December 22, 2016

"You have teachers coming up to you saying, ‘Don’t go into the profession because you’re limiting your potential.'"

"You’re looking at them, like, ‘What?’" — said a 22-year-old student who is studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to be a teacher.
“Teachers don’t do themselves a favor,” said Amy Traynor, the state’s 2012 middle school teacher of the year. “Too many teachers are talking students out of being teachers.”

81 comments:

Rick said...

Those teachers are doing themselves a favor by limiting their competition.

traditionalguy said...

It sounds like a self pity ploy. They are saying that real growth in status, perks and pay for teachers is unlikely when the gravy train riding by Unionized teachers stops.

Michael K said...

In the 1950s and 60s, education majors came from the upper quintile of college students. It was a favored major for young women from nice families who planned to teach until they got married and began a family. It also was a help to young husbands as they were getting their career started.

Feminism, for all the good it has done for women, has decimated the ranks of teachers and, to some degree, nurses.

Nurses are often from the Philippines or other countries and registered nurses who are American bon, instead of holding BSN degrees as the nursing associations planned when they destroyed the hospital nursing schools, are mostly holders of AA degrees from junior colleges.

Elementary school teachers tend to come from the bottom quintile of college students now.

Bright young women go to medical school and law school.

Sigivald said...

As I understand it, we have too many people with ed degrees (which are worthless except as a credential anyway).

The teachers here are right; being "a teacher" is not the best use of many people's talents.

rehajm said...

Those teachers are doing themselves a favor by limiting their competition.

Winner! They especially don't like smarty pants that might be strong performers becoming teachers, either.

Not that we'll be having performance reviews, mind you...

eric said...

It's tough to get into teaching. Unions protect those who already have a job.

But, if you have a worthless degree, like in underwater basket weaving, then being a teacher or working at McDonalds?

Sydney said...

The state has sucked all the joy out of teaching, just as it is now doing to medicine.

MadisonMan said...

I like the Wisconsin-ness of that 22-year-old's last name: Schwabenbauer.

Too many old teachers can't adjust to the new reality. I sympathize with them to a point, but beyond that point they seem too whiny. When you work for the Public, and the Public changes their minds about things....

Bay Area Guy said...

Teacher's unions (uniformly Leftist) have wrecked the teaching profession, and now their message to aspiring teachers is please don't come.

Another option would be to revive the noble teaching profession by: (1) dismantling the teacher unions and (2) firing the incompetent teachers.

That'd be a start.

Seeing Red said...

Who's to say that student is or is not reaching full potential by becoming a teacher?

OTOH, certain parts of teaching is getting easier.

My hair dresser's kids' elementary school is going to Pass/Fail.

There are computer programs which grade "easy" English course papers.

There are scanners to grade multiple choice tests.

The students, tho - whip and a chair.

I always support the teacher who finds her way into the paper when she duct tapes a kid to the chair or tapes the mouth.

Lewis Wetzel said...

For the life of me I cannot figure out why public school teachers in some places get tenure.
They aren't doing research. They aren't publishing. Tenured profs usually bring in money to their institution (research, again). Their job protection does nothing to improve society -- no more than my "at will employment" does. The work they do is glorified baby sitting.
Why does the woman who teaches sixth grade at a public school get tenure, while the guy teaching metal fab at a community college not get tenure?

Ken B said...

Humblebrag #107: "It's a thankless life of skill, devotion and service that makes everyone else's life so, so much better, but costs you so, so much."

Jersey Fled said...

I can't tell you the number of teachers who were in my MBA classes because they were desperate to get out of teaching.

I remember one older teacher who told me he was tired of unruly and disrespectful students and the complete lack of support from administrators when he attempted to discipline them.

Another was a high school math teacher who inherited kids with a 4th grade mastery of math who was expected to have them performing at grade level by the end of the year. She also told me that if the student signed up for tutoring she was not allowed to fail them. So students would sign up, show up for a few session, and they were good for the rest of the year.

Tank said...

Lewis Wetzel said...

For the life of me I cannot figure out why public school teachers in some places get tenure....


Good unions, PR and political contributions.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Teachers and Democrats with bylines at JS whining about Act 10? It must be a day of the week ending in "y".

hombre said...

What will CultMarx do without them? (I knew if I hung around, I would get to use that phrase. 😊

John said...

I taught in a well rated B-School for more than 28 years. I got an MS in Business Education in 2001-2003 from the same University's Ed School which was highly ranked.

The academic requirements for Biz school classes were pretty rigorous. I was required to have at least 1 exam and they liked to have 2. I was required to give lots of turn-in assignments.

The ed school program made junior high school see rigorous in retrospect. Not a single exam, quiz, test or anything like in the entire program. I once asked the dean why not and the answer was that testing was discouraged both in training and then out in the classroom. When I asked why I got a bunch of blather.


Ed school is a joke.

Betsy DeVos wants to defund ed schools and programs. It's a start. The real solution is to bulldoze them and bury them in radioactive waste. Defund them and a future prez will refund them.

John Henry

Richard Dillman said...

Teachers, if they teach a subject matter, have lost most of their autonomy because of common core and the obsession with testing . Most of the creative independence has been eliminated. For English teachers, literature has been eviserated by common core and turned into the study of nonfiction.

Richard Dillman said...

Teachers, if they teach a subject matter, have lost most of their autonomy because of common core and the obsession with testing . Most of the creative independence has been eliminated. For English teachers, literature has been eviserated by common core and turned into the study of nonfiction.

Richard Dillman said...

Teachers, if they teach a subject matter, have lost most of their autonomy because of common core and the obsession with testing . Most of the creative independence has been eliminated. For English teachers, literature has been eviserated by common core and turned into the study of nonfiction.

RightIsRight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madAsHell said...

It appears that Mr. Dillman has found the back-button bug.

TosaGuy said...

Teaching can be a burn-out profession. As a result, it is not bad thing when people leave it. However, those that should leave it often are too unambitious to go out and do something else. The result are burn-out hacks who crab about everything.

When I did my student teaching, my host teacher told me to stay out of the teacher's lounge, nothing positive is ever said in there.

Richard Dillman said...

I started my 47 year teaching career as a high school English teacher before starting grad school. Given the state of the profession now,
I would not choose high school teaching again in the current environment. When I first taught English in 1966, had an credible amount of freedom that had to be used professionally, of course.

Hagar said...

The teachers I know love kids and like to teach, but hate the their local school system with a passion.

John said...

Michael K,

I think the reason that so many top quintile students went to ed schools were:

1) Only the top quintile students went on to any post HS education prior to about 1970. With some exceptions, of course

2) There were hundreds of state teachers colleges across the US all run by states. They were accessible and cheap.

3) State teacher's colleges were easy to get into. Just about anyone who could fog a mirror was admitted.

4) State teachers colleges were not very rigorous thus easy to graduate from.

5) For women in particular teaching was one of the few higher level fields they could succeed in.

They have never been particularly good schools academically and their graduates have never been particularly well educated. I do not say that to demean them and there are certainly many exceptions. But they are exceptions. They are the students who, after taking a course load of academic mush, went out and learned stuff on their own.

Teachers colleges and Ed Schools have always focused on teaching the latest academic fads, TYNT, rather than teaching history to prospective history teachers, math to prospective math teachers and so on.

John Henry

TosaGuy said...

My three semesters of my teaching degree were pretty much useless. It was filled with folks who were there because it was their fallback major. I was there because I come from a family of teachers and thought it useful to add the credential. The professors where the types who fled from high school teacher because they didn't want to deal. Assignments were jokes and attendance appeared to be the primary driver of one's grade.

The student teaching part was fun but only because I had experience as a military instructor and had my "teaching as performance art" part down. Those poor overeager types who embraced all the "education theory" and tried to implement would be crying after class because that crap didn't work.

Real American said...

"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach."

So, not you're not really giving up much potential by going into teaching.

TosaGuy said...

4) State teachers colleges were not very rigorous thus easy to graduate from.

True. But the focus of those colleges was to put prospective teachers in front of students so they could hone their craft. Today's Schools of Education focus on theory and less on actually doing the job.

Hagar said...

In Norway, back when at least, high school teachers were required to have a bachelors degree in their major field of teaching with a minor in education. A master's in their major would give them the title of lektor and higher pay.

Curious George said...

"Real American said...
"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.""

Those who can't teach, teach gym.

Michael K said...

"Teachers colleges and Ed Schools have always focused on teaching the latest academic fads,"

I think that is a more recent phenomenon. My first wife was an Ed major. She taught until our son was born. After our divorce 13 years later, she got a real estate license like so many ex-wives do, but then transitioned into banking and did quite well. She was a VP when she got laid off in a merger. That was just about the time Pete Wilson was increasing the number of teachers in California to reduce class size.

She went back to teaching until she got another bank job. She taught as a long term sub for about 6 months. She was appalled at the changes. Nobody cared about the kids. She had not taught in 30 years but her principal told her she was his best teacher. Lots of stories.

She got another job with the FDIC and left. She said she used to see him in the supermarket where she lived and he would come over and try to talk her into coming back.

She said it was just awful. The teachers were dumb and would make fun of the kids in the break room. Nobody cared.

She was teaching third grade and said she told the second grade teacher that she was doing a great job getting her kids ready for reading. The woman burst into tears. No one had ever complimented her on her teaching,

Fortunately my grandkids are in charter schools. I wish I could afford to send them to private schools but the tuition has gone out of sight.

Tarrou said...

"Teachers" is such a nice term for mercenary child abusers.

Crazy Jane said...

I like teachers and am related to several distinguished ones. NEA and AFT reps encourage teachers to see themselves as underpaid and overworked, which leads to lack of cooperation -- "If you want me to stay for 15 minutes after school every Monday, you're going to have to pay me more."

In addition, the unions protect the least effective teachers from dismissal, which burdens the good teachers and diminishes resoect for a noble profession.

Two other points:

Teaching is intense work because it requires being "on" all the time. Many good teachers burn out after five or ten years and leave. (They should be able to take their pension/IRA contributions with them BTW.) Their comfort at dealing with all kinds of people and managing groups are valuable in their later careers.

College ed programs are generally mediocre and, worse, are not reaching out to other people who would like to switch careers for education. I know a successful Wall Streeter who at mid-career had made enough money and became a very effective high school teacher. We also have many technically trained service members, mostly men, who should be urged to consider teaching after they muster out; boys LOVE being in their classrooms, and their self-discipline and comportment are very influential with middle-school and high-school students.

Hagar said...

My neighbor is 4'-10". She taught high school in West Las Vegas (NM) for one semester after getting her degree, then moved to Albuquerque and got a job teaching 2nd grade.

Mike said...

So teachers acting like asshats, publicly obtaining fake medical excuses to cover their illegal walkout, supporting the flea-bagger representatives, allowing their union thugs to intimidate people and cause damage, and being all-in "with Her" did nothing to tarnish their reputation. The fact Scott Walker allows them to take home more pay and not donate to the union if they choose, that's what made the difference?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Who wants to join the ranks of lying weasels like that? All those idealistic young skulls full of mush who want to "make a difference" and "change the world" have many other career choices than enlisting in an army of beleagured hags who claim to be underpaid.

Mike said...

Eric's correct. Like a worthless degree in afrikkkan studies!

Michael K said...

"are not reaching out to other people who would like to switch careers for education."

At one time, I had 10 acres on Vashon Island, near Seattle. I was thinking of retiring and thought maybe I could teach biology at the high school on the island. I like teaching.

Anyway, I looked into it and found that was not realistic I would have to get an Ed degree to be allowed to teach in WA.

MPH said...

They don't want the competition. I see I'm not the only person here to note that.

Mike said...

Love this:
The good news for some teachers is that under the free-market system ushered in by Act 10, many new and veteran teachers are negotiating their own salary increases with districts. That has led to a surge in district-hopping, instead of teachers setting up shop in one place for most of their career. Bonuses of $1,000 to $15,000 are common for teachers with superior skills or in-demand specialties, especially if they are younger and have a smaller salary.

Mike said...

Hmmmmm:

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs started to drop in 2010, one year before Act 10. t the time, the economy was starting to rebound, which made higher-paying private-sector jobs more available. Enrollment in education programs tends to fluctuate in sync with economic cycles... Wisconsin actually has seen less drop-off in enrollments than its Midwest counterparts, and the nation..

So Act 10 has no measurable effect when comparing WI to its neighbors. All that sturm & drang for what?

David said...

The biggest complaint I hear from teachers in South Carolina is the breakdown in respect and discipline, and their lack of tools to deal with these issues. There are more disruptive kids and more disruptive parents, who side aggressively with the children when issues arise. The teachers have virtually no power to impose discipline. Dealing with issues involves intervention by assistant principals and counsellors, and extensive documentation and procedural requirements. Administrators are risk adverse, fearing career consequences and even litigation. It isn't all the kids, of course, but enough to make life more difficult for many others, and to undermine attempts to create a learning environment.

This disrespect of teachers is quite pervasive. Just look at the tone of many of the comments in this post.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Curious George said...Those who can't teach, teach gym.

IMDB: Those Who Can't

I don't get TruTV but I watched a couple of episodes online. Not bad, decently funny. I'll watch anything with Maria Thayer, though, so maybe I'm not purely objective. Oh, Coppertop.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Related: Hollywood Handbook Podcast - Maria Thayer

JAORE said...

My DIL teaches second grade. She's good at it. The school is graded on student test scores. Her classes have usually lead all the second grade groups. As a result the administration has increased, every year, the number of mainstreamed special-ed and disciplinary problem kids. They also have told her not to send even the worst offenders to the front office for discipline.

Parents of her worst kids, when they bother to even come to teacher-parent meetings, come to tell her she must teach their precious child discipline without hurting their feelings.

She still has 15 years to qualify for full pension. She's not sure she can do it.

Mike said...

I am disrespectful of many teachers. I saw a lot crap firsthand as a teacher for over ten years. Students with bad attitudes can be reached with the right teacher and active learning techniques. They can change.

A teacher with a bad attitude poisons a lot of the atmosphere at schools/departments where they lurk and there is almost nothing can rid a school of them. And they hardly ever change...for the better.

MadisonMan said...

I would have to get an Ed degree to be allowed to teach in WA.

A requirement put in by Unions so that University Instructors -- perhaps union members -- would have a dues-paying job.

Dr Weevil said...

On David's "more disruptive kids and more disruptive parents" (1:39pm), the most depressing thing I've ever heard from a school administrator, when I was doing the 'induction' (training) for a long-term substitute position in Wake County, NC (= Raleigh and suburbs):
"Never let a parent get between you and the door."
Apparently they'd had some serious incidents. I now teach in a private school for the gifted, so private it's actually owned by the guy who founded it, and am very glad to be there, despite the low pay.

Michael K said...

"This disrespect of teachers is quite pervasive. Just look at the tone of many of the comments in this post."

The unions pretty much brought this to public schools. Vouchers would solve quite a bit of this because parents who wanted their kids to succeed would have a way to get them out of the bad schools. Teachers, if there was some sort of merit system, could get merit pay and have a better incentive system.

The private school parents of the helicopter variety would be less critical for private schools which would have a bigger customer base.

One year, the private school my daughter attended (She had just finished 8th grade and was moving on) hired a headmaster who was into "outcomes based education," which is another term for "everybody gets a trophy." The parents objected to the new focus and the board told them if they didn't like it, they could take the kid elsewhere.

The next year, the school was advertising in the local throwaway newspaper. The parents took them at their word.

prairie wind said...

David said:
There are more disruptive kids and more disruptive parents, who side aggressively with the children when issues arise. The teachers have virtually no power to impose discipline.

Now that middle and high schools (and, I'm sure, some grade schools) have cops on campus, schools call in the cops instead of disciplining kids. Parents, instead of working with schools on discipline, are now trying to protect their kids from felony charges. The escalation to arrest causes parents to side aggressively with the children.

Michael K said...

"Parents, instead of working with schools on discipline, are now trying to protect their kids from felony charges."

I see some of these with kids joining the military.

First, I'm surprised to see all the suspensions for minor stuff.

Second, the police involvement is usually dismissed or wiped when the kid turns 18 if he stayed out of trouble,

I still wonder why we did away with reform schools. Probably "racism" just like prison. The trouble is that there are lots of black parents who do want their kids to get an education.

Jay Elink said...

Sydney said...
The state has sucked all the joy out of teaching, just as it is now doing to medicine.

***********************************

When I saw an article saying women now outnumber men entering law schools, I thought it another sign that being a lawyer is no longer a prestigious occupation.

jimbino said...

As noble a profession as teaching is, you'd have to throw out your good sense and self-respect to be a teacher in the nation's public school systems. You may well have taught college ed classes for 15 years at Madison, but if you move to Illinois to accompany a transferred spouse, you will have to get re-certified, meaning you'll have to take and pass those same courses you've been teaching for 15 years.

Anyone who puts up with, much less supports, such a system deserves no respect and is unqualified to teach any kid I care about. Better a teacher who teaches uncertified while walking around the public square or who refers to the local politicians as a "generation of vipers" or worse every chance he gets.

Doug said...

One sure way to raise teacher pay is to convince a lot of college kids not too go into teaching

Mike said...

I still wonder why we did away with reform schools.

Just renamed Michael K. I taught at two Continuation High Schools (Bloomington, CA and Fontana, CA) that existed to give students who had been kicked out of "regular" HS campuses to get their diploma through independent study. I'm not sure how they are funded, because the attendance was spotty for many and regular district finances run on ADA: average daily attendance, for which they are paid based on how many kids show up or are "excused." Unexcused absences drop their reimbursement from the State and Feds.

Rick said...

prairie wind said...
The escalation to arrest causes parents to side aggressively with the children.


Parents siding aggressively with the kids thereby blocking effective discipline predates cops in schools by roughly two decades.

Fernandinande said...

Lewis Wetzel said...
The work they do is glorified baby sitting.


True.

The always interesting "Eeducation Realist" writes -
Teacher Quality Report: Lacking a Certain Quality
"And RAND found less than that:
The results show large differences in teacher quality across the school district, but measured teacher characteristics explain little of the difference. Teacher licensure test scores are unrelated to teacher success in the classroom. Similarly, student achievement is unaffected by whether classroom teachers have advanced degrees.** Student achievement increases with teacher experience, but the linkage is weak and largely reflects poor outcomes for teachers during their first year or two in the classroom."

**Because elementary teachers are little more than baby-sitters.

ER also writes:
"So, here’s what I think, but can’t prove: our teachers are pulled roughly from the same pool as always, which is the 35-50% for elementary and special ed teachers, and 50-75% for secondary content teachers. But the bottom quintile or so is gone because of higher licensure standards, so the average has increased. This has resulted in far fewer black and Hispanic teachers, particularly black teachers. Existing black teachers are also being forced out of the profession by new requirements (hence the Mumford impersonation fraud ring). "

Michael K said...

I still wonder why we did away with reform schools.

Just renamed Michael K. I taught at two Continuation High Schools (Bloomington, CA and Fontana, CA) that existed to give students who had been kicked out of "regular" HS campuses to get their diploma through independent study.


I'll bet they don't have barbed wire and guard towers. THAT'S reform school.

Some of these gangbangers I read about would need that kind.

Michael K said...

" This has resulted in far fewer black and Hispanic teachers, particularly black teachers."

When they were doing the teacher hiring in California in about 1990, the new teachers had to pass the CBEST exam. My ex told me it was 8th grade stuff but there lots of black teacher candidates who accused it of racism because they failed.

John said...

Michael,

I suspect that you would be a good teacher of biology and related subjects. You have direct knowledge and experience and seem to be able to explain yourself well.

That you have direct knowledge of what you are teaching would help keep the students interested in you.

I suspect you could do a good job teaching a writing class too. (Currently reading Warstories)

That seems to be more of a disqualification in K-12 education.

There are a lot of people like you who would like to teach. Perhaps not full time and perhaps not as a career. Why can't K-12 schools hire adjuncts like colleges and universities do? I never wanted to teach as a real job. I always loved teaching as an adjunct 3-4 terms a year. I learned a helluva lot more teaching Operations Management and various HR courses (my majors) than I ever did as a student.

This forcing people to go to ed school to be able to teach is foolish. I agree that perhaps you need a semester course just to learn the hoops you have to jump through but not more than that.

We have huge educational resources here in the US that can't be used because of stupid credentialing rules.

John Henry

CrankyProfessor said...

One of my roles in my department in Professor-Bucket-of-Cold-Water-on-your-Dreams. Other people talk to them about the glories of humanities Ph.D. graduate school. I explain the exploitation system of grad school teaching and the realities of the job market. Every now and then someone gets past me.

David53 said...

Some great comments here from former teachers, I taught 4th grade in Texas for four years after my military career. I think everyone should teach public school for a couple of years, it will change your perspective on a lot of things, especially if you teach at a school located in a lower socioeconomic neighborhood.

Here are some entries from my 1990s 4th grade teacher journal:

S - Wore a shirt to school that said ORGASM DONOR. I didn't catch that one until almost lunch, thankfully none of the kids knew what it meant.

W - During a warm up writing assignment W wrote, "Someone shot Mr. Smith in his bedroom. The neighbor had the bag. The neighbor heard the shot and there was blood everywhere." I cleaned up W's spelling and punctuation.

L - Told me her grandmother was drunk last night and beat her and her sister with a belt. L got to go see the counselor for that one. I don't know if it was true or not, but probably yes.

R - Came in late Monday morning accompanied by his aunt who is in 5th grade. His aunt told me R didn't have his backpack because his Mom went to Mexico for the weekend and didn't come back. The backpack was in Mom's car. R is now living with his aunt's family. I bought him a new backpack.

B - While serving time in the OCS(on campus suspension) classroom for previous infractions B wrote on the wall behind him, "J I love you, suck me, I am your man." He added some pornographic stick figure illustrations to make sure his message was understood. He got one day of detention and a letter was sent to his Mom.

Remember, these are 9 and 10 year old kids I'm talking about. Stuff like this happened every week. In some ways teaching was more stressful than being in the military. As Crazy Jane pointed out, "Teaching is intense work because it requires being "on" all the time." There are no down days when school is in session.

Rhythm and Balls said...

There's no amount of ignorance in society that will convince our Republican masters to stop fomenting disrespect for teachers. So their message of looking out for themselves is entirely appropriate. That's what the Republicans are doing - education be damned!

Rhythm and Balls said...

It's nice to see a guy who was raised by a nursemaid going on about what's wrong with kids these days.

Especially the black kids.

Giving back to Mammy's people. It's the least that can be done.

Drago said...

R&B, what do you say to those on the left who are so hell-bent on ridding Western civ from the academic requirements of so many of our most elite institutions of higher learning?

What do say to those on the left who have created academic spaces where only leftist views are heard? I

No one on these boards has been more vociferous in calling out other posters for their lack of historical understanding of those principles and ideas which culminated in this greatest accumulation of knowledge than you.

And yet it is clear that it is the left that views Western civ as something to be lamented and done away with.

Drago said...

My point being that large percentages of teachers today are fully and enthusiastically on board with that program.

How do you square that ideological/political circle.

Rhythm and Balls said...

R&B, what do you say to those on the left who are so hell-bent on ridding Western civ from the academic requirements of so many of our most elite institutions of higher learning?

I say to hell with them. Western antiquity should be the basis of liberal education - so it should be a foundational emphasis in primary if not secondary education as well. At least in history classes but hopefully beyond.

What do say to those on the left who have created academic spaces where only leftist views are heard?

I am not in favor of any political persecution in academia, nor am I even in favor of "safe spaces", as your term of reference might allude to.

No one on these boards has been more vociferous in calling out other posters for their lack of historical understanding of those principles and ideas which culminated in this greatest accumulation of knowledge than you.

Thank you.

And yet it is clear that it is the left that views Western civ as something to be lamented and done away with.

I don't think they do it deliberately. They do it ignorantly and accidentally, if they really do it at all - and as a consequence of a necessary reckoning with the obsolescence of slavery and imperialism.

I think classical studies is the anecdote to that. It's the best starting point for historical study, it includes a lot of drama of all sorts - political, romantic, etc., - and it shows our ancient Greek and Roman forebears as thoroughly flawed - at least as flawed as we are. And in a beautiful way. Is there any more powerful narrative on the human fragility of civilization and complex political agreement than the tragedy of Julius Caesar? I think not. Watching at least the first season of just the BBC/HBO production Rome ought to cure a young partisan of that. But that was fictionalized anyway and the tutorials should go much further and in depth.

At some point, it should be as standardized a part of the curriculum as math, English, science and Shakespeare. And they should mandate some civics courses, too, FFS. In 9th grade we got "practical law." Great stuff. What your rights are, balance of powers and basic government structure, and the major SCOTUS cases that decided them. It's lamentable to think I was probably part of a lucky minority to even get something so basic as that.

Drago said...

R&B: "I say to hell with them. Western antiquity should be the basis of liberal education - so it should be a foundational emphasis in primary if not secondary education as well. At least in history classes but hopefully beyond."

If we agreed about nothing else, agreement on that point alone would be sufficient.

You know, you sound quite a bit like a male version of Camille Paglia!

Does that thought repel you, thrill you or basically leave you feeling rather "meh"?

Rhythm and Balls said...

Nah - I'd be honored to be compared to Camille Paglia. She's more than just all right in my book.

Gahrie said...

When they were doing the teacher hiring in California in about 1990, the new teachers had to pass the CBEST exam. My ex told me it was 8th grade stuff but there lots of black teacher candidates who accused it of racism because they failed.

This is still true today.

PianoLessons said...

Teaching is an awesome gig folks. Summers off. Lots of spring break and extended weekend holiday breaks. You can never really get fired in K-12 (even without tenure – you know - unions). Great benefits. Generally a respected profession among community members. Home by 4 PM on most days (beat the traffic). Kind of awesome.

It’s actually my family business. Grew up in house of nine girls and two boys – at this time – five girls are teachers (4 in elementary, 1 a college professor) and two are K-8 principals (one Catholic school, one public school). Both of the boys have passed – one died at age 6 and one died at age 46.

I am the college prof. And though I graduated from UW-Madison as an English Teacher certified for grades 7-12 in 1986….I went another way for a few reasons.

When I was doing my student teaching at UW-Madison in 1985, we were told we could not have an outside job. My family needed me to have a job at that time and so I didn’t disclose it. My elderly supervising professor found out that I had a part-time job at that time (working for a Madison newspaper typing in obituaries and car ads) and he gave me a D along with a harsh warning that I was not committed enough to teaching to be accepted into the “inner sanctum” of potential teachers. My supervising teachers at my high school student teacher job gave me glowing recommendations so I fought through successfully to graduate with certification but that damn D in Student Teaching was brought up in the two or three interviews I had.

Then I answered a job ad for a job at the Wisconsin Legislature for a Legislative Assistant and got hired …..and had a great career for eight years that led me to an even greater second career. And I never taught a day.

On August 25 2001 I sold the business I had built in Madison for a good chunk of change and thought I would retire to painting and gardening – at least for a while.

The September 11 happened.

I was home that morning – unemployed for the first time in my life since leaving home at 18 – and had nothing to do but watch TV reports of that horrible event for a week (I did take time out to run to the now extinct Borders for newspapers from around the world because – you know – no broadband internet on 9/11/01 – no Google – no social media).

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PianoLessons said...

I was home that morning – unemployed for the first time in my life since leaving home at 18 – and had nothing to do but watch TV reports of that horrible event for a week (I did take time out to run to the now extinct Borders for newspapers from around the world because – you know – no broadband internet on 9/11/01 – no Google – no social media).

By the end of the 9/11/ week, I wanted to join the military but….you know – I was in my forties. Nothing to offer. My next thought was that I need to contribute to this mess another way.

The world is so messed up in September 11, 2001 – we need to teach young people to discern, become critical thinkers, learn how to advance persuasive arguments through debate and well thought out arguments. This is what the September 11 world called for.
We need better thinking – and the best way to formulate better thinking is for folks to stop talking and instead – reading and writing (where reflection and editing is necessary).

I became a September 11 teacher. I signed up for grad school, completed it in 2004, got hired as a college prof and have been teaching writing to college freshmen (and sometimes to college juniors and seniors) since. It is my third and BEST career.

I have this end of semester assignment for my classes called “Then and Now” where students must examine their growth as academic writers and critical thinkers from the beginning of the semester to the last week. I am rewarded immensely every semester by college students who tell me they have never really read a book until my class….they have never planned out their essays in steps before my class – they have never known how to construct a Toulmin argument based on qualifiers and reasons and evidence.

It is such an awesome and amazing job – teaching young college students that they can form logical, persuasive arguments to address contemporary issues.

My biggest frustration however is that so many of them come to college with such a knowledge deficit. They literally know so little of history, philosophy, current events, politics – it is outrageous.

And I blame the K-12 Teacher unions for sending such uneducated students to us college profs.

That’s my rant on teaching – my favorite career and a very rewarding one.

One more comment – every damn hippie I knew back in the day in the early 70s became a teacher. They got rid of phonics in favor of the very failed whole language approach to reading (which completely FAILED as per recent years of reading scores K-12). They got rid of a lot of other things (like Civics Classes in high school for more Sex Ed and other mandates). They taught blindly the Howard Zin Revisionist Social Studies texts without question. They ended up being the Company Man as they protested hysterically in WI against any change to their Cadillac health insurance and retirement deals that were bankrupting WI taxpayers.

Public High Schools in WI are in trouble – ask any college professor teaching freshman. Please,


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Gahrie said...

. I taught at two Continuation High Schools (Bloomington, CA and Fontana, CA)

I've subbed at both the continuation schools in Colton USD and the two in Fontana USD. One of my close friends currently runs the Bloomington continuation school.

(I currently teach at one of Fontana USD's comprehensive high schools)

Drago said...

Rhythm and Balls: "Nah - I'd be honored to be compared to Camille Paglia. She's more than just all right in my book."

Then we are in even greater agreement.

Lewis Wetzel said...

R&B wrote: ". . . and as a consequence of a necessary reckoning with the obsolescence of slavery and imperialism."
And yet the classical, Western world was built on a foundation of warfare, slavery and imperialism. Also superstition and sexism. We forgive the faults of the Romans and the Greeks, but not the Victorians. Hell, we don't forgive the faults of the generation that fought and won World War Two.
I suppose that is because it is hard not to notice that we live in the world the Victorians and the WW2 generation created. They aren't exotic to us.

AllenS said...

Times have changed. I graduated high school in 1964, and more than half of the teachers were male. Not only that, most were World War II veterans.

urbane legend said...

Curious George said...
"Real American said...
"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.""

Those who can't teach, teach gym.

Eyi resent that. My nam iss Jim. Eye had sum reall gud techrs.

John Nowak said...

To be honest, my impression is that teaching in puiblic schools has always been sort of a crap job. Our Miss Brooks went from 1948 to 1957, and although the emphasis is on Wacky Schemes, there's an occasional moment that sounds too inane to be made up.

redbadger said...

as a first year teacher, this article is rather misleading for a few reasons.

one, teacher shortages depend on subject area. with stem classes in demand and most people with stem backgrounds going into more lucrative professions than teaching, it's certainly an area in need. in social studies, by contrast, there is a huge surplus. it's serious competition to land a job in this field. from my ed school cohort of 17, only 5 landed teaching gigs (small sample size, i realize but take it for what it's worth).

two, 'increased requirements' for ed school made laugh myself out of my chair. uw-madison is moving in a good direction: shifting edu from an undergrad major to a grad program (thus, really increasing the admission standards). however, many other uw schools are not and edu remains, largely, a diploma mill. outside of stem, this surplus dampens the 'value' of teachers--just one contributing factor to lower pay. wisconsin is implementing the edtpa teacher certification requirement--basically submitting lessons and videos with reflections. yet, i wouldn't say it is extremely difficult (mostly busy work--did it in 3 nights and got one of the state's highest scores for social studies).

three, teachers largely scare younger teachers not out of some benevolent act. rather, they do it because they see young teachers as a 'threat' (even though, through they are 'safe'). we young guns come in with the latest ideas from edu schools and have energy. so what i do in my classroom is inevitably juxtaposed to what they do in theirs by administration. i've had a few teachers approach me and, instead of a sense of intellectual curiosity, say basically "knock it off." welp, my data show my students are preforming better on their assessments (the same used in every classroom for that subject area) than their students. is it because of my 'new' methods? i'm not sure. what i do know is that i've had students transfer into my sections and have seen their grades and, from their parents telling me, enthusiasm for the subject increase. so while the older teachers are 'safe', they don't like it that administration is breathing down their necks saying they should update their methods and techniques. if you ask me, that's never a bad thing. i hope i never get stale and complacent in my job. at the end of the day, that only hurts the students.

i could go on but i'll just leave it at that.

Rusty said...

Michael K said...
"I still wonder why we did away with reform schools.

Just renamed Michael K. I taught at two Continuation High Schools (Bloomington, CA and Fontana, CA) that existed to give students who had been kicked out of "regular" HS campuses to get their diploma through independent study.

I'll bet they don't have barbed wire and guard towers. THAT'S reform school.

Some of these gangbangers I read about would need that kind."

Remember "Charlie Town"? Still surrounded by razor wire. I have a nephew who would have never graduated from high school if it weren't for his stretch there.

Rhythm and Balls said...

And yet the classical, Western world was built on a foundation of warfare, slavery and imperialism. Also superstition and sexism.

So are we trying to build it all over again, or just sustain it? Because last I checked, those are two different processes.