Tag Archive | "Teachers"

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State Selects ‘Dream Team’ for Common Core Program

HARTFORD — In an effort to help implement the state’s Common Core State Standards, the State Department of Education on Tuesday announced that 97 teachers from 86 schools across Connecticut will participate in its TeachFest Connecticut, an intensive professional learning session on the new educational standards for schools.

In this program, teachers are expected to develop high-quality resources to be shared with fellow teachers.  This so-called  ‘Connecticut Dream Team’ will also continue working with their peers in the weeks following TeachFest and later serve as teacher leaders at a larger event this summer, state officials said..

Participants teach a wide spectrum of different grade levels, with 60 specializing in English language arts and 37 in mathematics.

 TeachFest Connecticut represents one of the professional development opportunities supported by the State Department of Education regarding the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

The Connecticut Dream Team will first convene in Hartford from April 25-27 for TeachFest Connecticut, a celebration of teaching and an intensive, structured working session facilitated by LearnZillion. A provider of digital curriculum and professional development for the Common Core, LearnZillion developed this innovative model.

A complete list of teachers named to the Connecticut Dream Team may be found here.



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Our Elementary View of Education

By Matt AmaralNew America Media

The other day on Yahoo I saw this article: 5 Most Regretted Jobs. I knew what was coming next. Four of the five jobs don’t require a college degree: mechanic, bank teller, delivery driver, and cashier. Most people who have these jobs aren’t in love with them.

Rounding the list out is not just teacher, but very specifically Secondary School Teacher.

How do we expect education to change in this country when teachers are on this list? The very people who are trying to show our youth the value of an education are the people who got the least value – at least as far as pay goes – from their education.

We have Bachelor’s Degrees and a Teaching Credential – five years worth of post-secondary education. Many of us have Master’s Degrees. Yet we are paid almost the same as the jobs that require only a GED. It is obvious the money is a big reason teachers regret going into the profession. But why are secondary school teachers in particular on this list?

It is because we have an elementary view of education in this country.

Let me give an example. A couple of years ago several teachers at the school where I work were attacked by students. One teacher was punched multiple times, and the other was shoved — hard and intentionally.

Neither student was expelled and both came right back to campus, where they were looked on as heroes to some students, while others were quite simply scared of them. It sent a very clear message to the rest of the school: you won’t get expelled EVEN IF YOU PUNCH A TEACHER. At what point does someone here learn a lesson?

Or take all the talk concerning teacher evaluations. It seems to revolve around the assumption that students from kindergarten up are all trying their hardest, running into our classrooms wide-eyed with Dora the Explorer lunchboxes. For the record, I’m for teacher evaluations, just like I’m for evaluations in every profession. But what evaluation really means is regulation, and everyone seems to be anti-regulation these days except when it comes to teachers.

And what about class size? We put caps on elementary school classes because we know that if a student is behind by grade 3, they will be behind for their entire education. In what world, then, does it make sense to pack 38 teenagers into a single classroom?

This is why secondary school teachers come to regret their career choice.The fact is that too many of the solutions offered to teachers at the secondary level are the same approaches used for fifth graders.

So what does a Secondary View of Education look like? First, we raise teacher pay. As it is now, high school kids don’t respect us just because we are teachers, like second graders do; in fact, they do NOT like us because we are teachers, and because we are not rich and famous. This is the secret behind the success of countries like Finland — teachers are the most respected and well-compensated workers in these places. Education will not work in this country as long as we are looked upon as charity cases.

Second, we lower class sizes drastically, especially in the freshman and sophomore years of high school. Too many students don’t even make it to junior year. In those first two years of high school, a student’s education is shaped and then defined.

Third, we need to offer medical benefits and more social services, and make it easier for students to access them at the school site. They call these wraparound services. The problems many teachers in poorer districts face are that we are teaching the children of those at the bottom of thegreatest income inequality since the 1920s. Education will not improve until this country improves conditions for all Americans.

Lastly, we need to recognize who the non-students are, and figure out how to help them. Non-students are teens that are just not ready to be in a classroom environment. They can’t sit still. They can’t read and have no intention of doing so. We do need to help these kids. But we can’t do it like Florida does and arrest them all, or by ignoring them and letting them drag down the students who do want to learn.

We need to find a place to put non-students, many of who see little to no opportunity in either education or the working world. There’s little incentive, then, to be anything but a non-student.

Strategies like the Career Pathways approach in Georgia and a number of other states offer some promise of reversing this. California looks to be taking steps toward this approach, too. But as it stands now, these students are the problem of the teacher, and we have too much to do as it is to be everyone’s savior.

We can’t be everyone’s savior. That is what teachers regret most, and why many of us quit.

Matt Amaral is a writer and high school English teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a featured blogger at EducationNews.org, a leading international website for education issues. You can also follow his work on the blogsite, Teach4Real.com

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