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TEACHING THE TEACHERS

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Teaching in the 408's TMAO thinks that teacher training has suffered under NCLB:

... the timelines for meeting so-called "highly qualified" status are such that more and more universities transformed into certification factories, churning out highly qualified teachers the way a South East Asian factory produces plastic toys. I should know: I got my credential from one such place.

To fix the problem, TMAO says, ed schools must move away from a linear teacher-preparation system and instead use a two-tiered system. His ideal plan would involve one year of teaching, then a year out of the classroom doing content-specific degree requirements, followed by another year of in-classroom teaching. But, in TMAO's opinion, the most important goal of teacher prep should involve attitude:

In the end though, the most valuable knowledge ed schools and certification programs could instill is the fact that as a teacher it is your responsibility to promote student achievement, and any failure to do so is your failure. It's not the fault of parents, young people, society, Grand Theft Auto: San Andres, neo-conservative economic policies, peer pressure, the events that occurred last week at the corner liquor store, or myspace. As a teacher you are more powerful than any of those things, and it's high time to start acting like it.
12 Comments

Well written post at Teaching in the 408 - It's worth the full read.

Kelly

One must remember, as educators, we do not motivate students, but manipulate them into achieving well True motivation is intrinsic and can only be brought to the forefront through inspiration.

One must remember, as educators, we do not motivate students, but manipulate them into achieving well. True motivation is intrinsic and can only be brought to the forefront through inspiration.

No one should remember that.

Of course we motivate students; don't be ridiculous. Y'think the average eight year old learns intrindicly, for the shear ::swooofmph:: of it all? Y'think the kid who is comes to 8th grade five years behind is intrinsicaly motivated to a damn thing after years of being failed by adults?

It distresses me that we would allow children (children!) to make drastic, life-altering decisions about their education, as if they were fully functioning adults in complete control of their logic and reasoning faculties.

We see ourselves across a chasm from a group of children and we -- educated, powerful adults -- demand they search around for the raw materials necessary to build the bridge to come to us. We demand that they bridge the gap where we wait and carry on business with those who won the lottery of birth.

::cue Colonel Kurtz's final words::

It depends on what you think your role is as a teacher...are you a "facilator," a "leader," an "implementer," an "enabler," a "mother," a "drill sargeant," or maybe even, dare I say, a TEACHER.

TMAQ,
Could you please tell me how one "motivates" students without manipulation (candy, food, rewards, etc.). Would those same students react to the stimuli (work)differently if nothing was given to them. I think not. I would like to think that I "inspire" students to want to achieve more academically through enrichment activities. After twenty years of teaching and coaching, the only true motivation is intrinsic. I can get anyone to do what I want them to do through rewards, but when the rewards end are the individuals still "motivated" to continue to work?

I wished I'd read this earlier. For those teachers who think that they do not motivate students or who have the limited understanding to say that they need rewards to motivate students I say, leave now, you have evidently stopped your own learning. Thank heaven my doctor keeps reading about his profession and learns about new techniques, etc. ALL students' brains are motivated to make meaning in their world. So, obviously we have teachers who don't understand that and don't use meaning-making as their focus on student learning, and thus improve student perfromance. Read, folks, the research on how the brain learns is powerful. The problem here is, as a teacher you either look out the window and see all the reasons why students aren't learning in your classroom - lack of motivation, lack of parent support, poverty, et. al, OR, you look in the mirror and realize they are not learning because you aren't doing what it takes for them to be successful. Look in the mirror!

Platitudes are wonderful. I believe all children want to learn. I want all my children to learn. I research my profession. I analyze my students' progress. The reality is I can not make up for an 8 year old who is responsible for feeding and cleaning up after her 4 younger brothers while her mother is working 2 jobs. I can not motivate her out of the situation when her mother's boyfriend breaks her arm because she will not do what he wants her to do. I can not get her to focus on her education when Child Protective Service removes her from the home and she blames me for breaking up her family. Many teachers choose to teach in difficult situations that are absolutely beyond our control. Every year I have at least one tragic loss of a gifted child whose life outside of school prevents him or her from becoming a successful adult. Even the best doctors lose patients to diseases that can not be cured. After twenty years teaching I finally understand that I am not a teaching god and I can not educate every child. It is sad, but true. Teachers want to believe that all children can learn. That's like a doctor believing she can save all her patients' lives.

Platitudes are wonderful.

So are extreme, outlying examples that demonstrate the exception, not the rule.

In response to which, I ask: Are you really implying that the only "lost" kids are the chronically tardy, abuse victims, with an absentee father, an over-worked mother, three siblings to support, and a learning disability?

If the students in my classes fail, that is not my fault (which is the impication I see when I read the postings). IMHO, it is not even partially my fault. I spend countless hours reading and researching the latest developments in teaching, learning, and theory, including this much-lauded "brain research", and all of my years of study have led me to this conclusion: the bottom line is still simply this - if students want to learn, they will learn, in spite of whatever obstacles may be palced in their paths. If they DO NOT want to learn, nothing any teacher can do will change that. We see these students for 46 minutes per day, in a class of 28+ students. There is not too much "motivating" that can be done in that type of so-called "learning environment".

If I could truly motivate students, I would stop teaching public school and go on the lecture circuit and make millions sharing the secret in seminars around the world!

Hell yes it's your fault.

It's your job to teach them.

If they fail, you didn't teach them.

You know what you're getting into every time you re-up for another year. If you can't do the job, don't accept the contract.

And I'm just curious: How many minutes after the first bell on the first day of school do you wait until you figure out who wants to learn and who doesn't?

Hell yes it's your fault.

It's your job to teach them.

If they fail, you didn't teach them.

You know what you're getting into every time you re-up for another year. If you can't do the job, don't accept the contract.

And I'm just curious: How many minutes after the first bell on the first day of school do you wait until you figure out who wants to learn and who doesn't?

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