Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ineffective Teacher

Two months have passed since the independent evaluator observed the "ineffective teacher."  The teacher said the lesson went well but she has not receive any feedback.  Her livelihood depends on this and still, nothing.

What's going on?  If the evaluator truly believes the teacher is ineffective, she should be out the door.  I know the teacher.  She is far from ineffective.  Could it be this evaluator is not as independent as claimed?  Could he be in cahoots with the administrator who does not like the teacher and wants her gone?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Teacher Demos Best For Math

The latest issue of the UFT newspaper had an article by Rhonda Rosenberg with the title "Teacher demos best for math instruction."  The research is based on 1st graders and it was found that teacher directed instruction was much more effective than student centered lessons, group work and incorporation of music and movement.

I taught high school for years and have been teaching college for over 10 years and have found this to be true for older students as well.  Time is used more effectively when the teacher demonstrates.  The work is presented in a clearer manner and the students have a good model to follow on their own when they leave the classroom.

I remember talking to an English teacher.  She and I were both laughing at the rave review the Principal had given us when he walked in to the room and saw the kids working in groups.  What he didn't see was the kids fooling around and doing nothing until he appeared.  He didn't see us walking around from group to group getting them to put away their phones and get back on target.  He didn't see the 20 minutes of real instruction prior to his visit.  I guess that was a good thing.  He wouldn't have liked the chalk and talk that was going on.  He wouldn't have liked the kids not talking.  He wouldn't have realized that was where the learning was taking place.

(picture from Canstruction exhibit at Brookfield Place.  Wonderful sculptures made of food cans which are donated to food pantries before Thanksgiving)

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Subway Art Tour

Another benefit of retirement--UFT subway art tour with

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Prospect Park

Not having to work on a 70 degree day in November is wonderful.  

Monday, November 02, 2015

Comparing Apples and Oranges

Several months ago, while at a fair at Flushing Meadow Park, I signed up for a year subscription to the NY Daily News, a paper I had not read for years.  The paper came with a really cute umbrella that I wanted and 4 tickets to a wrestling event at Citifield that I wasn't particularly interested it but I did want to see the new stadium and since I don't like baseball, this was a good opportunity.  (We were already parked and the stadium was just a short walk from where we were.)  The paper was only $98 for the year and came with a $50 gift card so I figured this was a winning proposition.

The beauty of retirement is that I have time to read the paper daily and get pissed off by the often obnoxious editorials, primarily those about education.  Saturday had one titled "The real moral duty of charter schools."  The writer, Michael Petrilli talks about how parents want the discipline of charter schools, how kids can't learn in disorderly classrooms and strongly suggests public schools start following the model of charter schools in regard to discipline.  No one would argue with this need.  but, I would like to know what Mr. Petrilli would do with these serial disruptors, a term he uses to describe these challenging students.  Unlike charter schools, these students cannot be counseled out.

If I were the parent of a young child, I might want my student in one of these charter schools, in a safer environment.  I don't blame the parents.  And maybe he is right, we shouldn't pile disruptive kids and kids with learning problems into these schools but then we have to stop comparing charter schools which educate the select to public schools which educate them all.  We have to find a way to educate everyone and charter school selection is not going to do this.