Category Archives: I have a stomach ache

Schools

We are so awful to teachers in this culture. Everyone thinks teachers hardly ever work and that they enjoy totally undeserved job security. Stop blaming teachers for the problems with our schools. Most teachers are excellent educators. They work hard planning lessons; collecting materials; considering the presentation of lessons; helping students master those materials; checking students’ grasp of materials through homework, projects, tests; marking said projects, homework and tests; and often leading an extracurricular activity or two. Many teachers spend their own money when school resources fall short.

There are teachers who have tenure who shouldn’t but a good peer review system can help with this problem. It is possible to end the contract of someone with tenure, but careful documentation is required. Tenure protects academic freedom, it always has. Otherwise school administrators could fire teachers when they didn’t like the ideas expressed or when a parent expressed displeasure, or on a whim. You have the years before tenure to appraise a teacher’s effectiveness. Life does happen,however, and teachers may need help adjusting after certain personal and professional traumas. Whenever money gets tight we go after teachers and teacher’s unions. This is a terrible trend. It allows parents and students to pin all the evils of school failure on teachers.

Public school for everyone is incredibly important to the health of a society but perhaps we all start to take the availability for granted. School starts to seem like less of a privilege. I’m not saying we should make school attendance more competitive but I’m saying we need to keep the idea of school fresh, and exciting somehow. Students who have free access to school tend to experience the school-as-prison syndrome and often act out accordingly. There is an awful lot of psychology involved in education, but not a lot of psychologists. Schools have children from the age of 4 until the age of 18. The strongest value of having a psychological partnership with schools would be during puberty. Creative idea like schools that are more like camps or schools that are more like laboratories or seminars or community internships might be worth exploring.

In other words, I think we have gotten blase about our schools because we are spoiled by our bounty.

If an area of our country is really losing population how can we expect to keep all the same services? Are we sure some cuts aren’t appropriate? Have the numbers of students really fallen or haven’t they.