Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How much blame should teachers take?

In my last entry, I discussed the problems with trying to motivate people to perform through belittlement, disempowerment, and insults, especially teachers. This is exactly the kind of leadership we experienced earlier this week. Many of us left this school improvement meeting feeling two inches tall and wondering why we aren't doing enough to help our students be successful.

A fellow colleague and I discussed how perhaps we are the ones to blame, since we teach the majority of the targeted students in our English classes. She composed the following letter to our department chair:
I spoke to Central Office staff members after the meeting and acknowledged that I was the teacher with the failing marks.  It must be because I am not engaging in my lessons. I shared how I reflect on lessons and how my paraeducator suggests things to try with the IEP students. Apparently, this is not a good strategy unless it based on data. I shared that my paraeducator suggested using 14 point font for directions because her students do better with larger type. Apparently, this was ok to do.

 I was also happy to learn that we do not have to worry about our white and Asian students (because they will pass the MSA). I have worked harder and smarter this year than I ever have. I am more reflective in my teaching. I say things like, “I wonder what I did wrong today because the kids are acting up.” I have invited the Staff Development Teacher and Special Education Resource Teacher in for feedback, and neither person has come. And I still have terrible grades.  I feel personally responsible for two questions that I know I didn’t cover (connotation wasn’t even in the curriculum), but I think I did a pretty good job first quarter.

I know there is more than I could do, but the messages I received were so negative and were that I’m not doing enough.  Well, I guess I needed to vent.

Okay, so I’m in dire need of the formative assessment so I can gear my teaching towards it.  I decided to send this to our colleagues because I wondered if they felt frustrated, too. 
Thank you.

How much blame should teachers take for failing or underperforming students of color? How do we acknowledge the work we have done as professionals and brainstorm action steps to move forward in ways that empower and motivate one another? Don't we want ALL of our students to succeed? I certainly think so and can only hope to receive Central Office support on this issue.

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