I love being creative. Here is a slideshow built using the basic settings in iPhoto – Ken Burns theme with default sound.
You want know what the hardest part about being a teacher in the US is?
It’s living in a culture where everybody thinks they can teach. Which is like saying everybody can be a doctor. Yet that is exactly what happens in teaching.
Everybody knows how to teach and they all get involved. They espouse opinions and beliefs. It’s like teaching is some mystic art that no one knows how to solve.
In the documentary, Waiting For Superman, Davis Guggenheim explores teaching like it is a mystical mess. He focuses on the system and how hard parents are trying. Why tenure sometimes gets in the way, etc. Not really anything different than what’s been said for 50 years.
Here’s something different. It takes three years minimum to become just a good teacher. Five years, minimum, to become a master teacher. Including the one year of post-grad that is six years to master the skill of teaching. If you are good. If you don’t have the right mentoring or curriculum help it could be 7-8 years. How long does it take to be a doctor, or a lawyer or accountant?
What would change if we all thought about teachers as equal to doctors:
- We might give parents and the PTA’s less input into schools (they’re the reason why we have tenure and it’s issues).
- The role of an “active parent” would switch from blaming schools and “watching” teachers to reading, helping with math, and going beyond the classroom to teach new lessons.
- The “business” of teaching would be more like hospitals. With an MBA handling the money, HR executive handling the hiring/firing/development, and master teachers handling the education.
- Lastly, and most importantly, we would all understand that our 12 years of being a student in no way makes us experts. Instead it makes us biased, bitter, and unable to help (at all) until we become master teachers (or at the very least learn something about education).
I really hoped Davis would explore these problems but instead he gave an uneducated “parents view” of education. Thanks a lot bud, you used ur considerable skill and prominence to just make things worse.
*I posted this in Facebook at 11:21pm on October 9th, just after leaving the theatre*
I feel for Meg Whitman. The former candidate for Governor of California spent 141 million dollars of her own money and lost. A loss made even more bitter by how she lost. Old Moonbeam barely announced his candidacy, waiting till what seemed like the last possible moment. Then refusing to raise money or run TV ads until late in the game, even waiting till a month before the election for TV ads. Finally, Moonbeam just grumbled his way to the Governor’s mansion, proudly proclaiming his political-ness, grouchiness, and cheapness.
“In choosing the oldest man ever to run the young state of California, voters decided that a grumpy penny-pincher is just what they need at a time when the state is so broke it cannot fix park benches or investigate burglaries.”
Which I think is awesome! It’s so California. Just when you think it’s going one way the state diverts and heads down a completely new path. It does fit the name, The Tao of Moonbeam, as written by Timothy Egan in the New York Times. Which is a great opinion piece well worth reading.
I guess at this point you may be asking, who the hell is Moonbeam?
It’s Jerry Brown and the name comes from Linda Ronstadt when they were lovers. Apparently the name leaked to the press in 1976 and it has stuck ever since. Back then Jerry Brown was an Obama-like superstar. The young politician was good looking, twice the Governor of California, and often a president candidate.
The popular definition of the name was “young, idealistic, and non-traditional”. A reference that some thought would hurt ‘Governor Moonbeam’, and it probably did hurt his presidential ambitions, but in California it became a point of pride. Especially as the state rose to dominate the country with its economy and culture. The story gets better though as the feud between Jerry, Ronstadt, and the press heats up…for more on this check out, How Jerry Became ‘Governor Moonbeam’, by Jesse McKinley in the New York Times.
I love California!