Sunday, September 16, 2012

More on respecting teachers

Yesterday, I commented on an article in the Washington Post. Today, there is an article in the New York Times addressing the question of respect for teachers from a different angle. In this article, the author focuses on how teachers are portrayed in the media. Here's the comment I submitted to the New York Times in reference to this article:

There will always be movies, TV shows, and books that take different positions on all types of professions, some serious, some comical, some honoring, some caustic, some satirical. But if we want to understand what is happening to the teaching profession, we need to look at the ways in which pressures have moved teachers away from where they do the most good, in their direct relationships with their students. Some of this comes from outside – our obsession with stats and evaluations. Some comes from the profession – its obsession with homework. The author refers to “To Sir With Love.” How did “Sir” succeed? He did not do this feeling pressured that his students get high scores on the test, and he did not weaken his authority by making his teaching dependent on his students’ parents making sure they did their homework. If anything, he accepted things that were out of his control, and stayed centered on his role, teaching his students while caring for them deeply through the process. And what do we with our underachieving schools? We give them more work to do at home and lecture their parents (some from the pulpit of the presidency) on what those parents must do at home outside of loving their children and doing their best to keep them fed and put a roof over their head. Revise homework policy. Encourage teachers to be fully present with their students in class. And you will see improvements in education and in the ways in which we view our teachers.

Visit The Homework Trap website

Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.

Wyndmoor Press now offers bulk rate discounts to parent, school, and community groups. We recommend Amazon for single copy purchases.

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