October 5, 2012

Where have all the good teachers gone?

Today is conference day at my kids' school.  For the first time, they are taking the entire day and dedicating it to meetings.  They call them 'goal setting' conferences and students are required to attend with their parents.

This is fun in kindergarten and fourth grade...we'll talk about realistic milestones and social development.  Most elementary level teachers I have ever met really enjoy their work.  They love kids.  They like to see the sort of tangible progress that is made as kids learn to read, write and create.

High school teachers suck the life out of me.  Okay, many of them are quite capable, but my kids have had at least one really shitty teacher per year since Boom was a freshman.  Last year it was an English teacher that asked questions that began, "Tell me what you think the author meant by...".

What she meant was, "Tell me what I think the author meant by..."  And she bled marking pen all over those who didn't think the way she did.

This year it is a testy little witch of a math teacher that will be at my mercy at 11:15 am today.  She has no ability to discern if children are learning the subject matter because she is so focused on her rigid classroom procedures.  And she said to me the one thing that drives me batshit crazy, "This is important so the student is prepared for...(the next level).   

Is that lesson number one at teacher school?  Anytime you question something at this level, we will claim it is necessary to get to the next level.  That is acceptable in generalities - sure, preschool is about preparation for kindergarten and primary school is preparation for secondary, secondary prepares for college and/or the work force, etc..  But it shouldn't be a pat answer for when you can't explain your teaching philosophy or methodology.

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

All I can say is that teachers are no different than any other professionals. If you take a look at ten different plumbers, I would guess that a couple of them would be outstanding, a couple would suck, and the rest would be adequate. Same distribution with teachers.

The problem is that if you don't like the service you get from a plumber, it's easy to switch to another one. Not so with teachers...