Monday, August 6, 2012

Teaching Frustration

Our schools are failing.  Our students keep falling farther and farther behind.  Schools have become more about socialization and less about academics.  Teachers and administrators are frustrated with having to teach the test and not a love for learning. What do we do with the students?  What do we do with the stagnation among the teachers?
If doctors or lawyers or accountants are just mediocre, then there are repercussions.  They lose business as determined by the capitalist market they are in.  There is competition among those professions and each must perform to the best of their ability.  With the school system, there is no real competition.  The government is in firm control and while there are private schools, they are more expensive versions of public school.  There, of course, is home schooling, which is growing, but may not be a viable option for many families.  Most of my readers know that I choose the latter option and teach my own kids.  I was, however, a public high school teacher.  I saw and felt the frustration of teaching to the lowest common denominator.  I was taught that in college.  It was not something that I experienced when I was in school.  I believe that a teacher should always set the bar high and have the students strive to reach that level.  Right now, teachers often teach to the lowest common denominator and then the higher achieving children suffer.  I am not for leaving kids behind.  But, there has to be a solution.
I think the authors of the book Mission Possible  have found a solution.  Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia wrote a book about the Success Academies that they have started in Harlem and Brooklyn.  These are some of the most economically depressed  students in America.  They have so much going against them. Broken homes, hunger, poverty, crime, drugs, etc are all going on around them in their communities.  These kids are thriving!!!  Why?  Because of the model set forth by these 2 women.  They have made a community of parents, teachers, administrators and children.  They have been successful in creating a love for learning among their students.  They have succeeded in making teachers feel worthwhile and giving them immediate feedback on how they are doing.  Each teacher has a bar that they have to reach and they are given tools with which to get there.  The teachers then set a high bar for their students and the students strive to reach it.  If not the 1st time, then in private tutoring or on Saturdays.  The parents are also held accountable, too.  They must sign a contract upon winning the lottery(see the documentary with the same name).  Their child's success depends on their involvement.
I believe that this model may be America's best hope for protecting its future as far as education goes.  We throw millions and millions of dollars at a system that doesn't work.  It leave teachers with no satisfaction or pride in their jobs.  They feel stagnant and depletes morale.  I think that these Success Academies with their fast paced, student motivated learning models will fix the problem.  They are working in NYC and the surrounding burrows.  They work so well, in fact, that they have thousands of people waiting for spots to get in the schools.  When have you seen that happen?  Kids, teachers and parents all excited about what is happening in their schools?  I see that here at my home and it truly gives me a thrill.  I am so glad to see it on a grander scale.  Check out Mission Possible at their website and see all about the book.  See if that model could be used in your district and maybe you can get it started in your school.  You can check out author Eva Moskowitz on her Facebook page or Twitter.
Would you like a copy of this book?  You would?  I would like to give you 1.  Enter my contest to get a copy(I get to keep mine too!).  How to enter....

Follow me on GFC or Google+ or Email or NetworkBlogs and tell me in the comments.(1 entry)
Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he/she impacted you(2 entries)
Follow Eva on FB and/or Twitter(1 entry per follow, leave it in a comment)

I was compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

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