Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What the teachers say

US teachers more interested in reform than money
By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press Writer
– Tue Mar 2, 2010
SEATTLE – U.S. teachers are more interested in school reform and student achievement than their paychecks, according to a massive new survey.
Most value non-monetary rewards, such as time to collaborate with other teachers and a supportive school leadership, over higher salaries. Only 28 percent felt performance pay would have a strong impact and 30 percent felt performance pay would have no impact at all.
At least one of my loyal readers teaches high school social studies, and has expressed on his blog his own view of "teaching to the test"... and the tendency of "the test" to expand willy-nilly.
PM is one of our local curmudgeons. He's a bright, dedicated teacher - the sort you'd be happy to know your kid was in his class. The sort you'd have been happy to have had yourself in high school.

Me? The prospect of facing 20-30 teens, a different bunch every hour, day after day... well - I really love math and think I've some ability to convey my love to others... but I've never overcome the dread of facing those 20-30 teens, most of whom I believe would prefer a root canal to factoring polynomials.

My own memories of public education - at least the academics - are positive. I can still name my elementary school teachers... and remember most of them fondly. Jr. High? Well - the 'social' aspects come close to overwhelming any memory of academics, but I still can praise Mr. Lipe (7th grade math), Miss Cleek (8th grade English), Mr. Nolan (9th grade algebra), Mrs. Baranoff (9th grade English), and Mr. Felible (9th grade biology). ... and there's even Miss Gifford - the stereotypical spinster who taught 8th grade Civics & Economics - my knowledge of the U.S. Constitution is derived from her class (and the wonderful little book used as a text: "Your Rugged Constitution").

10th grade is a blur, but Mrs. Reedy (11th grade English), Mr. Harrison (11th & 12th grade math), Mr. Mitchell (12th grade history), Mr. Charles (11th grade history, and French)... these were dedicated professionals who more-than-adequately prepared me for college, grad school, and life.

Am I surprised to learn that today's teachers are less concerned with $$$ than with other, less tangible remuneration?
I suspect most of these folks entered the profession because they thought they could make a difference. They loved their subjects, and wanted to share that love with others.

So... when will we stop bad-mouthing teachers?
... and when will we start recognizing them for their contributions?
Without 'em, where would we be???

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words. I'll post about this in a little bit. Looks like you were pulling an all nighter.