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What teachers really want to tell parents

iLander

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I didn't read all the posts, but wanted to add this concept

"What the other parents want to tell you about your kid"


My DD tells me everything about her classmates; I know who is sexually active, who's doing drugs, who's gay and hasn't come out yet, which boys are "pervy" on dates, etc. I meet a lot of snobby, rude parents and I just smirk, because I know a LOT about their kid.

I suspect the teachers have all this info too, since it's a small school and there's got to be gossip. If I were one of these teachers, I'm afraid I'd spill the beans in a parent-teacher conference! Or maybe I'd just blackmail junior :naughty: :lol:

I think parents need to be a little more humble about themselves and their child, and take a teacher's advice. But, honestly, I don't think society is like that anymore. There is very little humility and even less integrity. . .
 

chemgirl

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AmeliaG|1315440932|3012139 said:
That sucks chemgirl. Its like the system is encouraging students to attend less strenuous schools.

It all gets sorted out in the end. I found my first year of undergrad to be a breeze. I already knew how to study and complete complex homework assignments. My friends at the easier schools struggled a lot before they hit their stride. I don't really know how an application process can be completely fair. It seems like no matter what, somebody's going to be frustrated.
 

iugurl

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If my child was accused of doing something, I would at least ask what happened from their viewpoint. I am not sure why that would be undermining the teacher... Who only listens to one side of the story? I am not saying I would believe the child over the teacher or assume the teacher is lying, but come on, I would at least listen to my child's story.
 

Pandora II

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I don't know about the USA, but certainly here in the UK it is the truth that a large quota of the people who go into teaching are either women who like the way it will fit round their own kids, or those who haven't been able to get a good career in their original sector and are enticed by the 'golden hello' offered by the government to go into teaching. The grades required to get into teaching courses are also minimal compared with other courses - and over 40% of those doing teaching degrees hate it so much by the end that they go and do something else.

Having suffered at school with a few teachers who were less than professional I would ALWAYS ask my child for their side of the story. Teachers are not gods, they are people with the same prejudices as everyone else. I am the first to say if my child is being a PITA and don't see her as an angel that can do no wrong, but at the same time she is my kid and I will defend her against anything that I deem as unfair. I had parents who always took the teachers side and often it wasn't the right thing to do.

I am quite sure that plenty of teachers in the future will hate the sight of me - I don't care, they are there to give my child a good education and just as I expect them to pick my child up for bad behaviour and bad work, I will be doing exactly the same to them if I feel that they are failing in their role.
 

dragonfly411

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iugurl|1315447101|3012244 said:
If my child was accused of doing something, I would at least ask what happened from their viewpoint. I am not sure why that would be undermining the teacher... Who only listens to one side of the story? I am not saying I would believe the child over the teacher or assume the teacher is lying, but come on, I would at least listen to my child's story.


I think one of the main points is not to immediately turn from the teacher and ask the kid in front of the teacher with that sort of tone. I.E. Make it a conversation of "Well, would you mind if we sat down with Little Lucy and asked her to tell her side so we can see if maybe there is a meeting point in solving the problem?"... much more constructive and makes the child take responsibility too. Parents are so stuck on their babies being SO innocent, and SO perfect, they just can do NO wrong... "My Bobby would NEVER", oh but wait, he probably did.
 

ksinger

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dragonfly411|1315486535|3012609 said:
iugurl|1315447101|3012244 said:
If my child was accused of doing something, I would at least ask what happened from their viewpoint. I am not sure why that would be undermining the teacher... Who only listens to one side of the story? I am not saying I would believe the child over the teacher or assume the teacher is lying, but come on, I would at least listen to my child's story.


I think one of the main points is not to immediately turn from the teacher and ask the kid in front of the teacher with that sort of tone. I.E. Make it a conversation of "Well, would you mind if we sat down with Little Lucy and asked her to tell her side so we can see if maybe there is a meeting point in solving the problem?"... much more constructive and makes the child take responsibility too. Parents are so stuck on their babies being SO innocent, and SO perfect, they just can do NO wrong... "My Bobby would NEVER", oh but wait, he probably did.

No matter how gently you tell them, no matter who is in attendance at the meeting, the stories of parents steadfastly in denial that their child is doing...whatever, and who make endless excuses for them, would fill several volumes. One parent my husband met with was upset that he was failing her darling and whining loudly, because his parole officer would be upset. :-o I guess that's a helicopter parent of sorts, but wow....
 

AmeliaG

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ksinger, are you a teacher? How do you handle a parent that just doesn't get it? I know from listening to my mom's stories that some parents she just gave up on and considered them obstacles. She focused her attention on the kids instead without having to deal with their parents any more than necessary. It didn't always work - some kids were the product of an abusive/neglectful home environment - but other kids she could reach - especially those whose parents were just overzealous about fighting their kids' battles for them. Some kids were embarassed by their parents and mom used that to her advantage in working with the kids.

It's tough though when parents insist on seeing teachers as adversaries.
 

Haven

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AmeliaG|1315490266|3012660 said:
ksinger, are you a teacher? How do you handle a parent that just doesn't get it? I know from listening to my mom's stories that some parents she just gave up on and considered them obstacles. She focused her attention on the kids instead without having to deal with their parents any more than necessary. It didn't always work - some kids were the product of an abusive/neglectful home environment - but other kids she could reach - especially those whose parents were just overzealous about fighting their kids' battles for them. Some kids were embarassed by their parents and mom used that to her advantage in working with the kids.

It's tough though when parents insist on seeing teachers as adversaries.
And vice versa.

I didn't respond to this thread earlier because I wanted to collect my thoughts, and I didn't want to fire off a post when I was still feeling insulted by some of its content.

However, after thinking about this I've come to this conclusion: We (teachers) need to stop seeing parents as adversaries, and parents need to stop seeing teachers as adversaries. It's amazing how the very groups that should be banding together to effect real change in the system are instead focusing on publicly vilifying each other. Parents against teachers. Teachers against parents. Society against teachers. Everyone against students. It's insane.

I don't know about legislators and administrators, but I do know that teachers and parents share the same goal: to support student success. I wish we could at least start with that, and move forward knowing that whatever actions the other group takes, they are doing it in the students' best interest.

Yes, some parent behaviors obstruct teacher ability to support their students. (Helicopter parents and absent parents, alike.) Yes, some teacher behaviors make it difficult for parents to trust that they have the students' best interest at heart. But these are either exceptions to the rule, or just misguided individuals who are only doing what they think is best for the students. As long as we keep on pointing our fingers at each other, we can never truly serve our students.

And students aren't the bad guys, either. I know plenty of blame gets focused on them, as well.
 

Aoife

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Haven|1315494136|3012700 said:
And vice versa.

I didn't respond to this thread earlier because I wanted to collect my thoughts, and I didn't want to fire off a post when I was still feeling insulted by some of its content.

However, after thinking about this I've come to this conclusion: We (teachers) need to stop seeing parents as adversaries, and parents need to stop seeing teachers as adversaries. It's amazing how the very groups that should be banding together to effect real change in the system are instead focusing on publicly vilifying each other. Parents against teachers. Teachers against parents. Society against teachers. Everyone against students. It's insane.

I don't know about legislators and administrators, but I do know that teachers and parents share the same goal: to support student success. I wish we could at least start with that, and move forward knowing that whatever actions the other group takes, they are doing it in the students' best interest.

Yes, some parent behaviors obstruct teacher ability to support their students. (Helicopter parents and absent parents, alike.) Yes, some teacher behaviors make it difficult for parents to trust that they have the students' best interest at heart. But these are either exceptions to the rule, or just misguided individuals who are only doing what they think is best for the students. As long as we keep on pointing our fingers at each other, we can never truly serve our students.

And students aren't the bad guys, either. I know plenty of blame gets focused on them, as well.

This.

And if we are being totally honest here, when I initially read the article, the tone of it made me think of something we used to joke about in Special Ed. The burnout rate as a special ed teacher is phenomenal, and frequently the best teachers seem to be the ones who burn out the fastest. When there was a teacher who was perpetually angry (at students, admin., parents, The System) and it started spilling over into the way s/he taught and her general attitude, we used to joke that the teacher had "passed his sell-by date." In other words, it was time to get out of the field, or go to a regular ed focus. That's what the tone of the original article reminded me of: it might be time for the writer of that article to consider other career options. Parents are not the enemy. Students are not the enemy. And if you think they are, how much of your attitude is creating the very problems you are seeing?
 

zoebartlett

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Haven|1315405923|3011570 said:
So, so true.

When I feel down about teaching, I read this blog:
http://teacherofthefrickinyear.blogspot.com/

I agree with a lot of what the article said. I love Ron Clark. I don't teach at the same level he does, so some of his points are ones that I don't see at my grade level. I've heard similar stories from coworkers who teach the upper grades though.

Haven, I've never seen that blog. I really like it!
 

zoebartlett

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Aoife|1315424723|3011925 said:
dragonfly411|1315421869|3011866 said:
Aoife - What child is going to go home and tell their parents they acted up in class? Of course the teacher would bring it up to a parent in a parent teacher conference.


I suppose there are quite a few who wouldn't! But your last sentence is interesting to me, because one of the things I learned in all that moving around is that not all schools or school districts handle communication with parents in the same way. For some schools/school districts, an annual parent-teacher conference might well be the sole contact that a teacher has with the parents. It's not the norm in all schools, however. Our DD's were in several different school districts in different parts of the country, and we had regular communication to and from their teachers--we would have been amazed if the P/T conference was the first time we had ever heard about any classroom shenanigans. It created a lot of extra work for those teachers. On the other hand, it certainly tended to nip problems in the bud. It created a sense of partnership with the parents rather than an adversarial relationship, which is the sense I am getting from the linked article.

I agree with Aoife. I'm an elementary teacher, and if I waited until our annual conference in Nov. to bring up issues (behavior and/or otherwise), I'd be pretty neglectful in my job. It's best to communicate with parents often throughout the year, for both positive and negative issues.
 

Arkteia

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When my son complained that the speech teacher "did not like him" (my son) and gave him poor grades, I looked at the teacher at teachers-parents conference. I immediately saw why they disliked each other, but I said to my son, "you see, in your life, you may meet a teacher who does not like you, a professor who does not like you, or a difficult boss. If you do not learn to deal with people now, you'll never learn". After that, he never complained. He got a "C" in speech (the only "C" during his high school); I made him retake the class during summertime and he got an "A". And since that time, he never complained of teachers "being bad" or "disliking" him. It would have been so easy to say, "yeah, you are right, I see why he doesn't like you, he is just an unsuccessful (initial profession) with a huge ego", and I would have given my son the excuse to blame everything on the teacher! And then, on everyone else in this world. This is how it starts.
 

Inkblot

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As a secondary educator with dual certification, a master's degree, and current enrollment in a PhD program, I find some of the blanket generalizations aimed at teachers to be insulting and infuriating. I am not some flunkie who couldn't hack it in "tougher" college classes. In fact, most of my co-workers are some of the most intellectually brilliant individuals I've ever encountered.

At my university, teachers were not even permitted to declare their major until they finished two years of general education courses with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher. My brother is an electrical engineer, my mother is a physician, and my boyfriend is a mechanical engineer. Not one of them had a 3.5 or above in the very same classes my fellow educators completed.

Secondly, the teaching field for public school in my state is extremely competitive. The average posting for a contractual position receives over 3,000 applicants. To even be asked back for a second interview is akin to being canonized.

Next, my state requires that ALL teaching professionals have a master's degree to maintain their position after six years. I know of no other occupation on the planet that requires its practitioners to pay for a master's degree with minimal/zero reimbursement to merely keep working there. After that six year window, each educator must take at least two college courses every five years on their own dime (this may vary district to district).

Out of my 78 colleagues, 62 haves master's degrees (some have two!) in various disciplines, and some are even referred to as Dr. So-and-So. Soon, I hope to finish my PhD, but it' proves treacherous to balance 178 high school kids, their discourse, standardized testing, ornery parents, my mandated continuing education, conferences, meetings, and grading papers well into the night whilst working full time and trying to build my dissertation. I try to fit having a life in there somewhere, too.

And you know what? Nearly ALL of my faculty friends and administrators are doing the exact same thing and making pennies for it in comparison to what our education would garner us in the corporate world. Not only are we teachers, but we also fill in for the parents who can't get their crap together enough to be actual parents. It's only the second week of school and I've already had three teenage girls come and talk to me about personal issues (read: suicide, sex, drugs) because they can't talk to their own mothers, or their parents don't care enough to be involved in their child's life.

It is so, so insulting to hear the public vilify teachers as good-for-nothing, unionized slouches who merely want a great schedule for child-rearing and summers off. I break my back to come up with creative lessons for a classroom full of 21st Century learners with vastly different academic needs; I lose sleep over students who I know will go home and suffer abuse; I have more education than most CEOs--and my classes were no cakewalk, thankyouverymuch--; I influence more lives in a single year than most people will touch in a lifetime; I spend hours of my personal time tutoring; my summers are NOT my own, as I'm forever enrolled in classes trying to keep my job or teaching summer school; and if all of that weren't enough...

I constantly have to defend my professional status to ignorant, judgmental people who think I'm only a teacher because I couldn't do anything else!

I could do anything I wanted; I graduated 4th in my class from a large public high school and went to college on scholarship.

But you know what I wanted to do most?

Make a difference.

What have YOU done lately?
 

dragonfly411

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inkblot - I'm glad that you visited this thread, because it offers out the idea of what teachers SHOULD be. Unfortunately your level of dedication and education is not the norm everywhere else. In my area, you can attend a junior college for a four year degree and be teaching. It varies based on the area, which sucks because people like yourself are what should be the norm in teaching, not just in certain areas, but EVERYWHERE.
 

iheartscience

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dragonfly411|1315857231|3015938 said:
inkblot - I'm glad that you visited this thread, because it offers out the idea of what teachers SHOULD be. Unfortunately your level of dedication and education is not the norm everywhere else. In my area, you can attend a junior college for a four year degree and be teaching. It varies based on the area, which sucks because people like yourself are what should be the norm in teaching, not just in certain areas, but EVERYWHERE.

Junior colleges only offer 2 year degrees-that's why they're called junior colleges. So I don't think you quite have your facts straight. And the majority of teachers I had were dedicated, intelligent individuals who for some reason loved teaching a room full of bratty kids.

Great post, InkBlot.
 

MissStepcut

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Teaching reminds me a lot more of law than of medicine. There are a lot of people of vastly varying quality in both fields, and the extremely bad and extremely good of both capture the attention of the public. The majority of both, of course, will be somewhere in the middle.
 

dragonfly411

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thing2of2|1315858416|3015957 said:
dragonfly411|1315857231|3015938 said:
inkblot - I'm glad that you visited this thread, because it offers out the idea of what teachers SHOULD be. Unfortunately your level of dedication and education is not the norm everywhere else. In my area, you can attend a junior college for a four year degree and be teaching. It varies based on the area, which sucks because people like yourself are what should be the norm in teaching, not just in certain areas, but EVERYWHERE.

Junior colleges only offer 2 year degrees-that's why they're called junior colleges. So I don't think you quite have your facts straight. And the majority of teachers I had were dedicated, intelligent individuals who for some reason loved teaching a room full of bratty kids.

Great post, InkBlot.

Thing2 - Perhaps I meant community college? The college I currently attend is working towards an actual "college" status, they offer a 4 year program in teaching, nursing and zoology but I THINK those are their only 4 year programs right now. Does that make sense? I'm going based on what I know of the school. I do know that another smaller college gained the name "Florida Gateway College" recently and offers I think four 4 year programs.

I had many teachers who were exactly as you said, intelligent and dedicated to their jobs. I also had some that didn't seem to have direction, and didn't really seem like they were 100% there the entire time. I had some who really had no idea what they were doing. You could tell the difference, and it was also reflected in the students' grades many times. I think that true teachers really do TEACH and help students to absorb what they should be learning in any way they can. Others just gear them to some tests, get them by, and send them on their way. I've experienced both.
 

swimmer

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Some communities decide that they want low property taxes, others decide that they want an excellent education for their children. You get one or the other.

I've conducted professional development all over the US, attended HS down south and teach in New England. All children deserve an excellent education, but why would top students who know that teachers get so little respect from parents, coupled such small salaries in the low property taxes areas choose to go into education? Even if we keep the conversation about education just between those of us in the US, our local realities differ so widely that it is almost impossible to agree on common ground.

Dragon Fly, education in FLA has been an unfunded joke for a very long time. I believe you that lower tier community colleges are being allowed to churn out diplomas to students who are ill prepared. Who wants to work for 22k with a masters degree? Oh and no hope of raises, the fear of being fired at any time in your first three years, (after tenure it only takes 3 negative evaluations, but that would take an administrator with brains/balls/whatever and those are rare), and paying into a pension that isn't going to be around for you to take advantage of? I feel badly for those who really want to teach there, maybe they can find a town that is less hostile to intellectual pursuits than the state seems to be. FLA isn't alone of course, but your elected officials have made it clear that he has a strong disdain for anyone in the profession.

I work my butt off for my kids and their parents and our community. No, parents aren't teachers' enemies, but the mom last week who wouldn't let her daughter get services to help her dyslexia because she didn't want her daughter to be in a class with "those kids," really does beat the band. For the record, there is no such thing as "those kids" my district is fully integrated- I have students with Aspergers in AP, students with NVLD submit their assignments orally via their iPads, we use software so that many students can listen to readings while reading along, others have texts in their native languages (over 50 are spoken at my school), and we gnashed our teeth over the three students who last year had to re-take the state test because they failed. We will do better next year! A failure rate of .7 is not acceptable! Even when our state test is so much harder than every single other state test and our state is now being compared to other countries rather than other states on the "report card" tests. ETA: I care and I get paid to care. My salary is great and allows me to focus on teaching rather than busing tables at night. Summers off let me travel the world and study there so as to bring the world to my students. This is not possible when teachers are not paid enough to feed their families.

Inkblot had some great points. I've been working on my dissertation for 4 yrs now, just finishing up and deciding that I am going to continue in public education. You have to find where your greatest love and the world's greatest need meet and for me, that is right here in a public school classroom. Many of my colleagues have PhDs, all of us have masters degrees, mostly in our subject areas. I'm no nun, and if you want excellent teachers with high expectations for your students, you have to pay them. That is what I really want to tell taxpayers. Parents know what I want to tell them. I call or email all the time. With good news and bad, both congratulations and concerns.
 

ksinger

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And I've pretty much bowed out of this discussion. My blood-pressure goes up in these threads. The unconscious contempt is palpable at times. Heck, my husband even gets it in real life - FRIENDS will casually drop the old saw that those who can DO, those who can't, teach. Happened just the other night as a matter of fact.

Carry on. I'll just read according to my intestinal fortitude of the moment.
 

Circe

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I say this as a former student and a current member of the teaching profession: I've had a lot more issues with incompetent teachers than I have with helicopter parents. I may have simply been exceptionally lucky in my decade+ of teaching, but I've never had a single parent interfere with my relationship with their adult child.

However, in the second grade, I had a teacher who thought it was appropriate that I be "shunned" by the class for the cardinal sin of not being able to find my homework in my desk immediately.

In the fifth grade, I had a teacher who became terribly offended when she told us we had to write down 45 words a day from our summer reading that we did not recognize, and when I asked her, in all seriousness, what she would like us to do if we did not encounter so many unfamiliar words, she puffed up, said that she, as an adult, frequently came across words she did not know, and was I saying I was smarter than she was? (Well ....)

In the seventh grade, when I was being bullied so badly that I was being physically attacked on a regular basis, I had a guidance counselor suggest that I be seated in a circle of my peers who so that they could tell me exactly what I was doing to provoke their dislike of me.

And that's not even getting into the times that, as a professor of English teaching classes geared at Ed. majors, I've heard absolutely appalling statements concerning everyone from "sissies" on out. (Yes, I whip out the riot act when this happens: no, I'm not deluded enough to believe that my 15-minute lecture, or even my 4-month term of lecturing, will necessarily undo a lifetime of prejudice.)

And so on, and so forth. God bless my mom for transferring me in the first case, looking blankly at the teacher who tried to call basic intelligence a behavioral problem in the second case, and flatly asking which clown college had granted the counselor certification in the third case.

And god bless her for kicking my ass when I was failing my math classes, shirking my PSAT prep, and allowing my personal differences with a high school teacher to get in the way of learning what I needed, so I'd have the preparation to deal with all the situations that arise in the fourth case, 'cause her shades-of-grey approach may have been the most valuable example she set.

The situation isn't nearly as black-and-white as Clark makes it seem. No, parents should not prioritize paper success over actual learning: nor should they trust complete strangers over their kids, some of whom are competent and some of whom are ... not. I think Inkblot's post is absolute genius, and Inkblot, I wish all of my students were like her. The sad fact is, they aren't. Some of them have been failed by a flawed system, which they will now be repaying in kind.

We need to raise salaries for educators, so we can attract the best candidates: we need to raise standards for educators, to arrest the cycle in its tracks. And along the way, we need to find a balance between authoritarianism for the sake of authoritarianism within a system we know to be flawed, and infantalizing the next generation by kowtowing to their every whim. Case-by-case basis, I say, but given personal experience? Unless my kid demonstrates a sociopathic streak, methinks I'll be hearing his side of things before I automatically trust the overworked, underpaid stranger. Doing so isn't a sign of disrespect or a challenge to their authority, after all ... not once you get outside of our bizarre all-or-nothing contemporary American mindset. Good lord, whatever happened to common sense ....
 

MissStepcut

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Inkblot|1315623486|3014180 said:
As a secondary educator with dual certification, a master's degree, and current enrollment in a PhD program, I find some of the blanket generalizations aimed at teachers to be insulting and infuriating. I am not some flunkie who couldn't hack it in "tougher" college classes. In fact, most of my co-workers are some of the most intellectually brilliant individuals I've ever encountered.

At my university, teachers were not even permitted to declare their major until they finished two years of general education courses with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher. My brother is an electrical engineer, my mother is a physician, and my boyfriend is a mechanical engineer. Not one of them had a 3.5 or above in the very same classes my fellow educators completed.

Secondly, the teaching field for public school in my state is extremely competitive. The average posting for a contractual position receives over 3,000 applicants. To even be asked back for a second interview is akin to being canonized.

Next, my state requires that ALL teaching professionals have a master's degree to maintain their position after six years. I know of no other occupation on the planet that requires its practitioners to pay for a master's degree with minimal/zero reimbursement to merely keep working there.
After that six year window, each educator must take at least two college courses every five years on their own dime (this may vary district to district).

Out of my 78 colleagues, 62 haves master's degrees (some have two!) in various disciplines, and some are even referred to as Dr. So-and-So. Soon, I hope to finish my PhD, but it' proves treacherous to balance 178 high school kids, their discourse, standardized testing, ornery parents, my mandated continuing education, conferences, meetings, and grading papers well into the night whilst working full time and trying to build my dissertation. I try to fit having a life in there somewhere, too.

And you know what? Nearly ALL of my faculty friends and administrators are doing the exact same thing and making pennies for it in comparison to what our education would garner us in the corporate world. Not only are we teachers, but we also fill in for the parents who can't get their crap together enough to be actual parents. It's only the second week of school and I've already had three teenage girls come and talk to me about personal issues (read: suicide, sex, drugs) because they can't talk to their own mothers, or their parents don't care enough to be involved in their child's life.

It is so, so insulting to hear the public vilify teachers as good-for-nothing, unionized slouches who merely want a great schedule for child-rearing and summers off. I break my back to come up with creative lessons for a classroom full of 21st Century learners with vastly different academic needs; I lose sleep over students who I know will go home and suffer abuse; I have more education than most CEOs--and my classes were no cakewalk, thankyouverymuch--; I influence more lives in a single year than most people will touch in a lifetime; I spend hours of my personal time tutoring; my summers are NOT my own, as I'm forever enrolled in classes trying to keep my job or teaching summer school; and if all of that weren't enough...

I constantly have to defend my professional status to ignorant, judgmental people who think I'm only a teacher because I couldn't do anything else!

I could do anything I wanted; I graduated 4th in my class from a large public high school and went to college on scholarship.

But you know what I wanted to do most?

Make a difference.

What have YOU done lately?
On the subject of requiring an MA/the education requirements of teachers generally, I think the old stand-by argument that teachers are underpaid relative to their degree attainment has been eroded by the rampant credential inflation we've seen in the US over the past couple decades. I believe teachers in most states no longer make less than similarly-pedigreed peers.

That said, I think we have a huge problem in this country with harnessing the contributions of mothers. In my experience working in (and attending) schools, I do see it attracting women who want to start families disproportionately. People disparage teachers a lot for that. I don't get it. What, exactly, do you want women to do professionally? Nothing? Manual labor? For them to never have children? For them to only have children if they never plan to use their education and intellectual capacities? Teaching is one of a few professional fields where a woman can use her skills and education and still assume primary caregiver status. I think it's time for us to push back and demand something closer to the western European model, where women can find a better balance, job-share while their children are young, and not have to choose EITHER non-teaching professions OR motherhood. Because under our system, we are wasting the contributions of our most educated and intelligent women, either in their potential as mothers, or in their professional capabilities.
 

Circe

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MissStepcut|1315874049|3016142 said:
That said, I think we have a huge problem in this country with harnessing the contributions of mothers. In my experience working in (and attending) schools, I do see it attracting women who want to start families disproportionately. People disparage teachers a lot for that. I don't get it. What, exactly, do you want women to do professionally? Nothing? Manual labor? For them to never have children? For them to only have children if they never plan to use their education and intellectual capacities? Teaching is one of a few professional fields where a woman can use her skills and education and still assume primary caregiver status. I think it's time for us to push back and demand something closer to the western European model, where women can find a better balance, job-share while their children are young, and not have to choose EITHER non-teaching professions OR motherhood. Because under our system, we are wasting the contributions of our most educated and intelligent women, either in their potential as mothers, or in their professional capabilities.

Agree, agree, agree. When I started reading your post, I actually thought you would be talking about the SAHMs who contribute so much time and energy to the PTA for the reward of ... public scorn. Our school system is contingent upon women donating their "valueless" time - without it, we might actually have to pay people (re: men).

The issue of teaching as a contemptible profession because its primarily composed of women is actually a bit of a circular one: you can track the drop in prestige in many professions with the growth of women's presence. In the 19th century, before teaching and nursing were seen as "women's jobs?" They might not have been quite as well-paid as some other professions, but they were seen as being honorable, dignified, and respectable. That perception mysteriously fades away as women gain traction in the field - think of anything from nursing and teaching to secretarial work or sales. Definitely time for pushback, I think!
 

iheartscience

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I read an article somewhere about how pay for teachers and other public employees is backloaded. So teachers get relatively low pay while working but are then rewarded for it with generous pensions. (Pensions that are now being taken away at a rapid rate, so I'm not sure what the motivation will be for teachers to stick it out now.) Part of the problem with the current system is that it encourages burnt out teachers to stay too long and conversely, newer teachers leave too early.

The article was saying how teachers should be paid well up front, be offered merit-based raises and promotions like other professions do, etc. Of course it made way too much sense and will never happen. This is America, after all! ;))

I read too much and can never remember where I read what...if I remember where the article was I'll link it here.
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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This article and thread bring to light why I chose not to teach in general education but to teach students with severe disabilities instead.

The parents of the students I teach are usually more than grateful for what I do for their children. I cannot describe what it feels like to have a teary eyed Mother or Father thank me for helping their child learn to communicate or tie their shoes. I actually feel respected and appreciated by my students and their parents and that is enough for me.
 

ksinger

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MichelleCarmen

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Well, my point of view as a mom: in my son's 3rd grade year, the teacher told me that my son was being a bit goofy, along with two of his friends, around one of the girls. Well, it took MONTHS before she actually sat me down and said my son was being mean!

You know why she took so long? She said because parents get mad at HER and the school and deny their kid would be like that. It really pissed me off that she didn't say anything more straight forward to me so I could sit my son down and tell him to knock it off. My son is a well behaved child, but I also know that around his friends, he's different PLUS I also know the girl and know that she also has issues. The kids were just a bad mix - and that happens. Some kids are bullies and others just have behavioral problems around specific kids.

There are the "bad" kids in the school and we all know who they are and the school doesn't do anything about it. One of my friend's son came home w/a black eye and the kid who hit him has a MASSIVE reputation for bullying and well, regardless of what he does, the school hasn't come to any resolution and the parents put him on ritalin as their solution!

The only case of strong discipline was last year a child was expelled. This was an elementary kid.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Zoe|1315525973|3013083 said:
Aoife|1315424723|3011925 said:
dragonfly411|1315421869|3011866 said:
Aoife - What child is going to go home and tell their parents they acted up in class? Of course the teacher would bring it up to a parent in a parent teacher conference.


I suppose there are quite a few who wouldn't! But your last sentence is interesting to me, because one of the things I learned in all that moving around is that not all schools or school districts handle communication with parents in the same way. For some schools/school districts, an annual parent-teacher conference might well be the sole contact that a teacher has with the parents. It's not the norm in all schools, however. Our DD's were in several different school districts in different parts of the country, and we had regular communication to and from their teachers--we would have been amazed if the P/T conference was the first time we had ever heard about any classroom shenanigans. It created a lot of extra work for those teachers. On the other hand, it certainly tended to nip problems in the bud. It created a sense of partnership with the parents rather than an adversarial relationship, which is the sense I am getting from the linked article.

I agree with Aoife. I'm an elementary teacher, and if I waited until our annual conference in Nov. to bring up issues (behavior and/or otherwise), I'd be pretty neglectful in my job. It's best to communicate with parents often throughout the year, for both positive and negative issues.

Yeah, also, you know, I think there should be more conferences, if possible. Maybe four a year instead of two? That way parents feel less need to helicopter AND don't have to interfer with the teachers' after school time.

Maybe it just depends upon the class. My older son is spending his second year in a non-traditional setting and last year was odd, and this year is even more so. I need to know more than can be provided in 2 20-minute sessions over the next 9 month. I wasn't consulted before he was put into a split class this year, where he is the younger of the two grades and expected to share the same work w/the other older kids, so how can I not panic and hover a bit? (ETA - many splits have kids do seperate work, but my son's has the two grades mixed together, not seperate sides of the room...b/c some kids have summer birthdays, some are almost two years older than him!). Hopefully a) the teacher lets me know early on if he's having problems and b) hopefully he doesn't have problems. I'm concerned but haven't told the teacher yet.
 

MissStepcut

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Why do there have to be conferences for teachers to communicate with parents? My 11 year old brother had one teacher who was very quick to email my parents to check in, update, answer questions, send out reminders... That worked great for all involved. Obviously this was in addition to traditional conferences.
 

MichelleCarmen

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MissStepcut|1316026458|3017553 said:
Why do there have to be conferences for teachers to communicate with parents? My 11 year old brother had one teacher who was very quick to email my parents to check in, update, answer questions, send out reminders... That worked great for all involved. Obviously this was in addition to traditional conferences.

In our district, I think the school closes after a certain time and so the time the teachers have after school is for curriculum planning.

The conferences we have are just a discussion of the report cards and how our kids are doing in each area and if there are concerns. I think part of the reason they have them is b/c some parents are working and don't have other time to talk to teachers. In my state, it's illegal for an employer to not give an employee time off for conferences so a parent may be dependent on conference.

PLUS, it's nice to have guaranteed one-on-one time w/the teacher. You get that block of time uninterupted and an email just isn't quite the same when you can get 20 minutes with a teacher and even talk about non-kid related stuff. Gives you an idea of a teacher's philosophy on life. Hearing my son's 2nd grade teacher talk about her organic garden gives me insight into as a person who is with my child ALL DAY LONG! ;-)

ETA - and yes, of course, emailing makes things easy, but I prefer to talk to the teacher in person rather than email, if possible. You know, the whole "tone" of the email type thing.
 

ksinger

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MC|1316024434|3017523 said:
Well, my point of view as a mom: in my son's 3rd grade year, the teacher told me that my son was being a bit goofy, along with two of his friends, around one of the girls. Well, it took MONTHS before she actually sat me down and said my son was being mean!

You know why she took so long? She said because parents get mad at HER and the school and deny their kid would be like that. It really pissed me off that she didn't say anything more straight forward to me so I could sit my son down and tell him to knock it off. My son is a well behaved child, but I also know that around his friends, he's different PLUS I also know the girl and know that she also has issues. The kids were just a bad mix - and that happens. Some kids are bullies and others just have behavioral problems around specific kids.

There are the "bad" kids in the school and we all know who they are and the school doesn't do anything about it. One of my friend's son came home w/a black eye and the kid who hit him has a MASSIVE reputation for bullying and well, regardless of what he does, the school hasn't come to any resolution and the parents put him on ritalin as their solution!

The only case of strong discipline was last year a child was expelled. This was an elementary kid.

So where does that expelled child go?
 
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