Barely Insane

Its the safest frame of mind in the world today

Good Teacher or Bad Teacher?

on March 5, 2012
I truly believe that I just had to write the most ridiculous note that I have EVER written to a school or to a teacher in my 20 years of having at least one of my kids in school–and this “note to the school” deserves its on BLOG.
I have nothing but respect for the teachers out there doing their job and educating my children and giving them the foundation they need to excel in life–I understand what you go through between performing like a trained monkey for the state agencies as well as having little control over what you are told you have to teach and the time line you have to teach it–the fact that you can juggle all the meetings, training classes, CRCT testing; frameworks and benchmarks while controlling unruly children while your still challenging those who wish to learn makes you heroes in my opinion –but the dead beat tenured teachers who refuse to teach and clump together to make sure they are not expected to be anything but complacent are running off the good teachers who end up having to do their work load and suffering through these teachers low test scores year after year. I am at the end of my rope with bad teachers being allowed to continue to effect the students as well as the school they are employed by. I am tired of the state sinking the good teachers by implementing strategies that bring all teachers to the same level.
My youngest makes honor roll each semester; does his best and truly worries over a bad grade.
I had an issue with the fact that in only two or three of his classes this year did I feel like he was being challenged in a school that can NEVER seem to make AYP. Its not the students fault–the student body has completely cycled through the middle school three times since the doors first opened–its not the administrators, we have had 11 administrators in the principal and AP positions in the 11 years the school has been opened. The only thing that remains the same in this middle school year after failing year is some of the tenured teachers who are planted and rooted down like trees.
I was told during a conference that I had with my son’s teachers that he would MEET CRCT testing and I should just relax–no worries. It didn’t matter that I responded with the statement that he EXCEEDED every subject on the CRCT last year at the elementary school. They were not concerned with him doing better–just meeting it. It didn’t matter that his unit scores on all unit test in one subject were high scores–the problem was that 100% of his homework grade for the year was based on my signature to a piece of paper called “bell work” It takes about five minutes each day to do this bell work sheet and the bell work counted for over 50% of his class work grade and my signature made up 100% of his homework grade?
The 6th grade STUDENTS are the ones who grade the unit test of their peers in this class for the teacher; sometimes marking answers wrong that are right, making it the responsibility of the students to find the time to go to the teacher and have what was marked wrong by fellow students on a UNIT test corrected by the teacher; the bell work is NOT checked by the teacher for correctness–just for my signature. The other 3 or 4 class work grades were graded by the students themselves on the “honor system”. So out of 20 entered grades for this semester, what work was actually graded or checked by the teacher? Very little of it.
10 of the 20 grades in this class were for this five minute bell work activity; and only graded by my signature. If I signed it; then my child received a 100 for class work and bell work and homework–if I forget to sign it or he failed to remind me…its points off.
Its scary because the fail rate on the CRCT for the grade and subject area last year at this school was low– 47.9% of the students in 7th grade failed the state mandated test over this subject matter–while 50.6% of the 6th graders last year failed to meet the CRCT in this subject as well. If you want to view the test scores last year for your GA school follow this link and enter the county and the school and then select the subject and grade for a full detailed report.
Needless to say with all the craziness in our  life this year–my signature on my son’s bell work has been missing more than its been on there. I never imagined his grade would be based on ME! Two of the teachers decided during the conference that the responsible thing for ME to do was just send an email to them; letting them know I had other things going on and that I had seen the bell work and just not signed it–NOT ONE OF THEM seemed to have a problem with the lack of instruction or that bellwork counted as a grade based on my signature? If I had time to send them an email– I could remember to sign the thing!
So in order to keep my 6th grader from stressing about low grades for homework and class work because I forgot to sign the paper–I have just written a letter for the school to keep on file, giving my 6th grader the full legal authority to sign his name on my behalf with my name printed under his on any and all bell work/ homework or any other asinine piece of paper that the teacher is counting as grades. Can you even imagine having to give your 6th grader permission to sign your name? But due to the fact that his only homework grade and half of his class work grades were actually based 100% on PENNY RANSOM scribbled across the bottom of a work sheet; it makes allowing him to sign it only fair–after all he is the one in school earning the grade.
So I have to wonder why people insist the problem in todays public education is from lack of funds or disruptive children; when everything I see points to a lack of teacher “know how” as being the real issue.
A teacher who is good at their job can handle unruly students and keep control of their classroom–A teacher who is good at their job uses classtime for instruction and in doing so, keeps kids occupied and engaged in the lesson and not bouncing off the walls. A teacher that is good at their job wants to know if their hard work and stratagies to teach the lessons are working and actually grades students papers to get an overview of his or her own sucess in relaying the informaiton to the students. A good teacher can become a great teacher if they have the support of their administrators when dealing with dicipline in the classroom or with disruptive students. A stand out teacher is one that is good at their job, has the support of their administrators and works for a school system that allows them the freedom to prepare for their classes. Instead of sending their teachers to meeting after meeting to learn the new age fads in teaching or keeping the teacher so bogged down with paperwork that the JOB of teaching becomes secondary to the many paper pushing and data collecting duties–a good school system understands the teachers first job is to educate the student.
A teacher who is NOT good at his or her job can not or will not teach the material; this teacher looks for any reason to excuse why the students are not passing mandated test, why their classes have more disruptions or discipline issues than other classes with the same students. This type of teacher rarely grades papers, or does just what is

required at the last minute; giving students plenty of busy work that counts as grades without ever giving them the knowledge of the subject the teacher was suppose to teach. A BAD teacher is one that doesn’t have the support of the administration and is allowed to continue unchecked year after year to the detriment of the students they teach. The administration either fails to recognize the issues in the classroom and avoids monitoring or writing true evaluations of the Bad teachers true performance or the administration is aware and fails to take appropriate measures to either help the teacher do a better job or discipline the teacher for failure to comply. When a bad teacher works for a school system that doesn’t support its teachers or administrators, then the problem is perpetuated even further–especially if the administration inside the schools can not get the county office support to remove a teacher who will not teach. If the school system sends the message of complacency by accepting low test scores, as well as failing the students and the stakeholders by NOT meeting system wide AYP and continues to waste time and money on data driven ideas instead of accountability in the classroom–then a bad teacher can work forever in a bad system that has lost sight of the fact their one purpose was to teach–and the students are the ones who pay.

One response to “Good Teacher or Bad Teacher?

  1. This was a great blog! Keep it up!

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