(Jim Blockey) – According to a poll conducted on education by Stanford University, an “overwhelming majority of Americans are frustrated that it’s too difficult to get rid of bad teachers.” I ask again, define what a bad teacher is?
In a December 14, 2010 article by the AP, “Poll: Most want easier way to fire bad teachers,” it said, “78 percent think it should be easier for school administrators to fire poorly performing teachers.” What is a poorly performing teacher? Student achievement? How would you like to spend tens of thousands of dollars and five or six years of your life to get an education just to have an eight year olds desire, drive, attitude and ability define your worth in your profession?
As I pointed out in my book, “Teachers… It Ain’t Your Fault,” (a book that played a part in my temporary termination from 20 year teaching position) teachers are expected to perform miracles under perilous conditions. Children have little or no respect, mainly because all they hear about from parents, administrators and media is about getting rid of bad teachers.
Years ago teachers had a full fifty minutes to teach; now much of our time is wasted on discipline and classroom management. This takes away teaching time; in other words disruptive, disrespectful children take education time away from the children that are there to learn.
If you think I am over exaggerating, here is what 1100 teachers heard at a teacher conference on March 12, 2004 here in Las Vegas. A Dr. Hartwig, supposedly one of the leading guru’s on discipline in America’s schools said, “If a student kicks you, bites you or spits on you, it is your fault.” In his hand out he wrote that teachers must be able to just “take it.”
Ok, how many of you out there want to become teachers? What a great recruiting tool this guy is to attract teachers.
In the article a Carmen Williams, an office manager, said the issue is simple: Pay teachers more and get rid of bad ones. Good teachers are hard to find and the reason is they’re not paid enough. Well it is not that simple to pay teachers more, it would cost the tax payer an exorbitant amount of money. In Clark County if we raised teacher salaries just 10% (this would only be around $130 a paycheck) it would cost the tax payer around $90 million. As far as getting rid of bad teachers… I again ask how you define one.
Also in the article a professor at Stanford, Larry Cuban, said parents believe “all U. S. schools are lousy except the schools we send our kids to.” That may be true, but as I point out in my book the real problem is, “all parents want more discipline in schools, but no parent wants their child disciplined.” Until discipline is fixed education will continue to be in mayhem.
It was nice to hear Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers quoted in the article saying, “The scapegoating of teachers must stop.” This is so true; remember, every time a child hears an authority figure talk about bad teachers we are giving them an excuse to fail and be disruptive. Their comeback will be, and I have heard it more than once, “You said teachers are terrible, that is why I failed and talked back to that teacher.”
(Jim Blockey, Teacher/Author “Teachers… It Ain’t Your Fault”