Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Favorites: I Can Say This I Am a Teacher


        I am linking to Chari’s Sunday Favorites in celebration of its 1st birthday.


        If you see a teacher during spring testing in Texas, give them a hug; it is TAKS time.
        Here we go again with faulty reasoning and skewed thinking .
        We can hold teachers accountable for a multitude of responsibilities, but whether our kids are smart is not one of them.
        We can hold them responsible for opening doors to that intellect, enhancing that intellect, and even for teaching our children how to use that intellect.
        We can hold them accountable for awakening that intellect and for inspiring a thirst for learning that can't be quenched.
        I just don't think we can expect them to install that intellect.
        I also believe that intrinsic motivation and curiosity far surpass extrinsic motivation any day of the week. I do not believe that the thought of a specific reward, the day of the exam, will determine whether or not a student does well .
        I do not believe that student A thinks,

'I am going to answer these questions incorrectly because no one has offered me pizza , in order for me to do otherwise.'
        Unfortunately, the preparation necessary to master this form of state testing is not usually geared to awakening a lust for learning that today's world demands .

        Just take a look at the faces of students sitting in TAKS tutoring sessions to see what I mean. Expressions of feigned indifference or anxiety ridden terror, yes. Light bulb moments of understanding, painstakingly nurtured by the TAKS tutor, yes.
        Just know that there are a multitude of reasons why students may fail the TAKS test, and it may have nothing to do with how smart they are or how successful they will become.
        Our world is filled with brilliant, highly successful adults whose high school record didn't meet someone's standards.
        Blaming a teacher exclusively for student performance is a little like blaming a car manufacturer for how someone ultimately drives a car: safely or dangerously.
        However , having said that, I know without a shadow of a doubt that every teacher across the street from where I live is giving it their best college try- in fact more than that- regardless of what anyone else says or does.
        That is the purest form of intrinsic motivation.
        They believe they are responsible.
        So when you see a teacher, even if you no longer have children in school, say something. Go out of your way. They have already earned it, regardless of what the scores say in May.



Loui♥ said...

Bravo Laura!
I could not have said it any better..
than you just did!!

Julie Harward said...

I do admire teachers..I think there are really good ones and there are some not so good. I think the main problem lies in the home...too many mothers out of the home..too many kids raised their whole life by can a kid be truly bonded to a parent they know only for a few hours each day?! Parents have stretched themselves too far...they are too tired at night to really be there for all the homework etc. plus get dinner and baths in and take care of themselves. It breaks my heart at what is going on in so many homes today...not all...but so many! God bless kids everywhere and good teachers too! Come say hi :D

Deb said...

Teachers do deserve praise...and so do the parents that make sure their kids are prepared for school...and volunteer their time to help the teachers...

Jojo said...

I hate this test-based education system that we continue to grow. Thank you for all that you do for America's children.

Amelia said...

Having and Daughter and Daughter-in-law who are teachers I so agree with many of the things you mentioned. It takes parents who care to work with the teachers as they can not do it alone.

My hat is off to you as you go thru trial of being a teacher

Jennifer said...


Theresa said...

It amazes me what the kids learn these days, so much harder than when I was there. My five year old granddaughter asked me what is 2+2, 4+4 etc. She knows the answers and it is wonderful to see them thinking and learning! Thanks! Hugs!

Nancy's Notes said...

I agree with Jennifer, AMEN!!

I am going to take this opportunity to praise Laura for being a remarkable, extraordinary, dedicated, brilliant and truly exceptional teacher. Laura was one who cared, one who taught with such grace, a full heart and impressive dedication. Her students knew this, they respected her, they loved her. Laura's teaching style, genius. Laura is loved by so many, she's truly one of a kind.

I am happy she is retired, she has time to dazzle us with her brilliance, she does it so well, doesn't she?

God Bless you Laura and all teachers out there trying to make a difference.


Anonymous said...

Yes!! So well said. My oldest is a teacher and my youngest in college still and going to be a teacher. Middle child majored in Business - where did she come from :) Kidding, kidding.

Thank you for this post.

Kat said...

Amen Laura, you said a mouthful. Cait is ready to graduate, and she will be going into teaching. I know that she hopes to instill a passion for music in her students. But she certainly can't "make" the student have talent! Teaching to the test has to be disheartening for educators who want learning to be fun, thrilling and more. Bravo to you and all the fantastic teachers out there. And to the parents who are involved and help to reinforce that love of learning at home. It can be done, even while working 40 plus hours a week. My husband and I did it, you just have to set priorities. Kathy

Gretchen said...

I'm a former teacher too. I know that it takes a village, yada yada. I do believe it. I wish *some* teachers were more concerned about growing young people into adults rather than grooming little children into robots who stay in a perfect line, sit when told, stand when told, stay quiet when told, etc. I love children and know how perfectly imperfect they are. I wish the school systems allowed for children to learn in an atmosphere of forgiveness. I just don't see a lot of that, and it makes me sad.

The TAKS test, well, I'm new to those here but I don't think they are all bad. After all, the kids are learning important knowledge! Even if it's under the guise of passing the TAKS test, I'm glad the teachers have an expectation to teach the kids certain information. I don't think it's good that teachers & schools are judged on the results of those tests, but I always think it's good when teachers are held to a high standard, and then teachers pass that expectation on to the kids.

Just would be nice if the high expectations came with understanding when failures happen, which they inevitably do.

Ahh, if we only lived in a perfect world!

Best wishes to you!

CHERI said...

As a retired teacher one of the few things I do NOT miss is the testing!!!! I so agree with what you have written. When are the powers-that-be going to wake up and realize what we...they...are doing to our children and to education? I would still be teaching if it weren't for all the testing and the government intervention telling me what I should and should not do for the students in my class. They never ask teachers what we think and what we feel should be done and yet most of them have no educational training or experience. I could stay on this soapbox all day!!!!

Keetha Broyles said...

AMEN sister. We're testing too - - - but here in Indiana we call them ISTEP.

Rustydiva said...

Amen sista!!!! I think the TAKS is a bunch of hooey and always have. Who are these eggheads in Austin that make up all the rules and most have NEVER been in a classroom?! I mostly hate how my child started worrying about passing that monster when he was in the 1st grade!

(Love your blog Laura!)

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Laura...

Ohh...I couldn't agree with you more, my friend! Colorado's CSAP test is the equal to Texas' TAKS! I even have a different "take" on these type of tests...since I worked with special needs students! Thank you for sharing your views and I for one am very thankful for all of the teachers who do sooo much for our children!

Great post, Laura...thank you for sharing it with us this week for the Sunday Favorites "One Year" birthday celebration! So glad that you could participate!

Have a wonderful day and best wishes in the gift card giveaway!

Chari @Happy To Design

Tammy @BeatriceBanks said...

Looking around your wonderful blog and this post caught my eye since I'm a teacher. Taking time off right now and definitely do not miss the testing. I've taught in TX and GA. You are so right. I've never liked the testing but it really came home to us when this past year my son failed CRCT (GA test.) They wanted him to go to summer school. Absolutely not was my reply. He went back and passed the test with zero review and has been on the honor roll this year. So, clearly you cannot measure anything with one test.
Great post!


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