February 2007 Archives

Mr. Lawrence from Get Lost, Mr. Chips explains why a longer school day may not be the be-all, end-all solution for producing higher-performing students: I used to think a longer school day was ideal in improving scores and getting everything done that needs to be done curriculum wise, but now after some time working I've changed my mind. In my highly subjective viewpoint, I feel like the longer the kids are in school the more they 'drift off' - maybe it's just me, but the last class of the day is less attentive and thinking less clearly than classes early ...


California Teacher Guy writes a supremely sad post about a student who's ready to throw out a quiz paper rather than take it home—because he knows no one at home is interested in his schoolwork: "Instead of throwing it away, why don’t you take it home?” Sergio shook his head. I tried again. “Are you sure your parents don’t want to see it?” “They don’t want to see it.” “Well, how about your aunt or uncle or grandparents?” “Nobody wants to see it.” “Well, I’m not going to throw it away,” I said. “I’m going...


Amy, the Denver public school teacher of Groovygrrl's Weblog, makes some apt comparisons when discussing budget cuts and teaching job "redistributions": People who work in schools make friends in a foxhole--it's a hard job, no matter what you are doing, and if you work there, you automatically share a special connection with everyone else there. We talk about our time in schools like military folk do: long-term teachers are invariably called "veterans." So it's that time of year, and the cuts are in. And, of course, one of my best friends has had her job cut. Rather, her job is ...


Nancy Flanagan of Teacher in a Strange Land counters the increasingly trendy notion that schools today are not giving enough attention to "gifted children." Among her observations: [I]dentifying giftedness in kids is an exercise akin to nailing jello to a board. Drawing the line between “gifted” and “not gifted” is often an exercise in parental politics as much as determining appropriate instructional practice. ... The identification process often amounts to restriction of resources based on some pretty shaky premises and indicators. What makes the argument especially interesting—you might say telling—is that Flanagan herself has a master's in gifted...


Ms. Ris of Mentor Matters offers some tips on the art of managing the "parent connection". The key, she says, is to invite parents' participation as much as possible but not to get too worked up about it when they don't come through: Over the years, I have learned the importance of focusing on what it is I CAN control. I control my decision to continue to keep open the door to my kids’ parents. I hope for the best, but prepare for non-participation. That’s my reality, and to accept it leaves me the energy to really work with ...


Mister Teacher of Learn Me Good rejoices over proposed legislation in Texas that would fine parents up to $500 for missing parent-teacher conferences. He doesn’t think the bill actually stands a chance of becoming law. (“I mean, come on, in a society where someone can spill hot coffee in their own lap and then sue the restaurant for millions of dollars. …”) But, just in case, he has some ideas on where the money should go: But you know, on the off chance that this pipe dream is actually realized, and the bill is posted through, I would like to ...


Assorted Stuff responds to a new study finding that teachers make more per hour than other white-collar workers. The truth, he says, is more complicated: The reality in all this is that good teachers work many hours outside that “contract day” and are drastically underpaid to begin with. The bad ones really are overpaid. ... If we want to attract and keep highly qualified teachers (real ones, not as defined by NCLB), we need to pay them appropriately, a view shared by a growing number of business leaders. And we should differentiate between the best and worst to better compensate teachers ...


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