This link will take you to the entire series... very nice website!
And on The News Hour: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/video/module.html?mod=1&pkg=0602brazil&seg=1
From JERRY-P-BECKER-BIG-L List [JERRY-P-BECKER-BIG-L@listserv.siu.edu
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 10:29 AM
From the Rochester [NY] Democrat and Chronicle, Wednesday, June 4, 2008.
Our thanks to Victor Steinbok for bringing this article to our attention.
Teachers cannot teach if students refuse to learn
By Latoya Manon [Guest essayist]
Seemingly, many people who are not teachers think they could do a better job than most teachers. Everyone has gone to school and has had teachers, so how hard could it be to teach? Well, I would like to give you an opportunity to walk in our shoes by posing some questions that we teachers often deal with:
# What would you do if all you have ever wanted to do is teach, but you find yourself doing mostly test prep?
# What would you do if you had to dip into your personal budget to buy school supplies for students who refused to come to class with those supplies? Never mind that their brand-new shoes probably cost more than your entire outfit.
# What would you do if you had planned a wonderful lesson, but more than half of your class failed to show up for no particular reason at all? Do you teach that lesson to those in class and then teach it over and over so the other kids get caught up? (Remember, you don't want to leave anyone behind.)
# What would do if you held after-school and/or Saturday extra-help sessions and no one showed up even after you called homes, sent letters and offered extra credit for those attending? Remember, you have to get as many students as you can to pass the Regents exams or New York state will say you're an ineffective teacher.
# What would you do if you had a student on the verge of dropping out or refusing to do any work because he felt that his teacher didn't care about him, and refused to see that his lack of effort and his disrespect for people and rules were actually the issue? "My teacher doesn't like me" was an unacceptable excuse for failure in my home.
# What would you do if sports became more important to your students than reading, writing or thinking?
# What would you do if you called parents to notify them of their child's belligerent behavior and they responded, "Well, you must have done something to him because Sam doesn't just cuss people out for no reason"?
# What would you do if parents told you not to call them anymore about their children, or even hung up on you?
# How do you teach pupils who want to learn while making sure that you don't leave behind those who don't want to learn?
# How do you teach students to be respectful and responsible adults and positive contributors to society when bureaucracy has made it acceptable to be less than that? You can't hold students accountable for lost books, missed assignments or bad behavior because, as some would say, "They are poor; they don't know any better."
# What would you do if a student often slept in your class because she had to watch siblings or her own children all night, or maybe just hung out and went to bed very late? Remember, detention is not an option because students may play a sport after school or they might have more important things to do than stay for detention.
# What would you do if you knew students were graduating without being ready for college or having any alternative plan?
# What would you do if a student threatened you with bodily harm but suspension was no longer an option because the district was trying to keep a lid on suspension numbers?
# What would you do if you wanted to spend time with your family but you had to plan lessons, grade papers, assist in school events, etc.?
Your day doesn't end when the bell rings.
Many of you may have the answers to these questions - and I challenge the community, corporations and parents to take a more active role in the schools and in the lives of children and young adult students.
Everyone has something to offer that may change the life of a child or young adult.I am a graduate of the City School District where I now teach, and I am also a parent of a ninth-grader in the CSD - and it is obvious that something has gone terribly wrong. Our kids are learning how to shortchange themselves from a flawed system that refuses to make them accountable and promotes mediocrity. How can we expect young people to become productive contributors to society if we refuse to give them the basic tools they need?
Parenting doesn't stop once your child goes to school. However, the sad part is that even if the community, schools and parents work together, if the student refuses to see that he or she has to take an active role in learning, then change will be difficult. Whether they believe it or not, students have to be vested in their own education.T hey have to want to learn and to better themselves.
Manon is a teacher in the City School District.