Monday, February 07, 2005

A body blow to the self-esteem movement

A teacher named James in New York responding to This Is True article on the dumbing down of scholastics in the name of self-esteem: "Finally, it
happened. You offended me. In your latest dispatch someone with very
little insight wrote a piece about teachers trying to shove their
students into the same mold. This professional educator, along with
many, feel our hands tied by ADMINISTRATORS who, like the spineless
cretins they are, worry about such things as if we hurt the feelings of
a child when we tell them the answer they gave is wrong. They are the
ones with parents breathing down their backs. The administrators also
know that Johnny can't read. That's because Mom and dad will buy a 65
inch HDTV plasma television before they buy a book to put into their
kids hands. Don't forgot that in mommy and daddy's eyes Johnny can't do
any wrong. When he doesn't study because there are no rules at home and
Johnny is up later than the teacher. It is always the teacher's fault
why Johnny can't read. I don't teach in an affluent part of town, nor
do I teach in the heart of a crime infested city. I have several 13
year olds in my classes who have rap sheets longer than my tie. They
are found wandering the streets at three or four in the morning when
there is school the next day. Mom and dad didn't even know they were
out. Of course when the blame is unrefutably the parents, they just
throw up their hands and say, 'I just don't know what to do any more.'
But somewhere along the lines an administrator is telling us from their
ivory tower, how to fix the world and make everything all better for
the kid. What does the administrator do? Worry about the self esteem of
the child. Teachers seem to be the scapegoat in your little blurb. Walk
a mile in my shoes and you'll run screaming the other way. Is it the
teacher who pushes the child with a single digit average on? NO! We
know better. We know skills and lessons were not learned. But heaven
forbid the school district should look bad. Currently in New York State
the Commissioner of Education (the head administrator) is thinking of
tying student performance to State aid. So if the kids do poorly they
suffer with less tools like books, papers, and pencils (do you really
think everyone brings them to school)? Teaching positions are cut
because the aid is no long flowing in and the classes get crowded and
little Johnny is lucky to get the attention of one teacher for four
minutes a week. Don't get me wrong, not all administrators are like
this. So I'm not sure who wrote that piece but obviously someone who is
ill informed. If you would pass it on to them, I would appreciate it."

... How's that teaching gig working for ya, James?

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