Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Education Blues

Written 5/28/08

I know you’re probably sick of hearing it, but I need to blog about my job again. This blog has turned into my main form of stress relief, and without it, I might just go insane.

Let me preempt this post with a disclaimer. I want to point out, without a shadow of a doubt, how much I love teachers.

My mother is a teacher. She is an incredible teacher. I have witnessed, for as long as I can remember, her dedication, long hours, hard work, passion, and frustration with teaching. She is the kind of teacher that I wish my children had every year. She stays late at school daily, and works during her weekends and vacations. She continually stays on top of new teaching methods, and researches the brain’s ability to learn. She takes the time to get to know her students’ different learning styles so that she can adapt her teaching style to teach them individually how they will best learn, all the while maintaining an orderly environment conducive to learning. I can remember, during my childhood, many instances of her bringing students home. These were not the students who were respectful, doing well, and got good grades. The students that my mom took a special interest in were the students who needed it most. These students were her most difficult. The one’s many teachers would like to see transferred to another class. She befriends them, takes them out to eat, and pays them to do petty work around the house. She stresses to them the importance of education, and I am confident that she has changed lives. I could NEVER do what she does. Because of her, I know that there are amazing teachers out there.

That being said, I got my results back from my students math eog’s. (end of grade tests). Out of my 25 current students, I have 4 that passed. Granted, the very nature of my program is to help students who are “at risk”. Therefore, I would have been surprised if the majority of them had passed. But, come on, 4? The worse part of this is that most of my students, because of my program, turn in their homework and have fairly good grades. I have a few students who failed the test miserably that have been on honor roll all year. ALL YEAR. My question is how does a teacher give a student an “A” or a “B” for a grade, when the student obviously has no grasp of the material? I have found that the grades my students are getting have nothing to do with what they are learning. The grades are mostly based on if the student does what they are told. If they sit quietly and don’t draw attention to themselves. If they turn in their homework (even if it is wrong). So these “good” students, whether they are learning anything or not, think that they are. They think, “Well, I have had a good grade in that class all year, I will do fine on the test” They don’t need to study, they don’t need to worry.

WHAT IS GOING ON??? There is a serious problem with the education system in our country. And, we’re the best country in the world. People die trying to come here to live. Why are our students performing so poorly compared to other countries? Why are our high-school students graduating with a VAST difference in knowledge depending on where they live? Why do I feel, as a parent, that I need to use my brother-in-laws address to get my kids into a different “better” school district then my own. It is so SAD that our children don’t have the same opportunity across the board. How does a student get an “A” in math all year, and then fail the math test miserably?

And about my particular students who all failed? My 8th graders will have 2 more chances to take the test, and will then be held back. Some will end up dropping out of school, because who wants to be 16 or 17 in the 8th grade? My 6th and 7th graders will be bumped up, until 8th grade, when they will be faced with the same dilemma. And unfortunately, they don’t understand the ramifications. 2 of my students were really upset. I was trying to console them about the test, and they both gave me blank stares. Then I found out that they had just “broken up”. Lord help us.

I would also like to take the time to thank someone. All of our children are absolutely brilliant, but 1 of them is particularly gifted. She is in the highest level of classes, and “AIG” (the intellectually gifted program). She is amazing. She also received her first “C” this year. Not because she didn’t do the homework, not because she wasn’t polite and respectful. She received a “C” because she was struggling with the material. So thank-you, Mrs. Culbertson, for being honest with her. Even if she cried. A lot. I would much rather my children be prepared and know what they need to work on, than think that they are doing better than they actually are because they don’t give someone problems in the classroom.

No comments: