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Calling all teachers

Created on: 07/13/15 09:19 PM Views: 1059 Replies: 2
Calling all teachers
Posted Monday, July 13, 2015 09:19 PM

I am interested in hearing stories, thoughts, insights on teaching and our educational system from classmates who have worked in this field.

I received my teaching credential when I graduated from college; however, I didn't start teaching in public schools until 1998. I taught at Alameda High School in the comfortable island community of Alameda, located by Oakland, CA until I retired in 2011. I often had flashbacks about our high school days at Heights and thoughts about what it must have been like for our teachers.  Was there a teacher's union? I must admit the only teacher I remember is Mr. Miller. I never saw teachers as individuals. I thought their lives were all about teaching and after working in education, I know there was some truth to my observation. I had enough work as a teacher to keep me busy 24/7. California is one of the largest economies in the World but is at the bottom of money spent per student. Sadly I came to the conclusion that I received a better education at Heights than my students received. I was prepared for college but not for the real world. But wasn't that our families responsibility after all? If my students were successful after graduattion, it had more to do with their "street smarts" than what they learned  during their 12 years of public education. I look forward to hearing about your experiences and having an ongoing dialogue on this topic with my peers.

RE: Calling all teachers
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 08:07 PM

Hi Judi. I taught at Taylor after graduations from college. There were still a few teachers there that had been there when I was in school. Yes, there was a union. If I remember correctly, we were represented by the association, but after a vote, switched to the union.  Back then I taught 2nd grade. I put in a lot of time out of regular hours, but I loved it and felt like I was really teaching. 

Life happened. I taught 8th grade remedial reading in Euclid. I loved that, too, until the testing started. In the beginning, some of my kids passed. As time went on, they arrived at lower levels of comprehension. fewer kids passed the tests, and I got hassled about it. That is what made me retire. The community was quite transient whcih contributed to the issues of my students. 

The last thing that was upsetting was the quality of many new teachers, not all. Our pay scale was lower than other places, and our administrators hired some unusual candidates. 

I think we need pre-school for all. We also need to make it harder to become a teacher. Poor colleges of education should be closed. 

RE: Calling all teachers
Posted Saturday, June 2, 2018 02:46 AM

Three years later:

...and we're still watching the decline of public schools.  I've observed it quite closely, for I was a substitute teacher in the New Haven, CT public schools and for several school systems in the wilds of southeastern Ohio.  And the situation has not improved a bit: teachers continue to be trained in some truly rotten education programs (I've taught, or attempted to teach, science courses at several of these hard-luck colleges) and most are hardly the brightest kids to begin with.  Administrators tend to be small-time dictators, essentially because they're also poorly educated and thus don't know any better.  And I regret to say that the unions aren't much help. 

It's not the kids' fault, but when they grow up to be parents they propagate the low expectations and general lack of respect for education.  School (especially math and physics, which I specialized in) is a rite of passage, an ordeal to which you are subjected by tribal elders but which is otherwise meaningless.  

I think we will figure it out some day, but it'll get worse before it gets better.  Our universities have, in general, forgotten what undergraduate education ought to accomplish and have accordingly adopted a business model that would shame a casino owner.  The kids understand this and are staying away, and I predict that we'll see the weaker institutions get still weaker and finally close down altogether within the next few years. 

But the kids are still bright and funny and adaptable, and they'll find their own way through the wreckage we've created.  Thus it's never too late.

Mark Kinsler  Lancaster, Ohio