Mission Possible: The Road To Good Teaching with Giveaway

Some of the hardest working people are teachers. I cannot imagine being a teacher right now. With learning disabilities being diagnosed left and right, food allergies, and helicopter parents…teachers have a full plate.

It seems that the media and special interest groups are always pointing their fingers at the teachers whether it be about pay, union contracts, or test scores.  These people (teachers) have families to support and lives also.  I think that sometimes people tend to forget that.  Teachers are in charge of your children at least 6-7 hours a day, 5 days a week.  We need to respect their education and experience more.

I went to public school from kindergarten through high school, and so did my husband.  I also attended and received my Bachelor’s Degree from a state university.  My son goes to our local public school.  I believe in public schools and teachers.

My son is going into second grade this year, which will be his third year of public school.  I’ve been involved in the beginning.  I’ve volunteered in the class, signed up to work at the Book Fair, and even baked cupcakes for an event.  Teachers cannot do this alone. Like I said previously, teachers have a full plate and with economic barriers, they are severely burdened.

mission_possible_book

I recently read the book, Mission Possible: How The Secrets of The Success Academies Can Work In Any School by Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia. Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of the highly regarded Success Academy Charter Schools, and literacy specialist Arin Lavinia offer groundbreaking, classroom-tested methods for dramatic improvement in teaching and learning. Moskowitz and Lavinia reveal how one Harlem charter school, comprised of neighborhood children selected at random, railed against all odds to emerge as one of the top schools in New York City and State within its first three years. Success Academy scholars have met or exceeded the test results of public schools for gifted students and elite private schools.

Do I agree with everything in the book? No, but I do think that sometimes you need to look outside the box and see how things can be improved.  I think in any career field, you need some kind of mentor or training program.  If you don’t have staff development or education for the employees, how can they evolve?

Stagnation, being unable to accomplish one’s job at a high level, is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale.  Why do you think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions? 

Every career field can be stagnate.  People turn into robots, doing the same thing over and over. This is even more so for teachers.  Can you imagine teaching the same curriculum over and over, year after year?  I don’t think that their is enough input received from the actual teachers.  Most teachers are given the curriculum from the administration and are told to teach it; to pass state tests, etc.

How can any of this be positive? Without a peer support system or mentoring program, there is no way for teachers to evolve.  I know that every teacher has some kind of feedback that they want to give, but is there anyone listening to them?  In the United States, careers in teaching are not thought of as highly as doctors, lawyers, or engineers.  But who do all of these professionals start their careers with? Teachers are the foundation of everything, they should be respected.  Without excellent education, there would be not  doctors, lawyers, or engineers.

What can we do as parents to help out our teachers and schools? To prevent this stagnation and evolve into better and excellent academic programs. Is is charter schools, mentoring programs, volunteering?

Answer this question along with other options for a chance to win a free copy of Mission Possible along with a DVD of video from Success Academy Classrooms!

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Disclosure:  I was compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

2 comments
NC Narrator
NC Narrator

My husband is a high school chemistry teacher, and I am a teacher wannabe (pity him, since I live my dream vicariously through him! LOL). He's lateral entry - which means he got his college degree in physics and didn't decide to become a teacher until about 7 years ago at the age of 35. He teaches at a "disadvantaged" school. Several years ago now, the school was in danger of being shut down. The students simply were not performing well, and the dropout rate was extreme. The district decided to open an academy at the school, in an adjacent building. My husband started at the school their first year and never looked back. There are two course options: Construction Technology, and Medical Technology. The students begin taking classes at the local community college in their senior year, and can finish an associates degree at that college for free. This is what we have discovered: 1) These kids have a plan. It is now our mantra that we would rather have a hundred completely average students with a plan, than ten honors students who just don't care. 2) These kids have parents (or other adults) in their lives who have a plan. It helps. It helps a LOT! My husband can call home to discuss an attitude problem and hear, "I'm sorry he/she behaved that way. We'll take care of it and it will never happen again." And it doesn't. AND, the student typically apologizes the next day. 3) A lot is expected of these kids, and they deliver. This summer (between 12 hour shifts at a local plant because 24K a year just doesn't go very far for a family of 4, even when my meager income is added in), we researched gaming theory. When school started back up a couple of weeks ago, he started incorporating some of what we learned into his classroom. Tesla would have been proud at the number of light bulbs popping on over teenage heads! This was done with, as his students put it, "seriously ghetto" materials. A chutes and ladders game board made of sheets of paper taped together, and chemistry questions written out on scrap paper. Hubby came home on fire, and looking for more ways to bring this concept into his classroom. It taps into something I think most teachers struggle with: motivation. Very few kids are internally motivated, and it's incredibly hard to provide external motivation that works for every student consistently. Gaming theory taps into the fact that games have mastered internal motivation (as evidenced by the fact that I seriously spent two hours the other night trying to beat a level on Plants Vs. Zombies for nothing more tangible than a "You Beat The Level" sort of message!). Watching the kids, he saw them actively teaching themselves and each other the concepts that otherwise would have been covered in a couple of hours of lecture. Which would you rather? Lecture or Chutes and Ladders?

missyg
missyg

Wow, your statement quoted here is something I have pondered as an educator. "In the United States, careers in teaching are not thought of as highly as doctors, lawyers, or engineers. But who do all of these professionals start their careers with? Teachers are the foundation of everything, they should be respected. Without excellent education, there would be not doctors, lawyers, or engineers." To prevent stagnation and evolve into better academic programs it is truly a mix of a lot of different things that need to happen. Some places base teachers salary on student performance. But I believe student performance isn't only based on what happens in the classroom. More and more you are seeing children who come into your classroom whose parents are alcholics or in jail, students in foster care or are homeless. Some of these children only get a hot meal at school. Are charter schools the answer I don't know. Mentoring programs are good. Volunteering is also good. What we need to do is get back to parents and teachers supporting each other because our number one goal is the student learning. State testing needs to become national testing so that if a students family moves to another state they are learning the same thing. I believe in testing student achievment, I don't believe in testing on one test that determines if a child goes on to the next grade or if a teacher gets a pay increase or decrease based on one test. With any career things change, the same is true with education. We do have to remember although a teacher or a school can make huge successes, with a group of students it may not be the same the following year or years to come.