Sunday 20 January 2019
Imagine you send a group of students on to the next grade level. You have tried your best to prepare them especially since you have had them for a year. You have watched them blossom, whether it is a small measure of growth or a mammoth leap forward. You have communicated every aspect of their learning with their parents. You send them forward with your blessings and with great anticipation for the successes to come. Very early into the new level things do not seem to be working out for most of them. What? What is going on? This isn’t what you expected, it most certainly isn’t what anybody expected and there isn’t a single reason to surface other than you were disingenuous in your communication with parents. You deliberately painted a grand picture of success and masked an entire class of students' true performance, for what?.... they could not say. Wow! Is that the only reason to account for a whole class performing badly?
This scenario isn’t all that different from what is happening between class levels today. For a myriad of reasons a child's performance can change. The sad thing is, many teachers don't want to take responsibility when the reason points to their own professional practice. I understand that parents should be accountable for the performance of their students in many aspects. I also understand why there might be some truth, in isolated cases, to the idea of teacher malpractice - some teachers have ego issues. There has to be integrity in practice, regardless of personal ambition.
Every teacher may have his or her own way of teaching, and I am advocating for integrity in teaching and dealing with parents. Even to conjure this notion of dishonesty is simply removing attention from your own responsibility to students. Everyone has his or her own style; however, when the class becomes a frenzy of a high number of failures, disenchanted parents and forlorn little faces- the line needs to be drawn.
How does one teach with integrity you might ask. The answer is very simple. Do what you say you are going to do. Plan and work the plan. Check and recheck student learning. Communicate all aspects of learning to their parents so that they are kept abreast of all scenarios. Make your classroom a hub of activity and a space where they can act or react in a safe and non-threatening environment. Your students must be able to talk to you when they understand or don't understand something. They must be able to ask you a question without being silenced simply because want them silent. Essentially, you must give them an opportunity to have shareable moments with you that facilitate learning.
I'll conclude by saying that those of us who teach with integrity take full responsibility for the failures and successes of our students. We revel in our children's successes and lament over their failures. We reflect. We revamp. We take time to make the necessary changes and communicate every aspect with our parents and our students so that learning becomes a shared experience.
Friday 4 January 2019
It is time for school officials to put down their clipboards and really show their support for teachers who do so much. It is time for parents to walk the walk by taking full responsibility for their children's failures. Teachers get the short end of the stick because they are the ones in direct contact with children more than anyone else. Oh yes!! Its the teacher blame game!!!!
Blame the teachers for everything!!! When officials want better student performances, target the teachers! When parents want straight As on their children's report cards, leave it all in the hands of the teachers! When society wants a change in its form and shape make the teachers accountable for that!!!
So tell me, when are teachers going to enjoy the support of everyone in teaching children? When are children going to enjoy learning in a comfortable and nurturing atmosphere? When would everyone take full responsibility for students performances? Maybe never!!! Mind you, there are many parents who do take responsibility and work with their children from the start. Many have to grapple with the idea that their children's teachers are not doing squat on any given day. All these scenarios are real and too often. This also puts pressure on the teachers who labor in love.
Teaching can only be seen as a noble profession when teachers get to exercise nobility by serving others without the hassle and hustle, blame and defence.
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