In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, David Tomar describes his checkered past as an accomplice to teachers who were cheating. For over a decade, college and graduate students paid Tomar to do their school work. His was a somewhat surprising cliental: young men and women working towards obtaining their teaching degrees. Tomar writes that these aspiring teachers would turn to him to complete their assignments, including papers, lesson plans, and even classroom observations.
Shocking? It gets worse. Recent allegations of teacher-cheating have surfaced in cities like Washington, LA, and Atlanta. This time, they are not cheating with their own work. They are cheating on behalf of their students, changing answers on exams in order to boost their students’ test results.
Just like in real estate, the field of education can be boiled down to three words: location, location, location. Certain districts consistently score better than others. While there are no doubt many reasons that we can point to in order to explain the disparity between different districts, one factor is indisputable: teachers. Low-achieving schools tend to have a very difficult time attracting the most qualified teachers. After all, in addition to the academic weakness of the students, sometimes other challenges confront teachers in a low-achieving district, such as drugs or violence.
Video blogger Mor Rossler discusses promoting literacy in early childhood. A study shows that children of wealthy professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents. Is universal pre-K or parenting workshops the answer? Watch the video!
Sordid details continue to emerge in the harrowing tale of Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. As has recently been widely reported, Richie Incognito, a nine-year veteran guard for the Miami Dolphins, has been suspended indefinitely from the NFL for conduct detrimental to the team. Incognito is alleged to have verbally, and perhaps even physically, harassed fellow teammate and second year offensive tackle Jonathan Martin.
I’ll never forget the time I walked into a third grade classroom and discovered that the desks had been rearranged into a series of rows. The teacher had previously set up her room with five or six clusters of desks, each cluster functioning as a mini-community in and of itself. When I asked her why she made the switch, she said: “They’re not in second grade anymore.” I walked away sadly, mourning the fact that this teacher had – overnight – pushed these kids from first grade into college.
When it comes to job satisfaction, I have always viewed schools as one of the most people-intensive environments known to man. Keeping all the stakeholders, including boards, staff, students, and parents happy is a daunting task at best. What complicates matters is the fact that the interests of all the above frequently clash. Many administrators must often play the role of King Solomon, forced to choose between one interest or the other, trying to somehow walk a fine line that will keep everyone placated and no one terribly upset. The ability of a principal to navigate these tricky waters will determine their level of success.
As the school year begins in the Southfield neighborhood of Detroit, a beloved and devoted teacher, Eliezer Cohen, will not be in his sixth grade classroom. His absence was not expected. Cohen had not missed an hour, much less a day, in the 39 years that he had taught at the local private school. His new students were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to learn from this best teacher as many of their parents had done before them.
I always find it funny that these things surprise us. We consistently and quite bitterly complain about the cost of education and the quality of our children’s schools. We spend millions of dollars trying to improve our school systems with varying levels of success. It therefore should come as no surprise to us when the free markets step in and private lessons step up. If you do not satisfy the customer, someone else will.
“One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.”
These wise words regarding the power of education are not the musings of an ancient philosopher, nor the wisdom of a tenured professor, but rather the simple words of a young girl – quite a remarkable girl at that.
What makes a great teacher? Surprisingly, a key to teacher success came to me as I watched the ‘invisible gorilla’ video, which you may have seen. In it, the presenter has you watch a group of college students passing a ball to each other and has you count how many times the ball is passed. What you may have missed in this experiment of selective attention was the large gorilla who appeared in the middle, beat his chest, and left. The ‘gorilla in the room’ is largely ignored.
The keys to sparking student interest and increasing student participation may be sitting right under our noses, if we would only pause and pay attention.
The question is always there, we just choose to ignore it. And we pay the price. We ignore the question because we think it will go away. Every teacher sees the question in the eyes of his or her students, but since students rarely vocalize, the challenge is left unanswered and the lesson continues. The question, of course, is: “Why?”
Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? It was my favorite part of graduation. While most of the audience focused on the graduates and their ‘fascinating’ speeches, I waited for the traditional salute to our teachers.
One by one our teachers were called by name and asked to rise to be recognized. For me it was an important moment. Of course, I was thrilled that my teachers should receive the attention they richly deserved but rarely received. After all, how often do students stand at the end of class and show appreciation for teachers?
Video blogger Kate Cohen discusses what makes a principal great! School success is dependent on a great principal and the school community cannot flourish without an effective principal. What makes a great principal? Watch the video and find out!
It had been a long, hot and muggy Chicago summer. I was the principal of a private school that had decided to move to a new building, and I had spent countless hours over that summer overseeing the move. Unfortunately, I was not the only one whose summer was significantly disrupted. Each teacher was busy boxing his or her classroom materials, a task that could not commence until school had let out. It was a tedious job that did not do much to enhance teacher morale.
Video blogger Kate Cohen presents STEM Education Q & A! Learn everything you need to know about the hot educational trend and why corporations are backing STEM literacy to promote STEM jobs! Watch the video now!