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The New Ideal Teacher

Publication Date: 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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