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Here's What Teachers Need

Posted: 2008-09-12

This is from the Education Week blog, Aug. 26,
2008.

These are the things teachers need:



1. Start with repealing the NCLB Act, high
stakes

testing, and programs like Bush's Reading
First

Initiative.

2. Have administrators who ask, "What do you
need

to do your job better and how can I help you
do

that?

3. Get rid of the factory mentality currently

applied to schools. Schools are not factories
and

the factory model is inappropriate for
education.

4. Fund smaller class sizes so that we can

address students̢۪ needs more effectively and
help

students learn.

5. Support from the public. We do not need
more

teacher bashing. If you can read this, thank
a

teacher.

6. Have far less interference from
politicians,

business folks, and standardistos telling us
what

to do. We know what we need to do. We live
and

breathe teaching.

7. Fund schools in needy communities so that
they

are on a par with schools from upper income

neighborhoods.

8. Have more opportunities for students to
take

courses in the arts.

9. Do not engage in behind the scenes

manipulations among business, politicians,
and

special interests groups who think they have
the

answers and only want to line their pockets.

10. Provide a salary we can actually live on.
Do

you know that those in the home building
industry

make more money than teachers?

11. Give teachers the opportunity to shape
our

own in-service education programs.

12. Stop interfering with the "quick" fix.

Schools should not be run by the quarterly
report

ala high stakes tests.

13. Free us from "bureaucratic" harassment.
Just

let us do our jobs.

14. Focus on what we do for humanity and

understand that our students come from
different

homes, have different talents, interests, and

abilities. Let us address student diversity

instead of trying to make students all alike,
an

exercise in futility.

15. Stop developing standards by committee.
This

activity does not add value. Instead it is a

waste of resources. We know what to do.
Remember,

we are the experts.

16. Understand that the Halliburtons of

education, the testing and publishing
companies

only care about making money.

17. Get rid of the fear and punishment model
ala

NCLB and high stakes testing. They take away

precious energy.

18. Quit comparing schools. Schools by their
very

nature are different, because the people in

schools are diverse.

19. Look at diversity as an asset, instead of
a

liability.

20. Give teachers a role in academic
governance.

21. Have administrators that teach as part of

their jobs. Many administrators have
forgotten

what it is like to be in the classroom.

22. Allow teachers to select the school

administration from the ranks of the
teachers,

and have the administrator rotate back into
the

classroom.

23. Learn from other countries.

24. Allow for the diverse learning styles and

interests of all students.

25. Focus on what students learn not what
they

cannot do.

26. Get rid of the concept of mastery for it
is

an oxymoron. We never ever really master

anything.

27. Provide teachers with the materials and

resources they need. Many teachers spend
their

own money on the children they teach. What

profession so willingly does this?

28. Quit blaming teachers for the ills of

society.

29. Quit insisting that we adopt whatever

solutions has been most recently concocted as
a

panacea. There is no silver bullet or magic

formula.

30. Understand that teaching is a "real time"

endeavor and teachers orchestrate many things
at

the same time.

31. Understand that teaching is mentally,

emotionally, and physically draining.

32. Think about your great teachers, and talk

about them, for they are true the true heroes
and

heroines, not the celebrities.

33. Provide planning time so we can
thoughtfully

do our jobs.

34. Understand the difference between
training

and education, justice and the law, religion
and

morality, knowledge and isolated facts.

35. Understand that the curricular areas are

connected and that our job is to help
students

make connections, not just teach isolated
facts.

36. Provide us with resources for parent

education for parents are our allies.

37. Understand that the best people to
determine

how well a student is doing are the student

himself/herself, the teachers, and the

parents/guardians in consort with one
another.

38. Understand that no high stakes test score
can

even begin to tell one all there is about

learning. Standardized testing results are
only

broad strokes and are culturally biased and

limiting, and this practice does not add
value,

but detracts.

39. Quit ranking, sorting, categorizing, and

labeling students, schools, and teachers for
it

is demoralizing. People blossom at different

times and at rates.

40. Stop micro-managing teachers and schools.

41. And for crying out loud, quit saying that
we

need better-qualified teachers. We are
qualified

or we'd be eaten alive by our students.

42. Walk in our shoes for just a week without

anyone telling you what to do. You would
crawl

out the classroom.

43. And quit managing by fear and punishment
and

thinking that the only thing that motivates
us is

money.

44. Understand that we are educating for
human

greatness - the long haul, not just for
students

to pass some high stakes test.

46. Remember the importance of local control
and

small school districts for they are better
able

to respond to student needs and this ever

changing society.

45. Think before you open your mouth and say

another dumb thing about teachers. Know what
you

don't know, and you don't know teaching.
Don't

think that you have the answer for us, and
quit

using education as a political football. Quit

being so arrogant and get out of our way.
Support

us, and do no harm to us. Thank teachers.



How about the government sponsoring a
National

Teacher Appreciation Week. Now that would be

something of importance.



Yvonne Siu-Runyan, Ph.D. is a professional

educator with 40 years of experience. She has

taught grades K-12 (inclusive) in imaginable
and

unimaginable situations in Hawai'i, Michigan,

Ohio, Colorado, and California. She has even

taught in a one-room schoolhouse in a
community

of 200. In addition, Siu-Runyan has taught
all

levels in higher education - undergraduates,

post-bac, master's and doctoral degree
students.

She has worked also at the administration
center

and provided in-depth inservice education to
many

teachers from various school districts and

communities. She is published in refereed

international, national, and state
publications,

and has presented internationally,
nationally,

state-wide, and locally. A woman of color,
she

understands the power and value of diversity.
She

thanks her teachers!

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