I read an article called, “Teachers’ Lessons sometimes show up years later” and it really got me excited about this strike in Chicago that is going on. Teachers evaluations in some states are strictly based off standardized test scores, which in this article I am under the assumption that Chicago is one of them. Now, I know you are probably dreading where I am going with this…i’m sure you are thinking, “Great, here goes another liberal teacher ranting about standardized testing”, but that actually is not what I am really wanting to focus on. I actually want to focus on what we can do to evaluate teachers through other things.
The author talks about how her daughter was a teacher at an inner-city school in Chicago. She taught first grade and the students were out of control to say the least. The mom was furious and it was time for recess. She noticed that the rowdiest kids, were the ones who stayed behind, wanting to hang out with the teacher, and have an adult figure in their life show that she cared. And that is exactly what the teacher did and right away, the students calmed down. This is an example of why I think teachers need to be evaluated on things other than test scores. Some of these students that we teach, come to school with no breakfast, lunch or dinner. They come from bad home lives, parents in jail, almost homeless with no one to turn to. . . but can WE be those people that these students can go to. The article says that “A recent study of educational achievements in industrialized nations ranked American students as 25th in math and 14th in reading” which needs to be raised to say the least. But did these statisticions think about reasons as to why these students have such low scores BESIDES blaming strictly the teacher.
As an educator, it is obviously important for us to raise these standards and make sure that our students are proficient in the areas that they need to be, but it is also important to remember that as educators, we are still human beings. We have feelings, we have instincts, and we know how to tell when something is going on at home with a student. To think that as a teacher I can just ignore the issues that my students are going through, I would be a very short-lived teacher and I might as well start thinking about a new carreer path. I want to become an English educator not only because I love “The Great Gatsby” or because I could write an entire novel if I put my mind to it. I want to be an English educator because I want to make a difference. I want my students to be successful in all areas of the classroom and outside the classroom as well. I want my students to be healthy, and be involved in extra-curriculars, and to make their time away from home as successful as possible in the 8 hours that I can have them at school. It is important to remember that students are people. They have feelings, instincts and emitions that are highly effected by the outside world (meaning outside of the high school, middle school, or elementary school). Like the author said, we can’t change everything that goes on at home, or even fully change what the students decide to do, but we can, “give these students a hint of the larger world” and teach them healthy habits that will help them succeed in standardized tests, proficiency scores and be healthier, more successful individuals.
I know not all of you may agree with me, but at least give the article a chance. Its pretty interesting. [: