Re: your question:
"Any place in your conspiracy for bad teaching being a product of poorly
trained, lazy, cynical, stupid, or otherwise incompetent teachers?"
Although your use of the word "conspiracy" to describe observations I and
others, including a former candidate for president in a recent book, are
making in re: to sociological trends and responses of institutions of
learning to them, is inaccurate, the question is valid in my mind. You
might define "stupid" according to how you wish the group to respond.
That being said, the best training I have received in teaching was from
students. I have been teaching informally since second grade, a product of
the time honored teaching practice of "zenith" reaching out to "nadir"-need
to get the job done. I tutored in college at the college's learning
assistance center, (in math and chemistry); I tutor still and learn about
teaching every day. In any case, I was lucky to have some very good
teachers/professors, particularly in the field of psychology, language arts,
mathematics, and social studies (history and political science in
particular) that not only provided models of approaching the problems in
teaching/learning in their specific fields, but more importantly, to my
understanding about the role of learning in general, the anthropological and
sociological perspectives to learning re: the individual and culture, and
contradictions in student needs in education and the needs of the societies
in which they live. Still, teaching as a "newbie" was a terrible challenge.
To make a long story short, I had a box of chalk and a dictate from my
principal to guide me, "...just keep them quiet and in their chairs."
Eventually, I was asked to serve as a master teacher, a teacher of a
teacher-to-be; I failed at this task as I was never able to impart the idea
of vocation into my pupil. I have never served since in this role, nor will
I ever so do again, the ordeal was so painful.
Re: "lazy" teachers, I have a personal pet-peeve: In Texas, football is
everything, and I do mean everything. I'm tired of cleaning up after
math-"teaching" football coaches that "laze" through math instruction
responsibilities. I would think other teachers discerned in vocation are in
agreement. "Lazy" is a relative adjective; I think if all teachers worked
only the hours for which they were scheduled to work, the whole educational
system would come to a screeching halt. Teachers discerned to their
vocation will make whatever sacrifices that are necessary in order to serve
the needs of their students. My brother, a HS math teacher, almost died
this summer from pneumonia; he insisted that papers that needed to be graded
be delivered to his hospital room. Other teachers are less dedicated, but I
don't see that as being any different than any other profession these days.
The "spirit" of the times is what it is, if I may be redundant.
Re: cynical teachers, can you blame them? Look at the volume of discussion
in this group. Observe your own comments. I am greatly encouraged that you
have responded as many teachers I know see no hope. The math teacher who
inspired me to teach counsels against entering the profession. I myself
consider every day the idea of leaving public education in favor of serving
in a Catholic school (I am a Catholic); the temptation is great...very
Re: "stupid" teachers, "stupid" to me means knowing the truth of a situation
and denying that truth. Ignorance is quite a different story.
Re: "incompetent teachers", I had to let my drug-addicted client go home
today early; I feel incompetent. Please do help me to divert my "water"
into useful and productive channels. I truly do not know what else to do.
Next topic in "Why teachers cannot teach": "Time and the lack thereof..."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Paul Goldenberg" <email@example.com>
To: "D. Mark Fette" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "Discussion list for TEACHING
MATH,GRADES 9-12" <email@example.com>
Cc: "Dean M. Fette" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2006 10:03 AM
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkmathhs] desires/gratification of them
> So Mark, if I may summarize: bad kids are the product of bad culture + bad
> parents. Bad classrooms are the product of budget and equipment shortages.
> Any place in your conspiracy for bad teaching being a product of poorly
> trained, lazy, cynical, stupid, or otherwise incompetent teachers?
> I don't discount the factors you mention. But I don't get to pick my
> students, their parents, or the culture in which I work (unless I want to
> abandon my 11 yo son and leave the country). I do get to have a huge say
> in how future elementary teachers from UM-Flint think aboiut doing and
> teaching math and constructing learning communities in their classrooms in
> which I'd feel good about my son being a member. Want to rail against the
> sea or talk about how to divert the water into useful, productive
> channels? If it's the former, count me out.
> Michael Paul Goldenberg
> 6655 Jackson Rd #136
> Ann Arbor, MI 48103
> 734 644-0975 (c)
> 734 786-8425 (h)
> "Oh, bother," said Pooh, as he chambered another round.
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Received on Mon Nov 6 09:30:31 2006