Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fuhgetaboutit

Apparently, our students can't________. Go ahead, fill in the blank. Our kids are poor, they can't meet standard on the CAPT. Our kids are poor, they can't do the same work as the middle class district. Our kids are poor, they can't donate one fifty-cent can of green beans to our food drive.

The pervasive attitude in my building that "our kids can't" has got to stop. If our kids can't, at least according to the teachers who teach them, then they will fulfill our prophecy. So let's just forget about it. Why am I bothering, or why is anyone bothering to teach these kids? They are poor. They don't speak English very well. They are doomed to a life of failure and poverty. I guess it is time for me to buy into the unofficial district policy of showing up to work, collecting my check, and hanging around until retirement.

4 Comments:

At 5:10 PM , Blogger Amerloc said...

If we accept the notion that kids live up/down to our expectations (and I think the evidence insists that we do so), then ought we not also at least consider the possibility that educators live up/down to the expectations of administrators/peers/society?

 
At 6:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teachers should have high expectations, but then they should also be allowed to grade according to those expectations. The school should be financially empowered to retain students when they don't meet reasonable expectations for passing work. What good does it do to have a student working below level all year with no significant, effective, policy-based intervention other than summer school (not effective) and the pressure placed on the individual classroom teacher to "differentiate"?

I definitely think our young people can do more than they are doing, and if they're poor, it's critical that they do more - learning gives one a rich life even when there's a lack of material wealth. The real question is not whether we will find better ways to entertain and "reach" them (the current trend), but whether public policy will eventually reflect expectations for the learners, and impose consequences on these same for a failure to learn. So far, I think our public policy discussions only reflect a willingness to apply expectations to teachers. It's much too messy for school "leaders" to apply them to students.

I also suspect that the students you refer to can afford a can of beans.

 
At 11:48 AM , Blogger Hedgetoad said...

I live in a high poverty area, and at our food drive we gather enough from the local community so that it averages out to be about $55 for every man, woman and child within the city borders.

Yah, a lot of our students donate a can of food, realizing they'll be getting it back from the food bank in a couple of weeks. They would still rather donate.

It's not the amount of donation, it's the act.

It sucks that your colleagues don't see that in your students.

 
At 6:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a shame that you are so negative about the teachers in your district. Take the time to see what other teachers are doing with their students. Don't assume that because they are not boasting, they are not working hard.

 

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