Monday, May 14, 2012

Teachers and Classroom Realities

In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor, the highest responsibility anyone could have.
Lee Iococca

In a recent Plain Dealer article by Mark Naymik it was refreshing to not detect any agenda or opinion - just the realities of Cleveland school teachers. It mentioned that tardiness is a real problem. One reason is students as young as 13 years old are often in charge of younger siblings. Students show up hungry, distracted by a difficult home situation or event over the weekend. Some are not clean and draw ridicule.

Instead of complaining about things they cannot control, or blaming students for their difficulties, teachers said it was a testament to their character that these youngsters could show up to school every day. They face challenges that most suburban children never face.

When a teacher is angrily told to F--- off, instead of punishing the students teachers often reach out to that child, especially younger ones, to see what is troubling them. One teacher said they try to replace the angry behavior with something else. Although it would be easy to say this is the parents' responsibility, the fact is, when it enters the classroom, it is the teacher's problem.

And teachers DO buy many school supplies for needy students or things the school district no longer can afford.  If there are computers or Smart Boards in the classroom they are there because resourceful teachers wrote grants or raised money for them.

Teachers recognize that, no matter how difficult student behavior may be, school is the only safe place for many children. Teachers are like their family.

Personally, I am often greeted by hugs from younger children who seem to be longing for affection and validation.

The article ended - "Such a dynamic is hard to evaluate and categorize in contracts and through legislation."

I often hear that the answer to failing schools is to fire teachers - maybe they should be supported instead.


alphabet soup said...

I'm a mature age student returned to study and at our adult education college the students are mainly 16, 17 years and up and attempting to finish their secondary education. It has been an eye-opener to me over the past 3 years as I see students struggling with lifes difficulties and the teachers trying their best to encourage and foster self confidence in students when it has been driven out of them for many and various reasons.

I will pass this post on to my English Literature teacher, an older woman who goes to extraordinary lengths to keep the class together.

I always enjoy the articles you post around schools and teaching in the USA and sometimes would like to ask questions but luckily for you Dianne I am often short of time
Ms Soup

Cool Boy said...

It's a valuable blog for the teacher and the students...Awesome....

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