Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Education: It Takes Three & $25 Staples Gift Card Giveaway

Public Enemy    
When did teachers become public enemy number one? Seriously. Did I miss the memo? Teachers are trashed daily in the media, the blogosphere, and on talk radio. We’re being blamed for everything from “failing” schools and childhood obesity, to causing the Great Recession by nearly bankrupting the world with our “exorbitant” salaries and “fat cat” pensions. What’s missing from this whole debate? How about we start with the truth? For far too long, school administrators, teachers, and even teachers unions have shied away from telling the truth. Why? Is it because we fear bad press? Newsflash! Our press couldn’t get any worse. Or is it some misguided, ill-informed notion that professionalism means keeping your mouth shut and never talking about what is really troubling our schools? Our collective silence is hurting our profession and, ultimately, public education. I, for one, am sick of it! It’s time to speak up!

Can you handle the truth? The truth is that education takes three! That’s right! As a country, we have wasted far too much time, energy, money, and outrage blaming teachers when there are three parties involved in a kid getting an education: parents, students, and teachers. If any of these three drop the ball, the goal of getting an education suffers. Teachers dropping the ball has been covered ad nauseam. It’s high time some focus was given to students and their parents dropping the ball and what we as taxpayers can do about it.

  It Takes 3 Color
In this series of blog posts, Education: It Takes Three, I will be discussing parents, students, and, yes, teachers, and what needs to be done to improve our schools. I’ll be writing about the education reform movement, charter schools, and standardized testing. These are all things you’ve read or heard about in the media, but unlike politicians, journalists, and charter school executives, I know what I’m talking about since I actually teach in a public school. I hope you'll stayed tuned!

To kick off this series, I am giving away a $25 Staples gift card! The giveaway is open to anyone in the United States or Canada. See below for how to enter and good luck!
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The Missus is having a giveaway right now also. Click here to check out her blog, Teacher to the Core, and enter her giveaway!

37 comments:

  1. It takes 5, in my opinion. Student, teacher, parents, administration, and community. The community tax dollars are what funds the education, and if we don't approve those funds yet blame the teachers for not having the materials to teach? Shame on us. And the administration sets the goals, such as the various tests teachers have to administer to meet their benchmark quotas for passing students.

    I could go on and get into this much deeper, but I have had only a half cup of coffee.

    I do wish we valued teachers more in this country.

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    1. Hey Daniel!
      You are absolutely right! It does take 5! Great points! Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Daniel, you are so right! It kills me when I hear people complain about the lack of quality education...but when someone suggests that you use more taxes to pay teachers better, give students books and etc...everyone freaks out. I have a friend who teaches 4th grade in a lower-income school district. She frequently talks to me about not having enough books for all of her students and how much that hampers the classroom environment. When we refuse to spend money and time on our kids education, we are basically saying to those kids "You don't matter. We don't want to help you be successful." I truly believed that if we were willing to spend more money, time, and effort on the programs we have for children, middle schoolers and high-schoolers we would probably have to spend less money, time and effort on things like prison.

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  2. Justin, I taught middle school before having my kids and everything you said here is completely true. It does take more than just the teacher, because the students and parents have to be held accountable and help out in the learning process. I truly loved teaching, but don't miss all the politics behind it. I am looking forward tot his series and what more you have to add onto this subject.

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    1. Hi Janine!
      I didn't know you used to be a middle school teacher! That's so cool! It's also great that you get to be with your kiddos now. Yes, things have got to change. Too many parents (and students too) don't lift a finger and teachers are left to do all the heavy lifting. It's really no wonder so many teachers leave the profession after only a few years!

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  3. What a powerful post. I agree that it takes much more than just a teacher to help out kids succeed. I too, like Daniel mentioned, would add community in there as well. We can only do so much in the classroom before they are let out into the community, and our society needs to take some accountability in help ALL of our students succeed.

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    1. Hi there, Rae!

      Thank you! I agree with both you and Daniel! Community is so important. I think a big part of the problem is that the "community" isn't really aware of what is going on in schools and what teachers are up against. All people hear are stories about awful teachers or low performing schools. It's unfortunate. I'm doing my part to change that!

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  4. I agree totally. As a parent and as a teacher I am accountable for my classroom and my children.
    I will be staying tuned!
    Hilary
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

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    1. Hi Hilary!

      Thank you! I couldn't agree with you more! It has been such an interesting experience having my own kid and being the parent and not the teacher (maybe a future blog post)! We are definitely held accountable in our classrooms! Thanks for staying tuned!

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  5. I am incredibly excited to see this series unfold! This first post has more than gotten my attention already. I will be sharing this across my networks. :)

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to read and leave me a comment! THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this post! I appreciate it!

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  6. What a great post! I can't wait to read all about it!!!!!

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  7. Justin,

    Great post! I am looking forward to this series...I will have to remember to check back to see all of the posts.

    I have often preached that education takes involvement from teachers, parents and students. Sadly, many parents believe that we drop our children off at school and we have no responsibility during the time our children are gone or after. i always thought that parenting meant it was a 24/7 job but I am beginning to believe I am from a different generation (not everyone disagree with me but I know a lot of people do. It was very evident as a social worker)

    Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders

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    1. Hey Aaron! Thanks! As a teacher and a parent, I agree with you 100%!

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  8. Justin - You da bomb! Agree, agree, agree! Love the 5 points, comment, too!
    Growing Firsties

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    1. Hi Lisa! I love it when people agree with me! Thanks! :)

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  9. Thank you so much for writing this. I am a student teacher and I am amazed at how teaching has changed since I was a student. I can't wait to see what else you have to say!

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    1. Hi Carrie! Thank YOU so much for reading this! I am glad you are looking forward to hearing what else I have to say. That's probably something my mother and teachers probably never said to me when I was a kid! :)

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  10. My wife is a teacher and you couldn't have said this any better. (SOME) parents expect to drop off jr at school, pick him/her up in 12 years and have a genius on their hands. They put all the responsibility on the teacher, and don't expect anything of Jr accept for them to show up.

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    1. Hey Brian! Thanks for telling me what you "tink"! You are right! There are wonderful parents out there, just as there are wonderful teachers. Well said!

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  11. Can't wait to read the series! You are so right. It's not all on the teachers.

    Angelia
    Extra Special Teaching

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    1. Hi Angelia!
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Sadly, we as teachers are blamed for things we aren't responsible for and can't change. It's so frustrating. (:

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  12. I'm so with you. The government could put mandate after mandate on schools/teachers (like they're trying, but that's a story for another day, ha!), but they will NEVER get the results they want until parents step up to the plate and students start taking responsibility. We can talk, demonstrate, and teach all day long until we're blue in the face. The reality is that education is not valued in our country. I received a $100 gift card from one of my students from China this year because his parents esteem teachers like they esteem doctors and lawyers. By no means am I saying we should give teachers lots of gifts and giftcards, but what I am saying is that something has to be said for these other countries that take education seriously and value it as one of the most important aspects of a human's life. Think about it...the students who tend to do well are those with lots of support from home. That's something teachers, administrators, and legislators can't fix. Thanks for the great post! On a sidenote, a Staples giftcard would be helpful! Hope I win! :) Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! You speak the truth. No law, regulation, charter school, magnet school, standard, or fired teacher is going to fix what's troubling education in our country. I'll be writing a lot more about support from home soon! (:

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  13. Justin,

    I couldn't find the comment button fast enough to agree with you! Education is the most rewarding job on earth, minus the out of pocket expenses, red tape, and criticism . Love your blog

    Alison
    ataleof2firstgrades.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi there, Alison!
      Thank you so much for reading! You are so right! The actual teaching part is great, it's everything else that isn't so great!

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  14. Not only that, but give the teachers supplies to work with. They shouldn't have to buy so many things out of their own pockets.

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    1. Hi Harriet! I'm with you! In fact, I'm going to write about that very soon! :)

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  15. Love the site! Cool custom graphics.

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  16. I couldnt agree more!! Parents really need to pick up on there end and be more proactive.

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    1. Hi Jen! Thank you for commenting! I couldn't agree with you more!

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  17. I'm a Phd student in English and I teach freshman composition. I am not a parent-but as a student and teacher (and someone who hopes to be teaching English full-time when I graduate), I really agree with this post. I think blaming teachers is an easy way out...It allows us to forget that it takes a village to raise and educate a child (as Daniel said above-it takes 5). Instead of looking at the ways we (community, government officials, parents, students etc.) have failed, we simply scapegoat the teachers. Of course, teachers are an important part of a students success-but they are just ONE part!

    Most of the freshman students I teach are 17 and many of them are not willing to come to class or do required assignments. Yet, the university blames the teachers for failure rates. As a teacher, I can only do so much to help them be successful (and believe you me, I do A LOT!)...I cannot force students to come to class, nor can I follow them home and make them do their homework.

    The university is obsessed with telling teachers we are in the service industry. No, we are not...we are in the education industry. We are here to teach students, not to make them happy. When I first started teaching, I would blame myself when some students failed my class...I quickly stopped doing that, because I realized I was doing the best I could do...the students who failed, failed because they put in little or no effort into the class. I tell my freshman to take responsibility for their failures, that it is their job to pass their classes!

    Thanks for your post!

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    1. Great comment! Thanks! I agree with everything you said. After all is said and done, learning is a choice. A student is always free to decide that they don't want to learn no matter how great the teacher and the school. Blaming the teacher for the failings of the parent and/or student is a relatively new idea that has got to be stopped.

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  18. Thank you so much for writing this. I am a student teacher and I am amazed at how teaching has changed since I was a student. I can't wait to see what else you have to say!

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