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Response to Left Turn Only (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:41 AM

19. You must never have sought an advanced degree.

I teach in a large urban high school (3600+ enrollment) with 68% Hispanic, 7% Black, 24% White, and a smattering of Polynesian and Asian students. 85% qualify for free or reduced lunches.

158 are homeless. 200+ are HIV Positive. 1000+ work 40 hours a week outside of school. We spend about $9000 per student per year total budget, somewhat below the national average.

I have a double BA in English and Economics, and a MAEd in Adult and Distance Education. I went to high school here in the late 60s when it was still 100% White segregated.

Okay, now:
All research shows that all students benefit from heterogeneous grouping, what you call inclusion classes. All of my classes are remedial and inclusion. I have a special education teacher, not an aide, every period, as well as a sign language translator for my class with 9 deaf students. We follow the IEP, and I design instruction to deliver the state content standards. I have a lifetime average of 98% of my students passing state accountability tests, which are NOT modified, except for oral administration for some.

My classes are lively, and my students learn the value of additional training after high school, whether academic or vocational. I live in the same neighborhood in which I teach, and I see dozens of my more than 7000 former students all the time. All treat me well, and not one has ever thanked me for teaching any particular content. What they thanked me for was allowing them true success, a desire to do more, and the method to do it.

Students fail if they are absent more than 10 times in a class. Period. They can start the class over again in an online environment. It is against the law in Texas to give a grade not earned, so no one will ask you to do that - it could cost them their credential. I have a pass rate of about 85% in the course, 98% on state tests, which makes sense, because the state tests are really quite minimal in their expectations.

We teach and learn using every tool in the box - reading, writing, listening, student presentations, foldables, flash cards, games, interactive notebooks, plays, movies, outside reading, the whole gamut, because that's what it takes to reach every student.

I open every year with the value of doing things right. If a heart surgeon opens up your chest and fixes the damage there, and closes you up, and the janitor did a poor job of cleaning the suite, and you get an infection and die, what was the value of the surgeon's work? Zero. Society is teamwork, hardly perfect, and I believe janitors are underpaid and underappreciated, but anything we do only has value in the context of everyone benefiting from it.

I teach from 7:15 to 3:15, I never take home anything to grade, nor do I spend family time planning my lessons or doing other things related to school. If you give assignments that are incredibly complex and time-consuming to grade, that's your fault, and you've missed the benefits of immediate feedback. If you need to prepare materials for tomorrow, the students are happy to help - they LIKE being a part of things, and it gives them an appreciation and understanding of how things work, which is not wishing magically for them to happen.

In short, I enjoy my job and my students, and I believe they enjoy the class and learn something, content being the least important of all. Sorry you had a bad time. That's why I'm not retiring - I'm having fun.

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Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 OP
TheProgressive Dec 2012 #1
duffyduff Dec 2012 #10
Mass Dec 2012 #2
AldoLeopold Dec 2012 #3
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #11
LWolf Dec 2012 #4
madrchsod Dec 2012 #6
LWolf Dec 2012 #8
MichiganVote Jan 2013 #17
madrchsod Dec 2012 #5
chaska Dec 2012 #7
duffyduff Dec 2012 #9
auntsue Dec 2012 #12
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #41
duffyduff Jan 2013 #42
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #43
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #44
knitter4democracy Dec 2012 #13
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #15
knitter4democracy Jan 2013 #20
Left Turn Only Jan 2013 #21
knitter4democracy Jan 2013 #34
MichiganVote Jan 2013 #18
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #37
Sancho Dec 2012 #14
MichiganVote Dec 2012 #16
duffyduff Jan 2013 #22
LineReply You must never have sought an advanced degree.
mbperrin Jan 2013 #19
duffyduff Jan 2013 #23
savebigbird Jan 2013 #24
mbperrin Jan 2013 #25
savebigbird Jan 2013 #33
mbperrin Jan 2013 #35
savebigbird Jan 2013 #36
mbperrin Jan 2013 #39
Tempest Jan 2013 #26
riverbendviewgal Jan 2013 #29
yellerpup Jan 2013 #27
reteachinwi Jan 2013 #31
yellerpup Jan 2013 #32
reteachinwi Jan 2013 #28
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #30
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #38
Octafish Jan 2013 #40
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