I have been listening to the different news reports about the status of our country. Today on talk radio I heard about a Teacher that had, in frustration, posted comments about her students on her blog. Her statements have inflamed several parents because the teacher quite literally called the student unmotivated (another word for LAZY) dimwitted. At first I raised my Eyebrow as I knew that this Teacher had crossed an Imaginary line. Imaginary, in my opinion, of a society that only wants warm “fuzzies” and is afraid to offend anyone. TO this I said to my wife We as a society need to RAISE THE BAR!
What exactly does that mean? It means that when dealing with children in the school setting we need to rethink the “Nanny State” policies of Zero Tolerance everything. Now before you have an attack of apoplexy let me assure you that Not all “Zero Tolerance” regulations should be discarded.
Firearms – While it is a constitutional right, Firearms do not belong at school especially with the attitude of the students and the lack of discipline that many have. Having said that let us not have the overboard reaction when an elementary student using his imagination doing what most all boys do points his finger at different things and makes the noise of a “gun” being discharged… Bang. Before going of the deep end, suspending the student, and calling for the start of the Liberal (Yes I said It) Main-Steam Media feeding frenzy, ask the child, What he was doing and Why he was doing it. RAISE THE BAR!!! Teach the child that the expectation is to control his imagination while at school, Brandishing a finger gun is not really a wise idea and can be mistaking for an inappropriate activity in public. For those Warm Fuzzy seekers you can not have it both ways… Either tell it like it is ( NO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS) and explain in a manner that is age appropriate, or As you would say damage the child’s emotional state and Ridicule him in front of the Nation guaranteeing that he will go through life fearing everything or being aggressive toward ALL authority figures. RAISE THE BAR!
Education is important this there is no disagreement. Teachers have a challenge trying to balance what the student should know with what is MANDATED BY THE GOVERNMENT for the student to know. Get the Government out of education and allow Teachers to educate students on the subjects the are taking. DON’T TEACH TESTS! Educate students, elevate the expectation of what the student can achieve, Help the student believe they can achieve it and teach to that expectation. Teachers must believe in the students students equally as much as the students must believe in the Teacher.
I am reminded of the brand new teacher that was hired to be a substitute for students in a class were the original teacher was out sick and was not going to return for the year. She was given a group of students that the other teachers did not want. She was not told anything about these students nor did her peers enlighten her as to what she was in for. She was given the Roll Sheet and told to teach. To make a long story short at the end of the year when the evaluations ere being done the rest of the staff were confused and totally surprised at the achievement this teacher had as everyone of the students had not only passed but had done so with A’s and B’s. The immediate reaction (as always when something appears to good to be true) was that she had cooked the books. She had made the tests “too easy” or was to lenient on mistakes. The Teacher in question, a substitute, Brand new to the district was of course called to respond to these accusations. When asked what material she used to teach she present the lesson plans given to her by the Department (It was the same one that all the others were suppose to be following), When asked What test she used, She responded the ones that the department gave her (the same ones all the others were given). When asked what curve she used, she responded “Why none of course, The students made the grades they received straight forward.” Now the administration doing a comparison her class to that of the Top teacher in the department asked her straight out how her class was able to outperform the top student in that department. She said she was not aware that her students were any different that the alleged “Top Students“. Her student not only outperformed the “Top Students” in regular class work but also in the Mandated State tests. The final question to her was interesting, The Administrators wanted to know how she, a brand new teacher, a substitute Teacher teaching her first group of students could get these results. After all was she not aware that these students did not have very good IQ’s? She answered with what proves my point. She answered with a question? Did you intentionally set me up to fail? All I was given was my roll sheet with the students names and IQ’s listed on it. How else was I suppose to teach children with IQ’s ranging from 130 to 160? The administrators asked to see her Role sheet as they were not aware that IQ’s were being listed on them. Need I go on…
That is correct She had taught those children at the level she thought they were at she had a higher expectation of them than anyone else in the school, I won’t exaggerate and say that it was an easy task, nor that the children did not have to work hard. No They work harder than the “Top Students” did because their Teacher believed in them and had an expectation of Success. She had encouraged them at every chance and rewarded their success, When they did not meet her expectation they both got in their to find a way to succeed. Whatever it took. Extra reading extra homework, it did not matter because The students had a Teacher that believed in them and they believed in Her. Yes the Numbers on the role sheet were their Locker numbers not IQ’s, but is the point. RAISE THE BAR! Elevate the level of expectation, Encourage the student to win, Praise the Success and solve the challenge if they have one. Instead of punishing for mistakes, acknowledge them work to correct them and Publicly praise them when they get it right! RAISE THE BAR, is not only for a level of achievement it is about a level of ATTITUDE.
I have expressed my opinion nad would love to hear yours, This will be the first in a series of observations of our society and how far we have gone away from our values. Remember when teaching in life those lessons that can be the hardest to learn Raise the expectation of success, Believe in it, and help to RAISE THE BAR!