.  As I mentioned her last semester, I had two Education majors in my Creative Writing course, and both said that they didn't have favorite authors because they didn't like to read.  The Education Department at my college will basically hold the hands of Education majors throughout the entire process.  These people don't have to register for classes on their own like the rest of us.  They don't have to go to the bookstore to hunt down their textbooks like the rest of us.  The department handles all that for them.

Number two introduced me to elementary school teachers.  I discovered early on that I was going to be that parent.  You know, the one who whips out the red pen and copy-edits all the notices sent home from school.  Who regularly corrects things the teacher has said.  Who has warned her daughters that anything their teachers say that sounds like bullshit probably is, and they need to run stuff by me first.  They don't like me too much at the girls' school, but thus far we haven't been asked to leave and not return.  (They go to a charter school, so I'm pretty sure they could do this.)

So I've gotta say, seeing this on Facebook doesn't really surprise me.  Quite frankly, Ana has only the barest grasp of spelling and grammar herself (as is patently obvious from that screen shot).  But it is depressing.  Why on EARTH don't we demand better from our teachers?  Especially elementary school teachers.

I realize it's de rigeur these days to complain about "teaching to the test," but here's the thing: teachers shouldn't have to teach to the test.  The TAKS test and its ilk are basic skills tests.  These basic skills are things which should be taught in elementary school.  Instead of bitching about the tests, why aren't we bitching about teachers so stupid they can't teach these basic skills?  Is it any freaking wonder we've got kids flunking the TAKS when this is what we've got teaching them?


Eowyn said...

It's not just Texas.

And pity the poor high school teacher who actually tries to teach math at the proper level in an advanced course.

Borepatch said...

Well, I was in College a long time ago, so I don't know if the situation is still the same, but that was my experience.

But combine that will powerful teacher's unions that make it impossible to fire the dead wood, and you guarantee disaster.

I saw somewhere (can't remember where, so I don't have a link) that adjusted for inflation it costs twice as much to educate a kid today as it did 30 years ago. It's hard to see that the education is any better, although a few, targeted areas (what used to be called "special ed") clearly are.

peter said...

Okay, miss smarty pants. Teachers may be dumb, but what the heck does this mean? "but not the brightest bulbs in the door." Just what kinda door is that?" lol

peter said...

Speaking of grammar, this is a quote from a teacher at MC's school who was talking about teachers using correct grammar around students, believe it or not.

"We know what we should be doing but we don't be doing what we should be doing."

That's emblematic of our great MS Delta education. lol Administrators suck here too. She had managed to convince a girl not to drop out of high school, then a couple weeks later she got kicked out. It's insane. All had to do with being out of the foster system. Sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

It's at all levels, even at university level.....people are now trying to blame cell phones and texting but I call BS. There, they're, and their (for example) are not used properly and no one seems to care. My son is in middle school and when I log onto Parent Connection to check his grades, the assignments FROM HIS ENGLISH TEACHER, no less, are frequently misspelled. I called her out on it at the beginning of the year, and she still posts errors. It's so frustrating, and I'm just thankful that my son reads a lot and can recognize mistakes in spelling and grammar. It's a totally big deal to me.