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Showing posts from May, 2012

The Rights of a Teacher (a partial list) and other thorny issues

Teachers have always worked in collaborative groups.
Sometimes the makeup of these groups is self-selected and at other times it is not.

Disclaimer #1:  I always learn something when I work with other teachers.

Disclaimer #2:  I don't always need to work with other teachers.

I have the right to time and space to reflect on what is happening in the classroom.
I have the right to make (informed) decisions about teaching and learning because, next to my students' parents, I am the only one that knows them well enough to be able to do that.  And, the information I use to do this comes primarily from observations, conversations, and the work that children produce on a day-to-day basis.

I have the right to have a say in my profesional learning.

But, the times they are a'changing.

It is no secret that teachers are no longer trusted to do our work.
Instead, someone decided that a carrot here and there, but mostly sticks, will coerce us into doing our jobs.  (What do they think we…

Chatty Class

     I have a chatty class this year.  The few subs I've had almost always leave me a comment saying just that.  This is especially troublesome in the mornings as it can set the tone for the rest of the day, and chatty and loud does not bode well for a productive day of learning.  So, today I tried something new.  I gave the children 5 minutes to talk to each other before completing their morning routines (agendas, home reading log, and read to self).  As I looked around the room I realized that it was quieter than usual.  At the end of the 5 minutes I rang the chimes, which means stop, look and listen, to signal the class to get back to their morning responsibilities, which they did in a calm and organized manner.
I decided to implement this change after exhausting myself, day in an day out, with admonitions to "quiet down" every five minutes.  If I was doing this every day, several times a day, and it wasn't working then I'd better do something different to acco…

Accountability vs. Responsibility

Disclaimer:  The tentative conclusions found herein are not what I initially intended, hence tentative.  As I wrote, my ruminations took me in an unexpected direction.  I hope readers will add sense to what may be nonsense, after all.

     Whatever happened to the word "responsibility", a respectable and honorable word IMHO?  How did it get lost and morph into "accountability", the word du jour of Rhee-formers and their ilk?
     At a recent meeting of teachers and teacher educators, I decided to embark on a personal campaign to revive this word because I haven't heard many people use it lately, including myself.  And, when I first started using it again I felt like I was swearing.  Don't ask me how or why but it's one of those subtle things we learn as a member of society - some words are OK to use in public and some are not.  Kids learn this early on and sometimes confuse inappropriate, hurtful words with swear words, such as "stupid".  Wh…