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msusong

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Reply with quote  #1 

“It is certainly true that part of the problem in American education is that we have taken good people—teachers and principals—and put them in a bad system that was never intended to help all students learn. It is equally certain, however, that those same teachers and principals must play a critical role in changing that system.” ---page 249

Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.

BONUS: describe how you’ve been able to make a positive change on your campus/district/etc.



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Maggie Susong
ATPE Member Engagement Coordinator
ritawilcox

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Reply with quote  #2 

I certainly agree that any positive change that is to take place in the education system in the US is going to begin with the front lines, teachers.  Teachers, because they are in the field, have the best experience and knowledge of what needs to change in order to become more competitive in the world today.  If teachers and their immediate administrators do not insist on change, the state of education in this country will continue to decline.  Legislatures and politicians are only going to pay attention to the "squeaky wheel"; therefore those most affected by change must initiate it.  

I personally feel that as an individual my best option in initiating this change is "one teacher at a time."  During my student teaching, I noticed many of the teachers were beleaguered by the constant needs of so many students.  They were, themselves, underpaid.  This furthered their hopeless attitude in the face of the needs of so many.  During that time, even though I made nothing during my "student teaching experience", I made an effort to dig into my own pocket and help with supplies.  In addition, I came in early, worked through lunch and stayed late to help tutor students needing help.  Of course, I was new and fresh, so my attitude was more of an excited new teacher.  Through example I helped teachers around me to recall how they felt when they were new.  I did note a difference in willingness to give more assistance, with time and money, as time went on.  Those who taught in rooms around my mentor teacher and myself started meeting before school and discussing group plans to teach certain lessons.  At the end of this semester my mentor teacher thanked me for "teaching" her something which she had forgotten.  

 


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Rita Wilcox
jgoedken123

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #3 

“It is certainly true that part of the problem in American education is that we have taken good people—teachers and principals—and put them in a bad system that was never intended to help all students learn. It is equally certain, however, that those same teachers and principals must play a critical role in changing that system.” ---page 249

Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.

BONUS: describe how you’ve been able to make a positive change on your campus/district/etc.

I definitely agree that we all have to be a part of this change!  Unfortunately, we will always be confined to national, state, and district expectations (whether we completely agree with them or not.)  As a teacher, I can play a critical role in this process by helping make the students' learning experiences more enjoyable.  For many of my students, I do my best to turn their view about math around.  So many of them absolutely hate it by the time they get to my classroom.  For some of them, I can plant the seed of furthering their education.  I have made positive changes in many of my students by planting these seeds.  I still hear from many students telling me how thankful they are that I helped them find the school they are currently attending (through college investigation projects).  I still have students who contact me asking how to find scholarships.  Many of these students wouldn't have even thought about going to these institutions without my influence.


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Jennifer Goedken
ktymniak

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Reply with quote  #4 
I agree that teachers need to create the change needed in education. 

Policy overload can be very frustrating - starting at the national level and working its way down.  My district has had four different superintendents in the past five years and the main focus of each one seems to simply be change in order to change and put their mark on the district.

I admit that I have become very jaded about each year's "all new program that is going to change the way you educate students and that you will be able to use from here on out," - or at least till next year and the next new superintendent. I stress to my students that all people are different and that a program that seems ridiculous to some may be the perfect format for someone else.

Teaching a foreign language, I get a lot of "why do they do it like that?" I first give a serious explanation of how languages developed and shifted, and then my students soon learn my stock answer, "God is great, biscuits are good, people are crazy." (If you don't recognize it, this is a re-working of a line from a country-western song.  As I don't like beer and am known for feeding my morning students homemade biscuits and jam - the line fits me. " We are all different. 

I admit that I am one of the old and crotchety ones in my department, (one of my goals for next year is to change that). However, I am NEVER negative in my classroom or about my students.  I am passionate about teaching them and helping them succeed.  I spend many hours outside of class working with students on college applications and scholarship applications.  I have taken students on college visits and made sure they completed every step for attending college after graduation. My students tell me and others that I am the one teacher that they know they can always count on and trust. I know that other teachers serve this role for other students.

I do encourage other teachers to cooperate, but teaching a double load of French and left me with little enthusiasm to contribute to the creation of lesson plans for Spanish and German.

So to answer the question, I agree and I try to do it one student, one problem at a time.

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Karen Tymniak
   "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur."

   "One only sees well with the heart."
        Antoine de Saint-Exupery
51409

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Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #5 
I think with any job in life you are presented with limits and boundaries and it is up to you on how you handle the barriers. You must identify problems and then solutions to try to resolve those problems. Sometimes change is big and sometimes change is small. As long as you are moving toward positive change you should know in your heart that you are doing the best that you can. You might ignite a change in others thoughts or perceptions and create a wildfire of change that you no longer can control. Others will take the reins and together you will ride to a better tomorrow in your job whatever the Jo might be. For us it is the hearts and minds of our future.
I think for me on my campus I have been focusing on mind sets with the students and I know it sticks when I hear them talk like my lessons have been teaching them and then I know I have made a positive change in the way they think and perceive the world around them.

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S. Braddock
Hamesk0

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Reply with quote  #6 
The "system" began as a means for the rich to become educated then expanded to white males, then females, still only providing basic elementary skills, but at least it was progress. Then it expanded to offering higher levels of education but still not for all. So yes, in this respect, the "system" was not "intended to help all students learn". Even as recently as when I attended public school as a student, while schools touted their graduation rates, it was clear to me that not all were pushed toward attending college.
It starts with one, and that one is me. I have to change my thinking and actions and then show my co-workers that those changes are successful and can work throughout our entire school. 
My leadership has been as a team leader; a department chair; someone who has said, "I can do that!" when others wouldn't/couldn't; a presenter for the district; a volunteer at New Teacher Orientations; the person who shows up; and importantly for me, my campus, my district and North Texas, I volunteer for ATPE.
Hcowham

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #7 
I agree that teachers have the power to make or break a school. If you have dedicated teachers who are passionate about learning, collaboration, and are goal oriented.... magic can happen. We play a critical role in changing a bad system. We must be the voice for our students and create an atmosphere where learning can take place. I believe that I make a positive impact at my campus by building relationships with my student on different levels. I involve myself in clubs and committees. I support and collobrate with fellow educaters, and I never stop learning.
Amancillas

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Posts: 37
Reply with quote  #8 
I think all systems are flawed in some ways, the education system being no exception. As teachers, we don't have the power to change the whole system and that is frustrating sometimes. While we do have limitations, I do believe we have the power to make small, positive changes and still have a positive impact on students' learning experiences. Rather than being frustrated about what we can't control, focusing on what we can control (positive and safe classroom environment, delivery of instruction, formative assessment, etc) is definitely a step in the right direction to making changes in the education system. Also encouraging other teachers and staying away from negativity ourselves can make a huge difference.
raclark

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Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #9 

“It is certainly true that part of the problem in American education is that we have taken good people—teachers and principals—and put them in a bad system that was never intended to help all students learn. It is equally certain, however, that those same teachers and principals must play a critical role in changing that system.” ---page 249

Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.

BONUS: describe how you’ve been able to make a positive change on your campus/district/etc.

I believe that teachers and principals can be the change that creates a great educational system.  Students need to be engaged in their learning and what they learn needs to be as tied to real world scenarios as possible.  When I get a chance to create something I retain that knowledge so much better.  Our students learn the same way.  We need less emphasis on testing and more emphasis on learning.  Our principal is very supportive of supporting us when we want to try something new or innovative.  I am going to a Flipped Class conference next week that will give me some new ideas about delivering instruction that will open up more in class time for students to think about what they are learning, practice and fail in a way that helps them learn.

I always try to stay on top of the new trends in education and to never stop learning.  I try to look for solutions to problems and try my best to suggest ways to solve the problems.  A positive attitude goes a long way to setting the tone in a department.  If someone is being negative, I offer a positive response.  Sometimes people just need to think about things in a different way.    I suggested that a yoga instructor might be willing to give a yoga class for our high school one year.  Another person took the idea and ran with it and we have been having a yoga class offered to district employees for the last couple of years. I try to be a team player and do my share of the work.  If something needs to change or is not working, I offer a suggestion for how that problem can be corrected rather than just complaining about it.  

Veronica

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Posts: 38
Reply with quote  #10 
I agree that the best teachers can make a positive change.  They must no longer isolate themselves and begin to collaborate, unifying the teaching staff and aligning with all school personnel.  It is like the law, they are written but remain in a book until they are enacted.  Then they become profitable.
nhoskins

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #11 

“It is certainly true that part of the problem in American education is that we have taken good people—teachers and principals—and put them in a bad system that was never intended to help all students learn. It is equally certain, however, that those same teachers and principals must play a critical role in changing that system.” The system was created for only a select few to succeed where most people were in an agriculture society.  Not only has so much changed technologically, but now all people are minorities (not just African American or Mexican American, but also special ed and all their acronyms, and Gifted and Talented, and Honors, Dual Credit).  The school system was not designed around all those changes, and the curriculum has changed.  They have added to the TEKS (standards) to include some, but not definitely not all major changes.  And even though there are some that has changed, not all teach it because they don't have time or not comfortable with the subject. "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." How many teachers, principals, and schools are changing curriculum to fit this new world we live in?  To not only teach the basics, but capture their interest. It is awesome to look down at a 3rd grade math TEK discussing interest for money, but is that really necessary when most kids are not taught about money in general. Are we pushing the same ole' Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., but not showing our Mae Jameison, Garret Morgan, or Daniel Hale Williams? Susan B. Anthony is great, but we have so much more that have accomplished or is recent or is more relevant.  The traditional is outdated and designed for status quo.  Our fellow kids do not get it, do not care, and without progress, we will get behind internationally.  I don't understand how we change almost every 4-6 years, but no progress is seen.  The whole systems needs a complete overhaul. "We need a critical mass of educators with passion and purpose who are committed to doing the right work".  What is the "right work"?  This is similar to the mission statements.  They are generic.  If the "driving force for these changes is love", love of what?  Education, our kids, or policy. Right now policy is what we love.  Dotting the i's and crossing the t's so that we are covered, instead of being flexible and teaching our kids where they are to get them to a new level.  Where is the courage of our lawmakers, our citizens, our administrators, and our teachers..... knowing that this system is flawed, yet we sell it like a used car salesman.  Where are our courageous educators?

 


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Nanceen Hoskins
lmarvels

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #12 
“It is certainly true that part of the problem in American education is that we have taken good people—teachers and principals—and put them in a bad system that was never intended to help all students learn. It is equally certain, however, that those same teachers and principals must play a critical role in changing that system.” ---page 249
I agree with the quote from the text. The system is flawed in that not all students needs are being met. Differentiated instructions may help some students, but not ALL. The system values student scores on developmentally inappropriate assessments rather than a system being built on meeting each child at their individual needs. This misguided practice deprives our students.
I try to help each child discover their unique talent or find something that each of them excel at academically. Everyone has something different to offer and can ultimately become what schools initially were build upon - molding students into productive citizens of tomorrow.
ehowe

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Posts: 83
Reply with quote  #13 
I agree that teachers must be key to changing the educational system. I also realize that we will always be held accountable by state and/or national standards that we may or may not agree with. The change, then, must occur as teachers work together to provide the most meaningful instruction in the most relevant ways.
As for myself, I am a team player, and I embrace looking at our students as OURS, rather than MINE or YOURS. I'm learning to speak up when I see changes that could benefit our students and to ask why things should stay the way they have always been.
antashjm

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Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #14 
I agree that teachers and principals need to be the change in our education system because we are in the trenches so to speak dealing with students, methods and policies. Parents, Boards of Education are all outsiders and don't always see the daily struggles teachers and students face in the classroom. Teachers and principals need to be the change for a better system because students can't always speak for themselves or know what needs to be changed. Something I do as a para is I try to step back in the classroom when possible and give the student I am supporting a chance to be part of the class as a student and not any different any other student.
jennlynn014

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Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #15 
Any school is going to have good and bad parts about it.  I believe that it is very important for teachers and principals to do their best in recognizing this and doing what they can to make positive changes.  The teachers and the principals are the ones that are there everyday overseeing what is working and what doesn't work in their school.  For me, it sometimes is very hard for me to speak up on what changes I think need to be made, but I am trying harder everyday to speak up and do what I can to make positive changes in my classroom and around the whole school.  
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