On this page, I welcome guest writers (or ghost writers, since they’ll most likely be using pseudonyms so that they can keep their jobs as teachers). My goal is to include many voices, so if you know of someone who would like to contribute, email me at pedagogicalruckus at gmail dot com!
NOTE: The following guest post was written by a high school teacher known on this blog as Straight Laced.
Merit pay seems like a great idea at first. Pay teachers for what they are doing well, right? Let us also test the heck out of students and punish everyone for poor results. When that does not work, let us up the stakes and blame teachers. Let us go farther; fire all those incompetent teachers. Yup. Do you know what we will have? Empty classrooms. My state wants to “fix” what is wrong with education by using some of the preceding stellar ideas!
Here is a suggestion: Let’s fix what is actually not working. Many students live in poverty. Food, shelter, and clothing are at the top of their priority list. Coming to school is not. When those students come to school, some of them ask for help, others do not. How can I effectively teach students about Shakespeare if they are worried about their next meal or where they will sleep that night?
Some students do not care. Some of the tricks in my bag may motivate some or only motivate them for awhile. I teach relevant, engaging curriculum that meets our state standards. However, sometimes that is not enough to fix their lack of motivation.
Some students lack the skills necessary to be successful in school. My average class size is 30. My total load of students this year for five classes is 150 students. Try as I might, I am not able to help all my students all the time.
It is important to keep all parties accountable in education, not just teachers. Let us work to increase accountability for students and parents. Punishing the teachers only punishes everyone.
There are so many factors to why our school systems to not work. For once let us take a look at the bigger picture. Let us take on the bigger issues. Stop blaming the teachers for what teachers cannot do alone.