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In Praise of Older, More Experienced Teachers

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:29 AM
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In Praise of Older, More Experienced Teachers
Back in the late 1980s, when I lived in a little town in rural Upstate New York called Spencer, I joined the local library board, eventually ending up through default becoming president of the board. We ran a dinky one-room library with a dedicated part-time librarian. The back of the library was piled with boxes of books that could not be shelved for lack of space. For years, the board had been trying to raise funds to expand the library, which was an adjunct to the local firehouse. After finally raising most of the cash needed through donations, we decided to approach the local Lions Club to ask for a check. Our vice president, Sharon Haefele, feisty co-owner of a little mom-and-pop cable TV operation in town, offered to make the pitch. She asked for $1000 of the proceeds of the next summers little annual Lions Club town picnic. The club president, a local businessman, replied, What do we need a library for anyhow? I havent read a book in years! Haefles response was memorable.

Im not surprised to hear you say that Tom, she said, but I am surprised to hear you say it in public.

Lets face it. Among the business and political elite, education, and anything connected to learning, like a library, is not valued. At best it is viewed as a way to train docile workers, and to regiment children into conformity.

In fact when it comes to education, the popular thing today in American politics is trashing experienced teachers.

Politicians like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin (who never finished college), Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, and myriad members of the House and Senate who were at best B students in high school and in many cases worse, are saying the key to educational reform is ending tenure and seniority so that older teachers can be trashed in mid-career to be replaced by supposedly high-performing young replacements.

more . . . http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/543
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Reader Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. Fantastic article
I know the Admin in our school hates us older teachers, because we constantly question their half-baked ideas and lack of support.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. They are pressuring us to retire.
Not being the least bit secretive about it.

It's insulting.
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
2. It takes years, if not decades to develop as a teacher...
It is an art.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
3. In my (once small) town in NJ, the teacher with the greatest longevity of
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 06:55 AM by no_hypocrisy
more than four decades died this past winter. He left the classroom on Friday afternoon with plans for Monday and never returned. He left scores of devastated students who didn't want another teacher. They wanted him. He was more than a math teacher. He taught them how to think. He taught them patience. He taught them perseverence. He taught them respect for making and correcting mistakes. He was their coach. He was their everything.

While it's a spacious argument to arbitrarily divide teachers into two categories of good and bad, it's equally spacious to divide them into new ("inspired") and old ("experienced"). Teaching is far more complicated than labeling individuals who share a dedication to children and learning. Each day, these teachers learn how to better communicate a complex thought process and to enjoy the experience with another person. And they go home, asking whether do teachers "teach" or do children "learn", or both.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. What a wonderful tribute
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
5. k&r
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
6. K&R. nt
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
8. k&r!!
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. ..
:)
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