Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Teacher's Fault?

I was watching a segment on Meet the Press this morning about education reform. Maybe I'm sensitive, but it seems that once again teachers are being blamed for the majority of the problems.

The school at which I taught did have a fair number of dropouts. But most of these students didn't attend school anyway. Some would register for classes in order to get some kind of government money, then never show. Many of the girls were pregnant and school was not a priority in their lives. A lot of the absent students were in trouble with the law and were in a jail cell awaiting a trial.

Once a student gets behind in credits, it's very difficult for them to catch up. The district in which I taught even had an alternative high school, but often the students didn't attend that either.

My question about all this is "How is this the teacher's fault?"

I agree that these students need motivation and perhaps something like an apprenticeship program would be better for them. But if the school district does not provide these alternatives, what's a teacher to do? Our district had to do away with even their summer school program because there weren't any funds.

You'd think that with advancements in technology, maybe the students' attention could be captured by computers. But I had one computer in my classroom; certainly not enough to do a proper technology lesson, even though I tried. Computer labs were occasionally available, but were usually taken by computer classes.

I do understand that some teachers do not teach well, but they should be sorted out and guided into another profession. But the problems do not lie with just teachers, but also with parents, administration, the community, and the state and federal governments.

That means the whole system needs to be reworked. We keep trying to fix parts of it and that is just not working.

I don't know what the solutions are, but I know they exist. It will take everyone...teachers, administrators, parents, community, government, and make it better.

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