Another Thursday, another Thumbs up Thumbs down post. Read here for the back story of why I started this.
This weeks Thumbs up Thumbs down is going to be about my week long sub job in a middle school RSP class and the observations I have made.
Thumbs up first off to the fact that I got a week long assignment right after the winter break, this started my year/month off on the right foot.
I love this RSP class because I love working one on one or with a small number of students on things that they are having difficulty with. It is just like when I tutor.
I love that it gives me the chance to get to know each of these kids on an individual level, not only academically, but on a personal level as well.
I have known most of these kids since they were just wee little tykes in Kinder and first, so I have had the pleasure of watching them grow, succeed and yes, sometimes get into trouble (this part wouldn't be to my pleasure, but to my dismay).
I love these kids!
This week was a huge Thumbs up in terms of "getting through". I helped 2 understand math concepts that they were struggling with. I watched as the light clicked on in their eyes and the smiles grew on their faces as they completed problems on their own...correctly.
I had a few interesting conversations with a couple of the boys and one in particular was very enlightening. The topic got to tatoo's and this one young man started to explain to his friend - that wants tattoo's - that his dad is wanting to remove all the tatoo's and tags that he has on his neck, face, arms and hands, because it is hard for him to get a job that pays good. This comment had no effect on his friend, but it was a definite AH-Ha moment for the one. So I say Thumbs up to this father that is trying to set a good example and teach his son from his mistakes.
The other part of my job this week was to go to classrooms to monitor and assist the students in RSP, so I send a great big Thumbs up to middle school teachers that have to deal with a room full of teenagers, half of which don't want to be there or care that they are getting a free education. They manage, they teach, they redirect, they teach, they manage, and they redirect, and redirect and redirect...unfortunately the ratio of teaching to redirecting is very unbalanced.
Now for the Thumbs down. It breaks my heart to see so many kids not care about school: taking notes, listening, participating, writing in planners, doing and turning in homework, etc. Yesterday, I talked to one of the teachers about getting kids to care or even try. Of the 30 kids in his class only 6 of them completed that nights homework and that was in just one of his classes.
Thumbs down to so much emphasis being put on test scores. How do you raise test scores when you can't get a student to attempt something without saying "I don't get it"? If students don't know to read the directions or even understand the directions, then something went wrong a long time ago. Do we do too much modeling and not enough independent work? Have we taken the fun out of learning by teaching to the test? Common Core is emphasizing text evidence, but doesn't that mean that the students are just regurgatting what the text says? What happened to getting your hands dirty and digging deeper, finding hidden meanings and falling in love with learning?
One of my students this week was telling me that he hates the TeleParent - you know the phone calls home that reminds you and tells your parents that something is due or to study for a test. He said that every time the Teleparent calls his mom makes him do homework, but yet one look at his grades shows that he does very little homework and he doesn't care, he thinks homework is a waste of time.
It is so unjustified to blame teachers for bad test scores when teachers are working their butts off for their students. So I say Thumbs down to those parents that take little to no responsibility for their child's education. Parents that make excuses for their children are not doing them any favors...I feel like we are raising our kids to have zero responsibility and they know it is not their fault because their mommy said so.
How do we change this? How do we make education as important as a new phone or a trip to Vegas (this is where all the kid go on vacation)? How do we get kids to love to learn, to thirst for knowledge and to want to do good?
Your turn to chime in...