Sunday, April 7, 2013

Scholastic Teachers

Scholastic Teachers has a Facebook page. They frequently let teachers pose questions for other teachers to answer. Even though I'm not a teacher, I take the liberty of commenting on those questions. I came across two questions today for which I offered comments.

The first question was from a teacher who was frustrated working for a micromanaging principal. Here's what I said:

It's a very difficult situation and one that is hard to deal with when you are micromanaged. I've had different bosses over the course of my career and, in the end, I've found that the most productive solution has been to secure a job (if I could) elsewhere, with a boss I liked. I do a certain amount of career counseling, and one of the things I tell people when interviewing for a job is to always look for who will be your boss, and consider what that person is like during the interview. That said so far, I would now like for you to think about what it is like for you, as a teacher, to micromanage the home. Teachers don't typically realize this, but when you give homework assignments that override the authority of the parents, you are actually micromanaging the home. That can be as difficult for the parent as your situation with your principal is. I'm not saying that you should not give homework. I'm saying that you should do so understanding that the parent is the final decision-maker in the home. If the parent feels it is best to reduce the homework demand, you should always defer (whether or not you agree) to what the parent decides. You can make your point. Just understand who has the final say.
The second question was from a teacher seeking advice about how to deal with a "reluctant reader." Here's my comment to that question:

I would be very careful using the concept "reluctant readers." Kids who appear reluctant often have under-the-radar reading problems. When we fail to understand this, we risk causing them harm. If a child is a reluctant reader, then that child most likely has homework problems as well. If we hold on to the notion that he could do his homework if he only tried, without realizing that he cannot read at a reasonable pace, we set that kid up for a lifetime of negativity and a distaste for school.
What do you think? Please post a comment.

For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers. 


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