REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@edublogs.org)

I’ve taken the plunge, I have done it, I switched over to Edublogs.org.

So if you would like to continue reading my blog please click on the the below link:

Thanks Harold 🙂

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REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

Today I attended an inservice training on Inhalant Abuse Prevention.  This probably one of the most important training I have had in a long, long time!  It reminded me how serious the problem of “huffing” is among the “at risk” and the so called “normal” student population.

Huffing inhalants is more than dangerous, it could kill a student, even on the first time they try it.

I really urge everyone to take the above quick training (15-20 minutes) to learn more about how to prevent Inhalant Abuse – “Huffing”

Do you have a can of compressed “air” to clean your keyboard, or do student use “Tag” or body sprays, whipped cream, there are so many ways for them to use/do this dangerous practice.

I am not being melodramatic or an instant evangelist.  In one of my previous careers, I saw the tragedy and family hardship caused by a youth who “huffed” gasoline.  The 14 year old girl didn’t die, but was never the same and was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, wouldn’t stop huffing and eventually basically became a body that needed to be led around, fed, — couldn’t perform the daily functions of living.  The family was devastated, but the girl didn’t know.

Please read this information and research more on your own (Google:  inhalant abuse prevention) that by simply reading a little more, could give you enough information to make a difference in someone’s life or even save it.

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REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

I have been hearing everyone talk about Second Life and I created an Avatar back in December and haven’t had a chance to go back.  So last night I had a couple of extra minutes and “Konrad” advertised a “newbie” tour.  So I took them up on it.  I attempted to jump in, but had to update software and everything, so I missed most of the tour.  But “Sean” took time out of his evening to show a “newbie” how to do a few things in Second Life.  Thanks for helping me out.Then I caught up with the tour and listened in.  It was quite interesting and I think that I want to learn more.  So I went back tonight and sat in on a discussion about on member’s efforts to build in Second Life.  Actually, I probably should have explored and learned more about how to move around, but it was fairly interesting.  I think Second Life and I will get a little more acquainted, so if you see Therin Sideways in SL, say hi. 🙂

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Final Reflection on Learning from a Master Teacher

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

This is the final post of my now 4 part series.Here are the previous posts links:
Learning from a Master Teacher Part 1
Learning from a Master Teacher Part 2
Learning from a Master Teacher Part 3

I have not said thank you to the gentleman who taught me so much yesterday. I have learned much, reflected on some of my beliefs, and had to think. What more can you ask from a teacher? As someone who did not care very much for high school, to become the lifelong learner that I have become, the lessons I was given yesterday were invaluable.

It showed me how powerful a good teacher is: this gentleman did not/does not realize how great an impact he has had on my life. Will I go back and learn more – yes…will have the same “magic” as yesterday. Probably not, but I can hope that this master teacher will have more to “share” with me.

After yesterday I am beginning to notice “we speak” quite often in the words of leadership and the Edublogosphere. It can’t be helped as we are all “elites” in the historical sense of the word. I would say that almost all writers and readers in the Edublogosphere are well educated (probably most are college graduates, which is a good thing).

Many of the very people that we should be listening to do not have a voice in our circles either online or offline, so how are their opinions and ideas being conveyed and heard. They mostly are not. That is unfortunate, because maybe their ideas would be based on common sense and what might actually work versus the well-intentioned mess we are in and headed for at this time.

I have no easy or simple solutions, except maybe we as educators need to actually talk and then actively listen to all of our customers (students and parents), not just the ones that are like us. Our state departments of education and political leadership actually should look at what students actually are ready for after high school versus what academia say they should be ready for. They need to include people on their staffs who do not fit our “we speak” profile, there needs to be diversification of perspective there and in the Edublogosphere to ensure that all alternatives are on table, not just our education “we speak” solutions.

It is time to take our blinders off, and see the rest of the world around us for what it is — not nearly as interested in academia as we are and are more concerned about how they are actually going to “survive” in this world after they graduate high school (where a good percentage stop their education unfortunately). So how do we in academia help prepare them for their future that doesn’t include planning for or going to college?

That is the question – isn’t it.

On a lighter note, the actual reason I went into the shop – to buy a chain saw and ensure I knew how to use it safely was successful. Today there are three less trees standing in the yard and many of the blow-downs are cut-up. My master teacher showed me the right tool and taught me how to use it correctly.

Thank you master teacher.

Technorati Tags: at-risk youth,attitude,blog,change,choice,debate,highschool,politics,shaw,teachers,teaching,masterteacher

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Learning From a Master Teacher – Part 3

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

Please read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading further, otherwise the following will not be in context.Well my time with my master teacher yesterday morning lasted for a much shorter time than it is taking me to write these blog entries. They have been much longer than I ever expected them to be, I have re-written this final part 5 times and still cannot find the words to properly express or explain the shift that this simple yet profound “chance” encounter had upon me.

While I was reflecting on my conversation with this master teacher “to change the world”, it occurred to me that much of our conversation could have been about me, except I certainly wasn’t the bosses kid (I am the oldest of six kids of a very working class family, which had many of the same difficulties that families are facing today). In school, I did good enough to get by, and didn’t put a whole lot of extra effort into academics. Below is a copy of my high school transcript:

Why am I showing my transcript – just to prove what I am saying is accurate and to show myself that I actually I wasn’t a particularly a good student – in high school (unlike the image that I sometimes attempt to erroneously portray) mostly D’s, C’s & B’s and a few A’s until my senior year when I opted out of the college prep program and into the vocational program, my grades reflected my academic interests.

I did a lot better in the Vocational Program because I was doing stuff I liked, learning skills that I still use to this day. By my senior year my interest in academics and school were not even a top ten priority. I was more interested in earning money to keep an old 1971 Ford Torino on the road, so that I could chase my other main interest – girls. So while the pressures of daily living may be different, academically, I was not all that different then many of our students today. Based on my academic “success”, my guidance counselor (a future Maine State Representative) was relieved when I opted to the Vocational track (after failed attempts in physics and Adv. Biology), I had less behaviors and would have actual work experience to fall back on, because “everyone” knew I wasn’t going to college after graduation.

Our present leadership views that preparing all students for going to college is the answer to our educational crisis and improving our country’s ability to compete globally. That is how they became successful and that is how they see present students should do it too. But to me they are not looking at “my world” objectively they are seeing it through the filter of having only college educated staff, who also are involved in “we speak”.

I question where are the voices of those who are not college educated and can provide a different perspective than the “we speak” that is happening in educational leadership today. They are not hired as staff members, (they don’t have the necessary qualifications – a college degree that is a pre-requisite to be considered for a staff position). They are mostly silent, because they have been taught that unless they are college educated that their voice is not as important as those that do. So they don’t speak up and sit quietly and watch the world pass them by and hope that life will be better for their children. This is unfortunate as I learned so well yesterday with my master teacher.

He gave a completely different perspective than the “we speak” crowd does or even the Edublogosphere. But many in leadership positions would “poo poo” his ideas as that of an uneducated person, that isn’t based on empirical research or “peer review” (more “we speak”), they are based on real world experience and just plain common sense.

Maybe it would be a novel idea to actually hire “real” people with differing backgrounds the trades, retail, etc. to work day-in-day-out (instead of serving on committees that meet infrequently) in equal numbers to the “we speak” crowd (please don’t get me wrong our current staffs are well intentioned, but they simply do not have the same perspectives as those who are not in the college track) and see what kind of ideas would come out of that kind of staff. I believe the plans from that type of staff might be more realistic than our current ivory tower college approach that currently leaves many of our students behind.

We currently measure our educational progress by how ready our students are for college — but not for life. My master teacher’s explanation of the rich bosses kid really hit home for me. How do we motivate students who are not interested in what our schools are presently offering them. It is pretty simple actually, change what we offer – easier said than done. But something that must be done we are loosing a generation of students.

I strongly believe that we need to challenge those students who are capable and able as much as we can and have high expectation of education for all. But that does not mean that all students are capable or interested in academic achievements – no they are not.

If a student wants to attend college, by all means a student should be allowed to prepare themselves for college and be given the means (money) to attend based on merit of their academic performance in a college preparatory program. But Educational and Political leadership must realize that not all students will do well in a college preparatory program and may be poorly suited for attending college and may need further or other assistance.

What about the many students who are not interested in college or furthering their education beyond what they have to. These students are more interested in getting out from under adult rules and guidance – whom they believe are running/ruining their lives for them. Next many are interested in finding a job or way to earn money. I know – I’ve been there and done that. Unfortunately, these students who have no interest in academics become a distraction or worse in the classroom, where 90% of teacher’s time and effort are spent on 10% of the students. So what do we do with them?

We need to provide an avenue of hope, training and real life skills in our schools. How do we accomplish for the majority of students. Focus our efforts on basic skills, reading, writing, math , science, arts, government and physical skills (not just PE), in the lower grades as we are. I honestly think that our schools do a really good job in grades K-6. Grades 7 & 8 are simply the most difficult ages to teach, too many hormones in the air and teaching these grades is a moving target day-to-day. Make technology an integral part of the curriculum, not just a nice to do add-on and then at the high school work on encouraging student interests. Encourage them participate in apprenticeship programs, work study, other vocational or even ROTC type programs.

After high school whether it be the traditional 4 year program or a modified 2 year plus program that has been discussed elsewhere on the web, students should be offered the opportunity, if not actively working in an apprenticeship program, for a form of national service, perhaps along the Americorps program lines or entry into the military.

This program would be expensive to initiate, but less expensive than our present system of drop-out, unemployment, social services entitlements or department of corrections involvement. But such a program would meet the needs of far more students today, than the idea that all students need to be prepared to go to college.
But in today’s reality, where the people in leadership are all college graduates, and they only see college as a simple best solution. They will continue to pour more money into higher education, even if it is not meeting a large part of the population’s needs.

They do not have a continuum of alternative possibilities that all of our country’s citizens will be able to access at different points along its spectrum. Instead all I keep hearing is how all students must complete so many standards, score such a score on a test and then go to college. Having only one solution is not a solution, there has to be a continuum of solutions or options for our students in and after high school.

Who am I to spout off like this – A “nobody”, someone that wasn’t a good high school student and like many of today’s students wouldn’t have be successful in today’s college prep high schools/high stakes testing. I am just one of the many who believes that he sees a great wrong being done to many of our students and wants education to consist of more than just meeting standards, taking standardized tests and being told that the only option to be successful is going to college. Are any of these ideas original, probably not, but they are my synthesis of my experiences over the last 32 years in and outside the field of education.

This has been a long and rambling and simplistic solutions to a multi-layered problem, but trying to tame my thoughts on this lesson that I learned yesterday from a master teacher has been difficult to wrap my head around the concept. Help me out here and explain my erroneous thinking. The conversation has to start somewhere, but I believe that this conversation has been started several times, but let’s try again.

Technorati Tags: at-risk youth,attitude,blog,comments,decision,frustration,highschool,politics,reform,shaw,teachers,teaching,technology,masterteacher


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Learning From a Master Teacher – Part 2

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

Please read part 1 prior to reading this post, otherwise it will not be as clear what I am trying to convey.

I had completed my purchase and we had taken on the difficult task of solving the world’s problems.  He asked me what I did for a living and when I replied a teacher, he said “I wouldn’t want your job for anything”.  We discussed the myths and misconceptions of being a teacher (summers off, short work days, weekend and nights off, etc.).  He did an awful lot of talking (it seemed as though he had been wanting to have this conversation with a teacher for a long time) and I did a lot of active listening.  Below are the major points we discussed during my lesson:

1.  Not all students are equal.  Some are better at some things than others are.  Kids know this, but adults are not allowed to let some be better, everyone has to stay around the average range, it might “cause problems” if some students really excelled in something.  The other children’s parents might complain that their child was being discriminated against, because they weren’t given the work (it doesn’t matter if the student is capable or not).
2. Teachers are attempting to teach stuff, most students are not interested in and if they are, it is taught in such a manner that they loose interest pretty quickly.
3.  There are too many pressures to do way too much.  How much time do teachers actually spend teaching students vs talking at them?  How much homework is busy work versus actual work that needs to be done.
4.  We live in a “tell people how to live society” today — instead of a live and let live society that existed when we were younger.
5. That many younger people today feel “entitled” to having the good things in life and do not believe that they should be required to work hard to have what they want.  Then whine and complain when what they want is not given to them.
6.  That the people making decisions about education etc. are all college graduates, yet the majority of kids in school will either not go or not finish college.  But the people in power believe that everyone should have to take the same path to success as they did.
7.  Not all kids care about college, when they are in high school, many don’t realize how difficult the “real world” will be without that college degree.  But most simply want to start their life and get away from someone else running their life for them.  After a couple of years of this they come to the realization that education is the way out of physical labor and some attempt to come back to school or go to college at night.  Would it have been easier if they had done it right out of high school -probably.  But as my teacher told me…they had to experience life first to know what they actually wanted out of life.
8.  That kids today are not held responsible for their actions, that if a kid “using his words” acts like a bonehead  what happens to them?  Nothing.  School is like a job where you have the boss’s kid working there and you can’t fire them for screwing up and you have to continually put up with a horrible attitude and performance without any consequence to the kid that matters. He said it would be like him taking on an apprentice and no matter how badly the apprentice acts, he has to keep the kid on.  It certainly isn’t teaching self responsibility or how to be an effective worker.

I asked him what he would like to see out of education and after he paused to think for a moment he simply stated.

“Let kids pursue their interests, it is their life, let them live it.  If a kid wants to go to college, work on computers, okay, but if they want to work on small engines like I do that’s okay too, but give them the basics of reading, writing and math.  After that let them decide what they want to be taught”. 

Profound words, but I think wise words.

We discussed many more things in that time together and my teacher related a bit of his life.  He was not a very good student in high school, but he did graduate, he bounced around a bit, but always like working on small engines and when his dad decided to cut back, he joined the family business.  It is now his business and it provides him with a decent living, not much time off, but he works for what he has and he is very proud of what is his.

I asked him if he regretted not going to college and he stated, he wasn’t cut out for college and that it simply would have been a waste of someone’s hard earned money for him to try to attend.

This morning’s teacher is one that will survive the flattening of the world just fine.  But I sincerely wish that I had a recording of this lesson that I was given this morning, it has really caused me to think.

Part III is where I reflect on what I have learned this morning.

Technorati Tags: at-risk youth,attitude,blog,certification,choice,classroom2.0,comments,debate,decision,frustration,graduation,highschool,lesson,politics,problem,reform,teaching,teachers,shaw

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Learning From a Master Teacher – Part 1

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com)

I did more “learning” this morning than I have in the 6 years, I have been a teacher.  I needed to replace my chain saw and didn’t want to go to one of the big box stores.  So I went the place where I get my sno-blower repaired, a little whole in the wall shop in a very typical small town.  The gentleman who runs this shop took it over from his father is a couple of years ago and is a little younger than me.

He greeted me politely, casually discussed what my experience with a chain saw was and what I would be using it for, he steered me towards a few options.  After figuring out what chain-saw would be the right one, he took me me outside and showed me how to operate the one I was going to buy,  He had an idea of my level of expertise, because in our conversation he had taken the time to find out my experience level, what I had been using previously and why I needed a new one.  While we were out there he showed me the differences between my old saw (he just “happened” to have one like my old saw) and the new chain saw.

While the basic operations were the same there were some very important differences and if I had not known about them, I could have damaged the saw or even less fun — myself.  He also showed me the proper setup of the saw, that it actually worked and some very important maintenance and operating tips.  He also answered some questions that I had always wondered about and he didn’t look down his nose while answering me, even though I am sure they were questions I should have known the answer to, but didn’t.

During the sales presentation another gentleman came in with an older model of the same saw I was purchasing.  My teacher asked his assistant to start the repair process and he continued to talk with me about my saw, when the repair reached a certain stage he politely excused himself and oversaw the assistant’s work and took over while the assistant watched closely when it came to a certain point.  While he worked on the saw, the other customer and I discussed how much he liked the saw and how great the service at the shop was.

The whole sales transaction took about 45 minutes and I learned a great deal about operating my new chain saw.  When I bought my first chain saw, I walked into big box store, went to tool aisle, picked up box, waited in line for a cashier, paid money and walked out in less than 10 minutes.  I had never owned or operated a chain saw prior to this, so I took it home, not knowing if it worked or how to operate it safely.  Looking back I am very lucky that I didn’t injure myself seriously in my ignorance.

That was my initial lesson from this master teacher.   Looking back at it here are some of the lessons he taught me.

1.  Get to know your student.  Take the time to learn where they are experience wise (background knowledge).
2.  Get them the rights tools for what they want to do, don’t give them way too much or not enough.  Sometimes we overwhelm students with too much cools stuff (or stuff we think is cool) or let them flounder around without the proper tools, because we don’t know how to use tool they need and don’t want to show our ignorance.
3.  Answer student questions without being sarcastic or give them the “you’re supposed to know that already attitude.”  I was shown that even though I have been operating a chain saw for over 10 years, that I had huge gaps from what I had learned to what I should know.
4.  Its okay to let other students help out when you are busy doing something else, just keep a an eye on what’s going on and take over only needed.  Also that other students can help teach a new student.
So I will be a lot safer when running a chain saw now, than I was before I spoke with this master teacher.  This master teacher does not have a college degree, he is not certified as high qualified in his subject area, but he has a natural ability to teach that I and from what I have seen when observing some other teachers can only wish that we had.

This metaphor was very pertinent to where I am in my teaching practice…

BUT IT WAS AFTER THE SALE WAS COMPLETE THAT I LEARNED THE MOST ABOUT EDUCATION.  If you have ever lived in a small town and purchased something in a small town store, part of the “deal” is that you have to stay and attempt to solve the problems of the world.  This master teacher and I proceeded to talk for about another hour in between customers.  He stopped everything that he was doing (and he had a shop full of repair work to be done) and focused his attention on our conversation.  That is part II of this blog.

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Comment-Solutions for High School Reform Efforts in the U.S.

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

Cross Posted @ http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2008/04/10/podcast242-solutions-for-high-school-reform-efforts-in-the-united-states-part-1/
Wesley I was listening to your latest podcast this afternoon while sitting in the sauna.  Your discussion on sports, standards based education, differentiation and more, really got me thinking (I know a dangerous thing for a teacher to do)  Especially when it goes against the popular stance in education today.  Although I strongly agree with the your and Alan Bersin, Secretary of Education in California regarding the creation of smaller schools and getting rid of the “mega schools”.  I did have some thought about your topic.

First:  Sports –  I disagree with your assessment regarding maintaining “large” athletic teams.  I very strongly believe that althletics are intertwined into academia and they should be, they are another form of “intelligence” and should be incorporated into curriculum even more than it is now.  Athlectics at the high school level should be made accessible to more students not less.  In the case of the “mega school” the ratio of the number of students actually participating in sports is less than when you have several smaller schools with several sports teams.  The idea of going to smaller schools may decrease the overall involvement in state title games by an area that are so important to some community members, but having “mega schools” also decreases the number of opportunities for student participation in scholastic sports.

So if a city is large enough to have 2 high schools, you almost double of the number students participating in athletic programs, than if the city maintains one mega school.  I not saying that this happens all the time, but I believe It would be a shame if the next superstar athlete was cut from a mega school team, lost interest in school, got into trouble, gets suspended, quits school, lots of involvement with court system.  Where this same student at a smaller school makes the team, is “nurtured”/mentored by the coach, stays in schools, earns all state, goes to college, goes pro and makes more money than I will ever see in my life.  I know that this is an exaggerated example, but the optimist in me believes it could happen and has happened.  Maybe I am way off base, but I also understand the local politcal realities and how powerful athletic supporters are.  “Pun intended” 🙂

Second:  Standards Based Education.  I agree with your opinions completely on this issue.  This could be an entire book.  Standards based education means teaching to a laundry list of what  learners need to learn and the amount of time it would take to do it all, is not at all realistic, in the current time available to us.  Please show me actual statistics (not the ones “portrayed” to support one argument or the other, as we all know statistics can be manipulated to support almost anything) where standards based teaching provides a significantly or even appreciably better K-12 education than what I received when I graduated back in 1975.  I am not saying my education was perfect, but I do believe that my school (a small rural school in Maine with a 129 graduating senior that year) provided a more rounded curriculum that met the needs of all students attending not just those who planned to go to college then we do today.

Whether our educational leaders believe it or not (or even like it or not) not all students will go to college after high school [sarcasm intended].  That  kind of  “talk” is more politically motivated and geared for propaganda purposes than being reality based.  We still need electrician, plumbers, carpenters, auto mechanics, etc. (heck many of them make more money than I do as a college educated teacher), but historically don’t do well on standardized testing and are the very ones dropping out, because of the standards based learning that we are forcing on them.  These students only want basic instruction, and want us to embedd further educational needs into a vocational structure, so that they learn “what they need to learn” and not waste time learning “stuff” they will hardly ever use.

Third:  Differentiation in the classroom it is more necessary now than ever.  The gaps between those that can and those that have difficulty is getting wider in this knowledge based economy and with the technology available today differentiation can be accomplished more easily than at any time in history.  Differentiation is good teaching.

I believe that we are professionals and as such politicians need to let us do our job without over-regulating us.  Harold

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Blogging = Mob Rule

REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

In the Blended Learning Website there is a discussion going on over whether blogging “offers more harm than help”.

hcraig said:Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur , argues that blogs offer more harm then help as they feed our obsessions with casual commentary on celebrities, tech trends and focus on the idiosyncrasies of a small number of obsessive personalities.Keen proposes that most blogs and user-generated Web content will cheapen culture and journalism and warns: “when ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule.”

Hshawjr disagreed:

I believe that blogs are in effect a safety valve for many in society. It is better to get it off “your” chest than to allow things to seeth within you. Therefore, just on that alone, blogs have a great value in our society. Also they allow the dissemination of alternative ideas (many of which I don’t agree with), but believe that they should be available to be read and discussed to show good and bad points without censorship (or censored by agreement of the group they are in).In the past only a relative few have had access to being able to publish their thoughts. The idea that you or I might be able to discuss openly with others (lots of others) our perspectives, scares the bejessums out of the elites in society (those who would control the masses by providing them only the information they want them to have). In the U.S. there are about 10 people that own 90% of the print media is this a good thing…no it allows a small segment of society to control too much information and as we know the old saying is that “Information is Power”. I have been involved with “media distortion” of events, what was in the paper was completely different from what I saw as someone standing watching the event.

So even if a blog is totally off the wall, it does serve a purpose, after all we don’t have to read it if we choose not to and we can comment and tell the author that they are totally off wall and the reason why we believe that they are. We are having a conversation only instead of face to face it is being done by writing.

But now we have a world as our audience, someone from Israel, India, China or Brazil could be reading my words and then giving me feedback on my thoughts and giving me a perspective that I did not enjoy prior to their entering into my blog conversation. So to me blogs are invaluable to the common people of the
world, but scary as hell to those who are currently in power. Fingers got moving too fast again.

So I will remain an amateur and enjoy my egotism in my blog  and let the mob rule (I believe it is called democracy).    🙂


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REPOSTED FROM MY THOUGHTS (hshawjr@blogspot.com/haroldshawjr.com) 10/26/10

Lisa – Some of your comments do hit home and pretty hard, there are several different tacts that I could take in responding to your post.  So I will take the “high road”.

There are some teachers out there like you describe, but there are many more out there who are smart, dedicated and want to see their students be successful, but have been “stopped”  or limited by administration, political decisions (i.e. NCLB), funding, school consolidation, student behavior/attitudes, parental issues etc. which we teachers have no say over and do lead to apathy and burnout in the teaching profession.  A teacher can be the most engaging individual, show genuine interest in the individual student,  with the greatest lessons in the world, but if the students are not “ready” to be taught, then no amount of effort on the part of the teacher will work.  Do this year, after year and wonder why, some of the attitudes you observed were present, but I still strongly believe that these teachers are in the minority and the majority are at the other end of the spectrum.  Perhaps I am old and idealistic with a touch of realism, but the glass is half-full for me.

Your experiences in the high school classroom are limited and I do not believe that the picture you paint of high school teachers is the national epidemic that you seem to imply.

The students in your college class are older than the average high school student (more mature), are paying for the “privilege” of attending that college class and hopefully are much more motivated than a student who is just doing time in school because they “have to”.  The students you describe are closer to apex of the academic pyramid than its base, so I would anticipate and expect those students to be working diligently in your classes.

At times in your post, you sound a bit “elitist”, I do not know if that was your intent, but that is how you came across to me?  If that was not your intent then you made poor choices of words, which will cause many of your readers to discredit some of your points.  That is the problem with the written language at times, you cannot write in inflection.  If it was your intent to be condescending to your readers who are high school teachers, that is okay, it is your right in this country to have your views, but you will not retain your audience’s attention and will quickly loose your readers.

Are there incompetent teachers at all grade levels (Pre-K to Post-Graduate) – absolutely, but there are so many dedicated professionals that you have not had the pleasure to meet or work with that you “throw under the bus” with this blog, that its generalizations are unfair to those individuals.  You acknowledge that that we exist (competent high school teachers), but your sweeping generalizations diminish the positive statements you include in your blog.

So before you damn an entire profession “High School Teachers”, look at the entire picture, that high school teachers do have to endure, especially the things we have no control over.

So therefore, I personally feel your condemnation of the profession that I have chosen as my second career is a bit “over the top”, but does have an undetermined amount of truth that needs to be listened to.  Thank you for your attempt to educate high school teachers about how “you” feel about our profession.

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