If it’s not one thing, it’s the copier.
Sighted on the First Grade Fun Times Facebook page.
According to this article, Iran is banning “ugly” teachers from the classroom. Unsightly moles, acne, facial hair for women, even infertility, color blindness, and cancer can cause an applicant to be passed over or a in-service teacher to be sacked.
Another article says that the outcry about the list has led to fe
male-specific criteria to be removed and the rest of the list to be reviewed. Whew! Rest easy, my butterfaced comrades.
Me, reading student evaluation comments.
Or me, when students tell me the homework was hard.
Google Translate keeps getting better and better, which makes pure gibberish less common while also making it harder to figure out if a student has copied his essay from somewhere online, gotten help from someone more fluent, or somehow jumped up three levels in writing skill overnight.
Having just finished a module for a repeat class, this was a daily issue. And now, I’m just about to start our summer module, which also happens to correspond with Ramadan. The students during this module will be…shall we say, less motivated than usual.
I once had a professor who called bureaucracy, in our university or in business or in the public sphere, administratium, the heaviest element. It made everything slower, harder to wade through, and generally more frustrating by the fact of its very existence. While he talked about this fictive element jokingly, it was clear he felt stifled by the burdens of administration.
The teacher profiled in this NPR article, Rick Young, shared my old prof’s disdain for administratium.
“Everything’s very time-consuming. In in my mind, it’s not productive time,” he says. “It’s not helping my students. It limits the freedom of teachers to really freely teach and of principals to freely lead and evaluate.”
Young, an effective and beloved instructor in an alternative high school, has given up teaching after 25 years, thanks entirely to the weight of imposed standards and formats and requirements from district, state, and federal authorities.
Much of the burden he and educators across the country face comes from our national addiction to data. Everything related to education must be turned into a metric that can displayed on a PowerPoint slide. If something can’t be datafied, then it is all-too-often deemed unessential and is tossed out of the school along with PE and Art and recess. Hence, our love of standardized tests and our push for teacher evaluations (which have been shown to be poor measures of ability). Standardized tests often just show whether a student is good at taking standardized tests, and can demonstrate wildly incorrect results based on a number of confounding factors (race, gender, sleep, diet, weather, etc), AND aren’t always good indicators of future academic or career success.
Instead of overburdening our educators with mandates, focusing on better training and support for teachers, paying them better and attracting more enthusiastic and capable people to the field, and, critically, not losing them in the first year or two, would go a long way to improving education in America. Train good people, give them the respect (salary) and support they deserve, and step out of their way.