kitchen table math, the sequel: Smart Teachers in Stupid Schools, part 2

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Smart Teachers in Stupid Schools, part 2

more from teacher Christine:
Progressive educators would like to promote a more democratic society advocating greater equity, justice, diversity and other democratic values, yet their methodologies do just the opposite, with "Fuzzy Math" and "Whole Language" causing lesser privileged students who can't afford tutoring to fall way behind. NYC has 70% of its student population in this category. Imagine how devastating to the morale and sense of self-esteem the use of poor curriculums can have on a child's psyche. These students subjected to these methods grow to believe they can't do anything; they are labeled as special needs children and become distraught that they are not mentally capable of becoming educated. Many are just pushed through the system because there is no where else for them to go. Progressivism which is trying to enforce some kind of social agenda, rather than purely impart knowledge, is causing many students to fail and teachers to become distraught and despondent.

What do teachers who refuse to follow the leader do? Many shut their doors and pull out the curriculum they know works. I know of teachers who, when whole language is being implemented by the district, will use their phonics programs undercover. Teachers will set up look-outs in the hall to see if supervisors are coming and drill students in what to do should a supervisor show up. I have had my students open their "readers" and put in the phonics books I'm using inside. "If someone comes you take the book slide it in your desk and pretend you're reading." I've instructed.
Smart Teachers in Stupid Schools


Catherine Johnson said...

For some reason, I'm having trouble including a link to Christine's 'rant.' (I'm sick as a dog today, so that may account for it...)

If the link doesn't work -- or stops working -- Google "Smart Teachers in Stupid Schools."

This is an important essay.

C T said...

Teachers like these are my heroes.

Debbie Stier said...

I always say, the litmus test for a great educator is their willingness to break a rule. I've come across THREE in my 20 years' worth of experience with educators (combined children years). The rule breakers are rare.

And on a barely related note, one of the many joys I've discovered as a newbie tv owner, is 30 Rock. I'm totally addicted and have gone back to the beginning to watch every episode.

The other night I saw one where Lemon wins an award for "Best Follower" -- which made me laugh. Having spent many years in corporate American, my big take away is that the best followers win the most. Occasionally there's an exception (Work Hard Be Nice), but not often.

(I was never a good follower.)

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

The link you were trying to post is

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

Oops. The link you meant was

I got confused by a post that pointed to the right one, but was badly formatted to look like the title and author were the real thing.

Reblogging to produce bad Google searches is one of those nasty side effects of the Web 2.0 tools.

Catherine Johnson said...

Lemon wins an award for "Best Follower

That is hysterical!!

I'm very tempted to tell the story of our First Parent-Teacher Conference ever (or, rather, our First Parent-Teacher Conference in which the subject was our one normally-developing child), but I won't!

Catherine Johnson said...

Right, this should be the link:

Sad tale said...

I lucked out my first year teaching (though I didn't realize by how much at the time, since the whole situation was so stressful). I taught in a high poverty, urban middle school, co-teaching with a special ed teacher, since I had all the kids with IEPs in 2 grades of math.

BUT, we had a principal with years of experience who had been a special ed teacher to start. So she shielded us from the horrible curriculum (I can't begin to describe how horrible -- in middle school it was just plain old Connected Math, but in elementary they've mixed together EM and other bright ideas in some sort of committee-induced hallucination of teaching -- for 90 minute chunks of math at a time) and told us to teach so that kids got it.

We practiced, we came up with simple lists of instruction, we demonstrated, etc. Scores went up.

For my second year, we had a new principal, trained by the district, lover of the curriculum. I lasted 2.5 months (her grasp of the need for clear and firm discipline was missing, as well). I couldn't get up there every day and do something that was stupid and wrong and watch the kids not learning. I wasn't good enough as a second year teacher to fake it, to teach them how to pretend (and we had lots of walk-throughs).

So. I left, in fear that I'd get a dreaded unsatisfactory and never teach again...though in today's market, that may well happen anyway!