Are Teachers at Fault?
I received the following comment from Scott, who identifies himself as a teacher.
“I think you are under the false assumption that all teachers are as enthusiastic about teaching as you!
There must be a strong system in place to ensure teachers are fulfilling their obligations to students. ”
“I have seen far too many teachers taking the easy way out (read this chapter and do this worksheet) to rely on teachers to always do the right thing. Anyone can put on a dog and pony show for PDAS’s one formal observation! What is that teacher doing the other 186 days? As a teacher and a parent that is my greatest concern.”
“In many cases I belief that the failure of the student is the direct fault of the teacher and not the curriculum.”
“As any good teacher should be able to teach regardless.”
Response from Janice VanCleave
Scott, I taught for 27 years in public schools. I was more familiar with what fellow science teachers did and with few exceptions, the teachers who only had kids reading the text and doing worksheets were coaches. A large percent of Texas school administrators were coaches who may have been great coaches but not always so good in the science classroom. While coaches may be good at many duties of an administrator, they are are always good at judging the value of curriculum. But an administrator doesn’t have to be knowledgeable in science to know that a teacher is not doing his/her job.
PDAS, which is an evaluation sheet that administrators bring with them . It is a checklist. An evaluation system should be built around goals and growth rather than checklists, critiques, especially where a teacher stands in the room and if students are in groups having fun. I’ve worked under different administrators and know the good the bad and the very ugly. I’ve visited many school districts and in schools where there is a working relationship between the teachers and administrators, the atmosphere is different. It is called “a growth-focused environment,” and teachers are excited about their jobs.
Scott, you are correct that good teachers are able to teach regardless of the curriculum, but it is stressful when the administration is ever watchful to make sure the curriculum is being followed.
Scott, you promote the instructional materials from the Education Service Centers, CSCOPE and now the new name TRS. I challenge you to prove how the Instructional Focus Documents (IFDs) being sold to Texas schools prepares students to take the 5th grade science STAAR tests. I have studied the IFDs for 5th grade science and they are little more than the TEKS written in outline form. Without textbooks–which was promoted by the ESCs–teachers are spending a lot of time researching for every lesson.
Your statement about teachers using textbooks and worksheets has been repeated by directors at the ESCs promoting the sell of CSCOPE. It’s ironic that CSCOPE only had worksheets for student with no resource information. Kids reading textbooks and answering worksheet questions may the kids who are passing the STAAR tests. All the answers to to 5th grade 2014 science STAAR test are the out dated science book that my local school district has had stored away since 2011. Books have not been used since CSCOPE was implemented in 2011. Remember that CSCOPE was promoted as lower cost for instruction material because textbooks would not be needed.
Are there ineffective school teachers? You bet and the number is growing every day. This is because veterans teachers are being run off. Veteran teachers are considered negative influences because they promote traditional education of providing students with information first and then challenging them to develop their critical thinking with monitored discovery investigations. The “21st Century Progressive” teaching methods promotes students teach each other. Turn around classrooms— Students discovering everything is like reinventing the wheel instead of starting with the wheel and improving on it.
The 21st Century Progressive methods are a foundation for socialism. Students are not being taught to think for themselves. Instead they work in groups and share ideas. No one points out that group work is generally the work of a few. No one points out that the STAAR/EOC tests are not taken by groups. Thus those who are doing the work in the groups do well on the STAAR/EOC tests and the other fail.
Teachers who have to teach in spite of the controlling administrations burn out and retire early or find jobs where they are allowed to teach.
Yes, good teachers can teach in spite of not having books and quality curriculum etc… if administrators are not monitoring:
- where they stand
- if they are within arms length of a student at all times
- if they have the TEKS for the lesson printed on the board
- if they are following the mandated schedule (doesn’t allow teachers to answer questions about current events)to make sure students are having fun –yes a teacher was given a negative report because students were not having fun. There are times that students don’t understand concepts and may feel frustrated–if given freedom to teach, a good teacher can solve problems but it might not happen within the 3 minute walk-through that administrators make to evaluate a teacher.
Who is evaluating administrators? Good administrators do not need check-lists to know which teach is doing a good job. Sadly, because of poor discipline of students, teacher turn-over in some districts is high. Administrators don’t often have a choice –they have to hire anyone with a pulse.
So let’s take a look at parents. Why is the discipline so bad? If a teacher is not good, why are parents putting up with this? The bottom line is that too many parents want their children educated but do not want to spend time making sure this is happening.