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The New Ideal Teacher

Posted: 2013-02-15

This painful reality of what teaching has become is from The Real Mr. Fitz, April 1, 2012. David Finkle is a Florida teacher as well as a cartoonist whose strip appears in the Daytona Beach News-Journal , and the author of two young adult novels.

Here's a comment on this poem: I wish this was an April Fool's joke, but alas, it is becoming my life. : (
~Teacher in Detroit

By David Lee Finkle

The new ideal teacher

Is driven by data,

And kids become points

On her test-score schemata.

Winnie is a "1" and must be forced to make a gain.

Theo is a "3" and that's a score he must maintain.

Freddy is a "5"; there's no more room inside his brain.

The new ideal teacher

Wants things she can measure;

If it fits on a chart,

Then it's something to treasure.

For the new ideal teacher,

It's shame or it's merit.

She's caught in between...

Well, a stick and a carrot.

The scores control her destiny, for better or for worse.

If scores are high, then there could be more money in her purse.

If low she might discover her career is in a hearse.

The ideal teacher's wallet

Is empty or padded

Depending on value

Deducted or added.

The new ideal teacher

Does not plan her lessons.

Her classes are all pre-

Fab learning-gains sessions.

Today is lesson thirty-seven; tomorrow's thirty-eight.

Page by page the pacing guide ensures she won't run late,

Just like the teacher down the hall and in some other state.

Original thought

She's been taught

To self-censor.

She pops lessons out like a big Pez dispenser.

The new ideal teacher

Doesn't question or query.

She does as she's told;

She's compliant and cheery.

When someone says, "It's best for kids!" she'll never even blink.

When she is told her pay's been cut, her spirits never sink.

When buried under new reforms, she'll never raise a stink.

She'll teach critical thinking

From a book off the shelf,

But she never would think

She might think for herself.

The new ideal teacher

Can prioritize:

She puts first things first,

And she won't compromise.

Good test scores are number one; they lead to higher pay,

Which, of course, is number two-- more money makes her day.

Fidelity is third: give her a script; she'll never stray.

The new ideal teacher

Is stalwart and steadfast.

The system comes first,

So her students come dead last.

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