Wednesday, September 28, 2011

15 Things Students Want the Nation (And What They Get)

From I have the list and my cynical yet honest rebuttal, citing what they get instead. Time to make change!!!!

  1. I have to critically think in college, but your tests don't teach me that. Those in power claim the tests assess critical thinking and that if a teacher effectively teaches the 132-some standards per subject, per year, built upon the prior teacher's effectiveness in the building blocks for this year, and preps students for exams, that they will learn to think critically. Real critical thinking like 21st century skills, Montessori, homeschool methods are treated as garbage, probably because they cannot be prescribed.
  2. I can't learn from you if you are not willing to connect with me.-Sure, a teacher that calls her students by their gang names, K-Dogg and all and not their birth name will indeed retain her job. But a teacher who pats a child on the back in sympathy because her father just passed will get sued for sexual exploitation. And teachers cannot play "hip" music or speak of anything the students might have interest in because it is NOT STANDARDS BASED.
  3. Teaching by the book is not teaching. It's just talking. - So, let's implement a Reading First 100% prescriptive/scripted curriculum in our most failing of at risk schools. Perhaps the top 100 schools in the nation, since they have API scores near 1000, can fudge a little and read novels and do projects and service learning and out of the box, out of the book lessons.
  4. Caring about each student is more important than teaching the class. - But if you treat your 100% poverty level classroom to enough pizza once a month to take slices home, and give them a small "winter" gift, you get fired. I mean, we're not here to care about the kids or anything.
  5. Every young person has a dream. Your job is to help bring us closer to our dreams. Of course, the scripted curriculum and test driven culture is droll and just makes gangs, selling drugs, and dropping out even more enticing (because if this is preparation for the real world as the teachers keep saying, who wants that?). As long as your dream fits into what your test scores tell us about you, and what your neighborhood and economics label you to be, great!
  6. Even if you don't want to be a teacher, you can offer a student an apprenticeship. But remember, the only good teachers are those who went to a teacher college, passed their tests, and received their credential in the subject they teach. The more years they've taught are 100% directly correlated to their greatness.
  7. Us youth love all the new technologies that come out. When you acknowledge this and use technology in your teaching it makes learning much more interesting. Enjoy trying this in districts with antiquated technology, one tech guru covering multiple schools, and a small window of time to actually use the stuff. Or you may get lucky and find a district with all the (very over-priced) new tech goodies but they gather dust because a)no one receives training b) no one is around to fix them when they have issues c) when do you implement them with all this stuff to teach? And remember, no social media allowed, no cell phones allowed, no movies, no tv, no music other than classical, no texting, no you tube allowed in the classroom! All but the district approved websites will be allowable content for the classroom.
  8. You should be trained not just in teaching but also in counseling. But don't EVER give students advice, pat them on the back to feel better, counsel them away from the view of every single person, or contact them outside of school to see how they're doing. Don't mention any religion, or any of your own experiences, stories, feelings. That is best left to... well, no one, but if they want to talk, refer them to the one counselor that works at five different schools. Surely they will be a priority case.
  9. Tell me something good that I'm doing so that I can keep growing in that. Heck, everyone is a winner and you don't want to marginalize a student so praise everyone for everything.
  10. Our teachers have too many students to enable them to connect with us in they way we need them to. Not only must you be the parent, friend, mentor, pastor, idol, teacher, social service provider of each child, but now let's cut teaching jobs and increase class size. 50 kids to a class worked in the la-la days of the 1800s, right? And studies prove that test scores don't increase when class sizes decrease. And those tests are gold, folks. They paint a very detailed photo of every child. Contrary to popular belief, they're not a snapshot of a fraction of knowledge. Nope. So send in the clowns, I mean children, a per-class fifty is really nifty.
  11. Bring the electives that we are actually interested in back to school. Things like drama, art, cooking, music. Well, ok, maybe offer them only to the top students with 4.0 gpa, who have passed the exit exam, aced the SAT, been the great-score anomaly on the state assessment, Threaten the failing and most disengaged students that if they fail one more thing, the only class keeping them in school (fin hands on electives) will be replaced with drill and kill test prep. Then ask why they hate school so much and lack motivation. When enough complain they don't get interesting electives, explain that due to budget cuts, the arts programs have been cut, and with declining test scores, students need to take more core classes.
  12. Education leaders, teachers, funders, and policy makers need to start listening to student voice in all areas including teacher evaluations. And then throw out anything they say because what do students know? They're NOT the education experts. Did they attend 6 years of college learning pedagogy and educational philosophy? I think not.
  13. You need to use tools in the classroom that we use in the real world like Facebook, email, and other tools we use to connect and communicate. Refer to # 7 please. Heck, even try and police kids outside of school via social networking if you can.
  14. You need to love a student before you can teach a student. But treat them like automaton.
  15. We do tests to make teachers look good and the school look good, but we know they don't help us to learn what's important to us. What? These tests are important, they test the standards, essential knowledge for adulthood! But recall, the holocaust isn't a standard so it is not taught and neither are current events, as who needs to know about that? And besides, experts decided what the standards are, thus what is important and assessed. Don't doubt their expertise please.

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