Read by Label:Adult American Asian Beginner Bookworm Bridesmaid Buddhist Catholic Commuter Crafty Cultured Daughter Editor Fan Feminist Graduate Student Granddaughter grateful Ice Queen Intern Medical Student Millennial Mormon Nerd Photographer Postgraduate Runner Short Single Sister Slacker Southerner Sweet Tooth Teacher Tree Hugger Twitterer Unconventional Unemployed Vegan Volunteer Wahoo Wife Woman Yarn Lady Young Adult
Read by Author:
- @marionquanaduck Yes! We'd love to have you again! =) 1 year ago
- A MUST read: Ashley Judd's response to speculation over her ‘Puffy’ face thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/… via @thedailybeast AJ FTW! SO much respect... 1 year ago
- "Ryan Gosling Saves You From a Cab: A Story in Photos" bestweekever.tv/2012-04-04/rya… #awesome #BestWeekEver 1 year ago
- Yesterday was Emily D's birthday and she celebrated it Sweet Tooth style. wp.me/p1buv8-1iN #nocavitieshere 1 year ago
- Things My Mother Told Me That Turned Out to Be Untrue wp.me/p1buv8-1hW courtesy of Joceline's Tiger Mom 1 year ago
Tag Archives: Teacher
Well, I’m in finals mode. Excuse me for this week.
I am finished with five years of college and two degrees next Wednesday.
Job update: I accepted the job, officially. I’m employed!
Oh, and Joceline? I’m frequently sweaty, too. This humid/sunny/thunderstorm weather? Not helping.
See everyone on the flip side, aka end of finals.
I’ve been offered a teaching position with high school students in Never Never Land! It’s merely thirty minutes from my parents’ castle in the sky, and I can work this job and save some money to pay back my student loans (payable in candy canes). It’s with younger high school students who have merely begun their apprenticeship in the long road to learn how to make toys. I’m still not sure if I’ll take the job (I have until Monday), but it’s exciting to know I won’t be living in a cardboard box in the Scary Forest, all alone.
The second thing I want to share is the story of Colin Goddard. Colin went to Virginia Tech, and is a survivor of the April 16th shootings. I was fortunate enough to see him speak at UVA this past Tuesday. He presented a showing of his documentary Living for 32 about his healing process, and also the issue of gun violence in general. You see, Colin took something awful and turned it into a mission to prevent others from experiencing the same thing.
I highly recommend the film. It’s short and to the point. I was afraid that it would be too hard for me to watch, but Colin did a great job of showing what happened in a tasteful (can this experience even be described as tasteful?) way, and he also made it clear that we have an uphill battle to fight on Capitol Hill (and in our individual states) to make sure that every single person who buys a gun has a background check.
Colin works full-time for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
If you can, please take some time to read about the campaign. If you find that you’re convinced that this is a problem (it is!), help them out! Donate, spread the word, take action! And check out Colin’s movie. He’s an inspiration. You can find him on twitter at @clgoddard.
Famous “What Teachers Make” poem by Taylor Mali
Today I spent my day at my first teacher job fair. I was there from 8 am until 4:30 pm, and I’m exhausted, but happy. I felt prepared for my interviews, and proud of the Curry school. I’m too pooped for a long post, but wanted to drop by Life in Labels.
Postscript: Here’s a link to an article about a lecture I attended at UVA’s Rotunda with Pedro Noguera, an expert on school reform.
Check out this article about the status of teachers!
““In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,’ and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect,” Mr. Obama said in a speech on education on Monday.”
For the next few weeks, I plan on talking about getting ready to enter the teaching world. I’m currently attending interviews, job fairs, and information sessions on the regular. Today, I’d like to share with you a synthesis paper I wrote about teacher evaluation for an education policy class. If you’re not into policy (or teaching), maybe skip this post. I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled inane thoughts in a few weeks.
On January 25, 2011, President Obama addressed the nation about the state of the union. After acknowledging the still worrisome state of the economy, he discussed the role of education in economic growth and the part that strong teachers play in fixing a broken system. He remarked, “…after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom” (Obama, 2011). President Obama also mentioned the Race to the Top initiative, which gives money to states with “the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement” (Obama, 2011). At the moment, educational reform is a top priority in the United States.
In an effort to improve teacher quality in Los Angeles, The L.A. Times “obtained seven years of math and English test scores from the Los Angeles Unified School District and used the information to estimate the effectiveness of L.A. teachers” (Felch, Song, and Smith, 2010). The newspaper rated teachers using standardized test results across the years using value-added analysis (Felch et al., 2010).The Times then published a database which made information about teacher effectiveness (in regards to standardized tests) public (Felch et al., 2010). An argument for the importance of a study such as this one is that ineffective teachers are a factor that can keep students from improving in test scores from year to year. Such teachers “often face no consequences and get no extra help” (Felch et al., 2010). Teachers on the high end of the spectrum can “propel students from below grade level to advanced in a single year” (Felch et al., 2010).
Not everyone agrees with the validity of The L.A. Times study. In the article, Felch et al. quote A.J. Duffy, who is the president of United Teachers Los Angeles. Duffy “was adamant that value-added should not be used to evaluate teachers, citing concerns about its reliance on test scores and its tendency to encourage ‘teaching to the test” (2011). He cites a problem that many educators are familiar with; student achievement can be measured in more ways than a standardized test. On February 7, 2011, Valerie Strauss from The Washington Post wrote that “a new study” shows that there are “big flaws” with The L.A. Times project. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, Derek Briggs and Ben Domingue tried to replicate the results that Rand Corp. senior economist Richard Buddin found “through an independent re-analysis of the same data that he had used” (Strauss, 2011). What they found ‘raises serious questions about Buddin’s analysis and conclusions” (Strauss, 2011).
Standardized testing is also not consistent across subject matters. In Education Week, Stephen Sawchu writes that a “widely cited statistic puts the proportion of those who teach in nontested grades and subjects at about 70 percent” (2011). Even for those teachers who do have standardized tests scores available, there can be problems with “technical issues” (Sawchu, 2011). Many subjects “are more performance-based,” like “physical education” or “writing,” and would require “performance assessments to become part of the mix of measures” (Sawchu, 2011). It’s clear that other ways to evaluate teachers must be considered, or “most of the nation’s teachers” will be left out of the “value-added” discussion (Sawchu, 2011). Some argue there are also problems of taking into account demographics and disabilities into test scores. Cathy Corbo, the president of a teachers’ union in Albany, New York, “said that among her union’s members, finding appropriate techniques for assessing teachers of students with disabilities remains a key concern” (Sawchu, 2011).
Another problem with teacher assessment in general is that the qualities of an “effective” teacher are difficult to pin down. In The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “there are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before the start predicts how they’ll do once they’re hired” (2008). The problem with predicating teacher success is compared with predicting the success of quarterbacks as they move from college to the NFL (Gladwell, 2008). The dean of the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, Bob Pianta, is quoted about his “system for evaluating…student-teacher interaction” which finds that having a “regard for student perspective” is an important aspect of an effective teacher (Gladwell, 2008). Gladwell also presents the importance of Jacob Kounin’s “withitness” concept for an effective teacher, which is the ability to “desist” misbehavior with the “proverbial ‘eyes in the back of her head’” (2008). The L.A. Times study found that “experience, education, and training” did not necessarily make an effective teacher, but that being “engaging” was important for effectiveness (Felch et al., 2010). The solution that Gladwell offered is based in a comparison between the difficulties of hiring a successful financial advisor. The financial-advice field “throws the door wide-open” for candidates (20008). Gladwell suggests that the teaching field “should be open to anyone with a pulse and a college degree” and should have “an apprenticeship system that allows candidates to be rigorously evaluated” (2008). At the moment, “pay and job protections [for teachers] depend mostly on seniority, not performance” (Felch et al., 2010). If the pay is the same across the board, there is less incentive to improve and use best practices in teaching. A system based on the financial-advice field would be very costly, and would suddenly turn teaching into a “high-risk profession” (Gladwell, 2008). Success would require paying effective teachers who “survive the minnowing” more (Gladwell, 2008).
Because there still needs to be research and conversations about what makes a teacher effective, the “value-added” analysis of data is very controversial. The process of weeding out the bad from the good will be long, and even then, it is only “the first step” (Felch et al., 2008).
Felch, J, Song, J, & Smith, D. (2010, August 14). Who’s teaching L.A.’s kids?. The L.A. Times, Retrieved from http://latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers-value-20100815,0,2695044.story
Gladwell, M. (2008, December 15). Most likely to succeed. The New Yorker, Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/12/15/081215fa_fact_gladwell
Obama, B. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2011). Remarks by the president in state of union address Washington, D.C.: Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/25/remarks-president-state-union-address
Sawchu, S. (2011, January 31). Wanted: Ways to assess the majority of teachers. Education Week, Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/02/02/19teachers_ep.h30.html
Strauss, V. (2011, February 7). New study: How L.A. Times teachers data is flawed [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/teachers/new-study-finds-flaws-with-la.html
If your child is a middle schooler in Charlottesville, VA, there’s a chance he or she is in my classroom.
Right now it’s 8:20 AM, and I’ve been at school for 20 minutes. I am a teacher. I have chalk dust on my kahki pants (sounds like a Vampire Weekend song…) and I’ve been preparing today’s lesson plans. Today we are reading Edgar Allen Poe stories like “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Triva: Poe went to UVA for a bit before he got thrown out on his butt for not paying. He also lived in room 13 (spooky), and the Baltimore Ravens are named after him. Anyway, I should clarify that I’m a STUDENT teacher. This means that other employees of the school have every right to yell at me or ignore me as they please. Luckily, there has only been one co-worker who has made it his mission to make my life unpleasant. The rest of the team have welcomed me with open arms. The students have welcomed me. It’s been a lovely experience. The interesting thing is that it’s almost over, and soon I will need to pull back from the kids.
Because I am a teacher, I need to go make copies of a quiz the students have today on Latin roots. Because really, what other way is there to learn vocabulary than memorize prefixes and suffixes? (Sarcasm. Or, verbal irony, which we’ve just learned.)
I can promise that I’m not done delving into what being a teacher really means.
For now, I leave you with a letter I wrote to my students (and will give them on my last day).
I love you all. Really, I do. I wish sometimes that you’d stop talking, but I understand that your brains are moving a mile a minute, and that I don’t understand that you’re tired or nervous or busy thinking about that fight you had with your best friend.
Even though I don’t always understand you, and you don’t always understand me, this is a love letter to you. I didn’t always know I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always been over-enthusiastic, and I’ve always loved to read, but I thought I might be a lawyer. After this semester, I can tell you all: I will be a teacher. I am meant to be a teacher. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of you. I’ve made mistakes. Although I’ve made many, many more mistakes than I have room for in this letter, you’ve all stuck with me. I think at the end of this experience, I can say that we’ve made some real progress together. Hopefully, you can write a decent bibliography. Maybe you can even tell me a bit about “The Raven” or The Pearl. Perhaps you could spot a literary allusion in the newspaper.
All I know is that you’ve given me a great gift. I’ve been able to learn with you all.
First black: I’ve learned how to better handle extraordinary levels of talking. Maybe I don’t handle it perfectly… but, at least you’ve exposed me to it. And to you wise guys (you know who you are): thanks for making me laugh. I crack up every single time you’re in my class.
First teal: Thanks for not making fun of me when I screamed at the bug. [Anonymous boy]: thanks for trying to help kill the bug.
Second: I will always have a special place in my heart for you babies. I hope that you remember me. Thank you for teaching me how to have a relationship that still fosters a learning environment. We can have fun, and be close, and still learn. You taught me how!
Fourth: I’ve learned so much with you. It’s a small class, which has brought its own unique challenges. I truly believe that each of you is a wonderful human being, capable of reaching the moon. Do your homework, and no one will be able to hold you back.
I remember the first time I had to stand in front of the room and try to lead a class. It was terrifying. Imagine how you feel when you have to respond to a question that you don’t know the answer to. That’s how I felt on my first day. With your help, I think I’ve improved a great deal. Also, those letters you wrote me are so valuable, you can’t even imagine. I’ve learned I need to work on time management and organization. But, I’ve also learned that I’m good at what I do. You have no idea how much it means to me to read through the letters you wrote to my future students. Thank you for taking the assignment seriously, and thank you for being honest.
I will keep my email address [teacher email address] active, so if you ever need ANYTHING, please let me know. I’ll help with any advice you can throw my way. Also, you’ll probably be stuck with me as a substitute sometime in the future, and I’ll definitely be back to visit next semester. So, don’t get too excited if you absolutely hated me. I’ll be back.
Until then, I love you all. Be good.