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Thread: Chicago teachers on strike

  1. #91
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    Gerry, Teachers are as diverse a group as any other profession, within them you will find all types. Like any bell curve there will be a certain percentage at the top bottom and a majority somewhere in between. Most are in it for the right reasons, the few that aren't are like the bad eggs in any group, giving a bad name to everyone. I've been in schools where the peer review would work great. However, I've also been in a number of schools that had worse cliques that the junior high lunch room. If you weren't one of the "in-crowd" you would have been out no matter how good you were. There are so many variables that I'm not sure there is one foolproof method.

    Helen has touched on an important issue: Administrators. I am the son of a former teacher turned principal turned superintendent, and have taught and worked in a number of schools over the past 15 + years. There are way too many poor admins. "running" schools. The best principals I've worked for were teachers for a while before becoming admins. Many admins are coming into it fairly early in their careers, and tend to forget the day to day of the of being in the classroom, and lack the experience to deal with the myriad of people and issues that they will be faced with. Admin pay?? that's another topic that can be debated over and over. Good admins are definitely worth good money. (How much is the big debate.) When you factor in the number of people, money, and importance of their product they are responsible for with their educational level. With all the talk about weak teachers, a lot of people look to the admin to get rid of them.... Part of the admins job is to make their teachers better too. One of the purposes of of observations and reviews is for improvement not just to document so you can get rid of someone. Being a coach as well, I relate a lot back to athletics, and admins need to be a sort of coach too. When people aren't performing the way you would like, coach them up. I contend that when you see a school where a number of teachers aren't up to snuff you will find a poor administration. Good leadership is at the core of any successful group.
    Mike

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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjiorle View Post
    Gerry, Teachers are as diverse a group as any other profession, within them you will find all types. Like any bell curve there will be a certain percentage at the top bottom and a majority somewhere in between. Most are in it for the right reasons, the few that aren't are like the bad eggs in any group, giving a bad name to everyone. I've been in schools where the peer review would work great. However, I've also been in a number of schools that had worse cliques that the junior high lunch room. If you weren't one of the "in-crowd" you would have been out no matter how good you were. There are so many variables that I'm not sure there is one foolproof method.
    .................................................. ........................................

    Good post. Sis ( a retired grade school teacher ) and I were just talking aout this. Your last sentence sums it up pretty well.
    charly

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  3. #93
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    I don't use the PMs ... just send to the address in my signature line.

    Mike, I don't disagree with you at all about administrators being an important key to having teachers perform at their highest level.
    I've also been in a number of schools that had worse cliques that the junior high lunch room. If you weren't one of the "in-crowd" you would have been out no matter how good you were. There are so many variables that I'm not sure there is one foolproof method.
    There is no foolproof method for anything

    The leadership factor would also come into play in eliminating the clique behavior. I've seen it in other workplaces as well ... and only when it is not tolerated by the leadership will the situation improve. In other workplaces, though, the foolishness mostly just hurts the participants. With teachers, the students also are hurt. Not to mention the example that is being set for those youngsters.
    Most are in it for the right reasons, the few that aren't are like the bad eggs in any group, giving a bad name to everyone.
    I can agree with this, too. However ... in workplaces where there is no union each worker has to perform to a certain level of consistency. The fact that the union does not allow that to follow its course without considerable expense, is not helpful to the way teachers are perceived overall.

    Whether right or wrong, (and sometimes it is right) certain professions are held to "a higher standard". If an accountant makes too many mistakes, he will lose clients. If a doctor kills too many patients, he can be sanctioned, or at least lose referrals. If an attorney never wins any suits, there won't be too many clients knocking on his door. I think there has to be some method of accountability ... for the administrators, too.
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  4. #94
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    Unfortunately, when there are powerful cliques the admins are often part of them. Reason being is that the ranking members of the clique perform some of the admin duties, or were in the clique before becoming an admin. Good admins can work within the unions if they know the contract, the law, and have a big enough set. They have to know what they're doing and be willing to follow through. Again, they also have to be good leaders able to get what they want out of staff. Getting rid of someone should not be the first thought. The first thought should be, "can I make this person better?" if not, well then......
    Mike

  5. #95
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    Gerry-
    I am a Social Science Education major at Northwest Missouri State, primarily an education focused school. I would argue that teachers are held to a higher standard, especially in the pursuit of obtaining a degree and teaching license. Institutional requirements are much higher for education majors than that of business, communication, or science majors. More classes are required to graduate. Education majors have to take pre-institutional tests and in order to get a license you have to pass the Praxis, which is an all encompassing education and subject specific test. Required gpa for education majors is a half point to full point higher than non-education majors. Education majors have to spend 30+ hours out of class volunteering at different schools or programs. Everything done in college is a portfolio cataloging all the positive and negative things achieved
    After graduation day, that portfolio is integral in getting a job, which right now is very hard, especially for a social studies major. I have a few friends who have not gotton jobs but have been out of school for almost a year but would probably be great teachers. If you mess up as a teacher in the first year you are cut by the school in favor of the teacher who has been teaching the same way since the educational stone age and is most likely completely ineffective but gained tenure ages ago.
    My point is that there is a new generation of teachers out there. Not everyone is going to be an ace, but we as a nation cannot keep putting down teachers. We need to invest in them. Put more of an incentive out there to be a teacher. Make education more competitive and lucrative. Speak higher of teachers as a whole for petes' sake. After all, it is not the teacher who makes or breaks a school. It is the community and attitude of those involved in the town/school.
    Last edited by youngblood; 09-17-2012 at 12:26 PM.
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  6. #96
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    I agree, Youngblood, teachers are required to get more education than the ordinary 4-yr graduate who is not intending to teach. However, then there also has to be a performance standard when they are actually teaching. How to we evaluate the teachers once they begin teaching? Not only are they teaching academics, they are also role models for their students.

    How did we arrive at the present state where so many take a dim view of teachers? This was not always the case. That might deserve some study. If we have a system that does not reward the good teachers, and lets poor teachers gain tenure, we will have less of the good teachers staying in that profession.

    it is not the teacher who makes or breaks a school. It is the community and attitude of those involved in the town/school.
    Chicken or the egg? Just as we must acknowledge the diversity of teachers, the same is true of those in the community. While Philadelphia's inner city school community could be faulted as a "group", there are parents in that group who still value education and want their kids to get the best shot at education ... and they welcome the vouchers to get their kids into schools where they are safe and can get that education.

    I had a college friend who left teaching due to union pressure/attitudes. She was an earth science teacher in junior high. She had been a biology major in college (one of the toughest majors at our college). I can easily imagine her having been a great teacher, with her enthusiasm about her subject and the enjoyment she expressed with working with the students.

    I had some great teachers in school. They had tremendous impact on me. I would wish that everyone could experience such teachers. The teachers I remember were very different from one another, but all those memorable teachers brought their personality into the classroom and/or challenged the students' minds.

    Good teachers are of tremendous value, and deserve our "investment". The question is how to separate the good teachers from those who should have some other job in life.
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  7. #97
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    I just scanned the headlines yesterday that the Chicago teachers had gone back to work. It was not until this AM, that I saw the headline in the NY Times that the Chicago teachers' pension plan is paying out over $1 billion a year and is expected to go broke in a few years ... unless, of course, something is done to fix it.

    I didn't read all of the articles on the issues involved in the strike ... Generally, I recall the dispute centered on a substantial wage increase (guess they've read about QE III & its inflationary repercussions); and benefits issues (but seemed to focus on health insurance, not pensions); and opposition to teacher evaluations.

    I don't think even the mainstream media made the teachers' demands look very good to the public, a large portion of whcih are struggling financially or are parents whose children are in the failing Chicago school system. However, all media failed to pick up on what financial issues will follow if the pension is already insufficiently funded.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    I just scanned the headlines yesterday that the Chicago teachers had gone back to work. It was not until this AM, that I saw the headline in the NY Times that the Chicago teachers' pension plan is paying out over $1 billion a year and is expected to go broke in a few years ... unless, of course, something is done to fix it.

    I didn't read all of the articles on the issues involved in the strike ... Generally, I recall the dispute centered on a substantial wage increase (guess they've read about QE III & its inflationary repercussions); and benefits issues (but seemed to focus on health insurance, not pensions); and opposition to teacher evaluations.

    I don't think even the mainstream media made the teachers' demands look very good to the public, a large portion of whcih are struggling financially or are parents whose children are in the failing Chicago school system. However, all media failed to pick up on what financial issues will follow if the pension is already insufficiently funded.
    As is my way, I will make this VERY SIMPLE!!!!

    It is not the kids.
    It is not the community.
    It is not the teachers.
    It is not the administrators.
    It is not the school boards.

    It is the people that RUN the schools.


    DA UNION!!!!!!!
    Stan b & Elvis

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