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Saturday, March 11, 2017

The teachers they're just lazy

The teachers they're just lazy
Barry Lane, has this beautiful song about his favorite teacher, Miss Foley. It's a beautiful tribute to what it means to be a teacher. There is a bit of satire in one of the lines in the song. "The teachers they're just lazy, that's what people say, they baby sit until 3:00, and then their home all day, think of those vacations all that time away."
He put it there to reflect the growing lack of respect for teachers that has become popular these days.
Then it's goes on to show his teacher love....
"Miss Foley never married,
She never had offspring,
Unless you count the 600 she cheered on to sing,
We rarely come to visit her,
We hardly ever write,
But she follows us around each day,
And sits with us each night.
...If I never had a teacher,
Who would I be today?"
If you want to understand how important teachers are? Then all should study Barry Lane's work, or walk a mile in their shoes for 10-12 years. You know you really don't know someone until you walk in their shoes. Helen Caldecott, an Australian physician and author said this about teachers: “Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.”

Teachers who are they?
At 61, I have walked many miles in these teacher shoes of mine. Something has changed over the years in my humble opinion. It used to be when I said I was a teacher, people called me a saint, but something is different now. For the past decade and half, it has become popular with policy makers, legislators, and our nation's CEO(s) to ridicule, blame, and disrespect teachers. Who are these often underpaid and unappreciated teachers? Our policy makers, billionaires, and many legislators have continuously worked to make it harder to become a teacher. While at the same time working diligently pass regulations and legislation to ensure private charter schools don't have to follow the same teaching standards.
You can talk to veteran teachers, try asking them if they are encouraging any of their children or friends to become teachers? There was a time I encouraged people to become teachers. These days, I am quiet as are many others.
A decade and half of growing disrespect for teachers is about to lead to the biggest teacher shortest in American Public Education history. What are our legislators, policy makers, and billionaires doing to prevent that shortest? Making it harder to become teachers. They are rewarding their campaign contributors with new alternative quick route programs for teachers, like Teach For America, and other quick paths to teaching.

Perhaps after they finish destroying the teaching profession, and our public schools they'll start on the medical profession.
You Know a Doctor for America five-week summer program, and then learn as you go on the operating table.
Do they really need to take that Medical School Admissions test?
Do they really need to medical school?
Who needs that silly medical residency anyway?
Once they destroy medical education. I forgot they'll call it privatization. Then you can trust every doctor will be ready to learn on you, your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. You know can trust the privatization to maximized their profit margin. As for you well, just them.

Back to teachers
After having as gone through rigorous under graduate teacher preparation, spending hundreds of filed placement hours in classroom, student teaching, and passing three different high-stakes standardized exams they will get their initial certification for teaching. Then most states like Connecticut require a master's degree for your professional certification.
What does that master's degree experience look like? This morning I am proctoring our Literacy Master's Degree exam this morning. These teachers are about to graduate. There are 24 dedicated teachers sitting down to our three-hour exam with no true or false questions, or multiple-choice one. They will spend three hours answering just two questions based on a diagnostic case scenario of a struggling reader that changes for each exam. The case might involve a special education learner, an English Language Learner student, a student struggling academically, and can be any student in any grade from Pre-K to 12. We mix those scenarios each time, but rest assured our teachers have been well prepared for which ever diagnostic case scenario comes up.
Once they get the case:
They critically examine, analyze, and evaluate data from multiple sources, 

Develop an intervention plan,
A plan that is individually unique, and
Linguistically, socially, culturally, racially relevant to this child.

Then, they will explain how they will implement, advocate and communicate their plan to students, parents, teachers, support staff, and administrator’s advocacy and best practice research. Each teacher must support their answer using best practice research and their professionals. That's just question number one, trust me it's a kick-ass question. The second question changes from year to year, but it's another kick-ass question. Teachers in our program spend 2-3 years taking advance graduate courses, studying, answering research questions, taking in class exams, writing research papers, creating and developing special projects demonstrating their abilities to apply what they are learning, working individually, collaboratively with other teachers and professionals, provide 100 of hours of free tutoring, and writing in-depth case studies demonstrating real time application of the diagnostic instruments they are learning about, and developing and administering research-based interventions to various type of learners. The out of pocket cost for this degree at Central Connecticut State University is roughly 25,000 plus dollars. That is a deal, because we are a public university. At a private university, the cost is at least double, and in some cases triple. Our teachers also have to pass another state challenging high-stakes standardized exam to be certified as well.

Time to turn the computers and lights off
Three hours later they all gone, I have uploaded their exams using numbers rather than names for the purpose of blind reviewing. I have printed two copies each for every exam, and attached the scoring rubrics as well. I have known these teachers for nearly three years, I love each and every one. I have come to see their gifts and talents in practice, you know the important stuff that no exams could ever measure. During that time, they have amazed me, lifted many struggling young readers, and inspired me to give my best every day.
Its time log out of the computers, and turn off the lights. I can't help feeling our legislators, policy makers, education reformers, and nation's CEO's are doing more harm than good to our children, our public schools, and to our nation's teachers.
Lately, more and more I find myself listening to Barry Lane whose music seems to record every hurt being done to America's children and teachers. Still, I find myself singing Barry Lane's Miss Foley song, but feeling sick each time that satirical line comes up: "The teachers they're just lazy, that's what people say, they baby sit until 3:00, and then their home all day, think of those vacations, all that time away"
So, America take it from the man who has fought this insanity that reduces education to test scores, pits poor school against poor school, and gives away billions to CEOs who can break every rule. Teachers are busy as hell, doing their best with broken education reform policies that are destroying their profession. The problem is not our teachers, but our legislators, policy makers, and profiteers who are crushing hope, empathy, humanity more and more each day.
A view from the trenches,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you want to listen to the song that inspire my morning walk today? Its Barry Lane "If you never had a teacher"

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