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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Waiting for superman...... A teacher perspective....

I broke down and went to see waiting for superman. I took notes during the movie and there is soooooooo much information to process. I was VERY upset with Oprah (still am) for donating 6 million dollars to charter schools in an attempt to fix public education ? Does that even make sense? The movie had very interesting information and brought in a compassion aspect by following a handful of students.
My observations :

Each president wants to be the "education" president including the current President but our current sec of education has no teaching experience and wanted to be a professional basketball player. This is a trend in education. MANY people who are "running" schools and districts do NOT have an education background, they are business people who think they can "fix" the system.

Children can learn but they need a support system, drive and to value education. THIS COMES FROM HOME!!! So many of my students come to school with extra baggage and it DOES interfere with their daily life. Having been a product of extra baggage, I know what it is like to carry the weight of the world around all day long.

The movie promoted charter schools but charter schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools-even though they get federal funds. The movie did not show that charters can expel behavior problem students--and guess where they end up--in MY classroom with 30 other students!
The movie told us that children in charter schools who are below reading level EACH get their OWN tutor until they make progress. Public schools do not have the funds to give each student their own tutor but there are teachers I know that do not eat lunch during the day and sits with students to do private tutoring in small groups.

Michelle Rhee:
This is the new "chancellor" of the Washington DC school district. She is a woman who admitted in the movie that she was never a teacher, principal or a superintendent in any school district yet here she is in the highest school district position. I admire that she wants good things for the children because really, who doesn't. However, completely blaming the teachers is not going to fix anything.
There are issues that are much more complex.

A teacher is a teacher is a teacher?!!! NOT

I resent the fact that the movie stated a teacher is a teacher is a teacher! I will pat myself on the back and let anyone know, I AM A KICK ASS TEACHER. I take my job seriously and have high expectations for ALL of my kids. Are there teachers out there who suck? YES, but don't lump all teachers together!


The movie also promotes "unions as menace". Unions are one thing teachers have to protect them AND THE CHILDREN. Why would you want your child to go to school in a classroom with 45 other children. SMALLER class size IS EFFECTIVE and 30 kids to a room with ONE teacher is NOT smaller class sizes! Why would you want your child to go to a school that is not safe because girls are being raped in stairwells by other students? The union promotes safe environments for teachers AND students. Don't we all deserve going to a safe LEARNING environment?

The creator of the Harlem charter in the movie said that they have a NO EXCUSES policy. This is often a top down problem in public schools. I was told once that my expectations were too high for a group if Kindergarten students that I was trying to teach addition too. My daughter is 4 and I have high expectations for her just as I do my students and I make EVERYTHING a teachable moment for her. GUESS WHAT--she is four and can read and does addition and subtraction and LOVES to learn anything and everything she can.
School starts at 830 but we are NOT to mark children late until 845. Does that make sense? As far as I am concerned that is setting them up for failure from the beginning! This does not hold parents accountable for getting them their on time and teaches the students it is ok NOT to get to work on time in the future. This is not how the real world works. Should a teacher come to work late--they get warnings and written up!


The movie promotes charter schools that have set high expectations and found a method that works. THIS IS THE KEY. There is NO reason we can't have high expectations for ALL students and we need teachers who know how to implement the curriculum effectively.

I agree that there is no great school without great teachers and yet teachers are being bashed in the news lately with the opening of this movie.

Tony Danza is getting a taste of what it is like to be a teacher (on a gingered up side) and he is realizing that it is not such an easy feat! Watch TEACH on A and E Friday nights.

Thanks for listening to my perspective.


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