Yes friends, I am fired up once again.....this time by an article in the Blackboard Jungle section of Newsweek Magazine....this article to be exact...titled "Why Teachers Can't Control Their Classrooms" I am still scratching my head as to why no one at Newsweek called me..because I would certainly have given them an earful...and set them straight.
While I agree with most of the article (the gist being that teacher education programs are not equipping new teachers for the reality of classroom management and bad student behavior), I came across this gem...."Education Secretary Arne Duncan has acknowledged what a huge issue classroom management has become. To help improve the situation, the federal government recently dedicated $21 million to a fledgling network of 28 teacher-residency programs (modeled on medical residencies) to give new teachers hands-on training in a real classroom. Later this year Duncan plans to distribute another $100 million in grants to expand the idea further."
HELLO---Secretary Duncan...we have that..it's called STUDENT TEACHING!! So this genius is going to throw $121 million into a program of 28 networks modeled after medical residencies. LOVE it..so when these teachers graduated from your program Secy Duncan..will these teachers (and their hard working, battle scarred colleagues) then be PAID like Doctors? Or treated with the same respect for their profession as Doctors?? When is the last time you read about a patient throwing a chair at their doctor?
Don't get me wrong..I think there is definitely a need to better support first and second year teachers, especially those who have students with behavior issues. Many schools, including the one I work at, have mentor programs where a seasoned veteran helps a newer teacher, shows him/her the ropes, assists them when they are struggling whether it is with classroom management, curriculum, etc. If Secy. Duncan wants to keep teachers from leaving the profession within the first five years, he needs to work with teachers, administrators, etc, to see what suggestions they have to make the situation better. Throwing money at yet one more program will not solve the problem. Some of these students need to be removed from regular classrooms when the behavior escalates to the point where it is impacting the ability of the teacher to teach and the other students to learn. Spend the $121 million on closing aging schools and building new ones, teacher mentoring programs, new technology, remediation programs, gang education programs, and YES, teacher salaries.
Much better investment in my humble opinion!! And while we are on the topic of "Why teachers can't control their classrooms"..the answer is because many parents don't discipline their kids at home, they have no expectations for them and when they get in trouble it is always someone else's fault....however, there are good parents, no there are GREAT parents out there that do the right thing, that set expectations for their children and that realize the importance of going to school, getting an educations and listening and respecting the teacher and administrators....I LOVE parents like THAT!!!