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Guest Post: Dream Big - You Can Be Whatever YOU Want to Be When You Grow-Up!

  
  
  
  
  

matt damon sosAfter viewing Matt Damon's speech (and follow up interview), I was so thankful about the positive press surrounding the support of teachers... especially considering the amount of chatter that isn't always so positive regarding our pay and dedication. Sitting here on Sunday afternoon, my husband, Jason, and I engaged in some rather interesting conversation surrounding today's current economic state. Like most, we were concerned when our nation's credit rating was lowered. We've been wanting to watch Inside Job - so we did.  Interesting enough, Matt Damon narrated this documentary.

This film got me thinking... who is to blame for our nation's financial crisis?

Then I began to think... who is to blame for our nation's educational crisis?

Is it the Teachers?

It only seems right that if students aren't performing well, it must be the ones directly teaching them, right?

If a bridge collapses, who is at fault?  

  • The ones that drive on it
  • The ones that constructed it
  • The ones who supplied/manufactured the faulty materials in which the bridge was constructed

What if you were given the assignment of teaching piano lessons... However, you are governed by the following:

  • You have to use certain sheet music (not the materials in which you prefer)
  • You have too many students to get to on a personal level
  • Some of your students have handicaps yet you don't have tools to accommodate
  • And most importantly... your success isn't going to be measured on how beautiful the students play the instrument nor how much growth they've made from the time they've entered the class but rather how well they perform on the standard sheet music exam

Honestly, ask yourself, how many hours will you:

  • Spend on teaching how to read sheet music
  • Spend on actually playing the piano 

Some people (myself included) will argue that if you teach in an authentic fashion, the students will naturally perform well on whatever test is given to them. True.  So, we don't have to teach test preparation and drill and kill methods 180 days a year - and we shouldn't test this way either!

So, how do we reach students when classes are overcrowded and students are at so many different levels?  I believe technology is a tool that can help in this situation. Many have discussed new methodologies such as The Flipped Classroom where student's homework consists of viewing lectures at home so that the 'homework' becomes classwork where the teachers can facilitate a more hands-on model of instruction. Certain software companies have created Learning Management Systems that help to make this an easy transition.  

I certainly do not believe that teachers are to blame. In fact, I believe teachers are the thread holding the system together. I do think that the system needs to change, though. Times have changed; however, much in our practice has not. In my opinion, teaching is evolving - and the field of education needs to catch up.  Teachers are ready; they simply need the tools and the training to incorporate these new methods into their classrooms. 

In closing, I pose a question: are we going to continue to prepare our students to become proficient at shading in bubbles, or are we going to prepare them to be able to use their resources, analyze information, think critically, and connect globally?


Erin Klein is a mother of two, a wife, and a teacher in Michigan. You can find her on Twitter @Mimadisonklein or read more of her writing on her blog, Kleinspiration. Like all guest posts, views expressed in this article belong to the author.

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Comments

the era of the factory school setting is ending - what i mean by factory is all the kids sitting in chairs facing the same way, waiting for the bell, being told to open their books to the same page... While technology will play a HUGE role in the 21st century classroom, it will not be the deciding factor - the 4 C's thatwww.p21.org is all about (collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication) is where we will see change and progress. we run the risk of technology getting in the way and being "cool" just for being new and different. when we get kids to open up, share and work together then they will learn and grow. just my .02 cents
Posted @ Friday, August 12, 2011 11:57 AM by michael weiss
Excellent post. I only hope that our society would start appreciating the hard work that teachers are doing to help teach children under tough conditions. I tried to teach my students the survival skills that they would need in the real world. There is little time to do this now in the standardized testing environment. 
 
Teachers also need the help of parents who should be active team members in the education process.
Posted @ Friday, August 12, 2011 3:14 PM by Cybrary Man - Jerry Blumengarten
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