Saturday, September 26, 2009
I shop whenever I have the money, I figure that makes me an expert on retail stores. The HR person interviewing me insisted on asking about my experience working in retail.
Now I don't have much experience in a retail store. That is to say my
experience consists of working at a gas station a few years back. I shop though and that should make me an expert.
So I don't understand when the HR lady, who herself is not a retail store manager, asked me how I thought it was possible that she could hire me to supervise when I would know less than the associates I was supposed to be supervising.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I remember my days as a high school student. I was about as lazy and cocky as it was possible for a high school student to be, yes I know that is saying a lot. I did the minimum amount of work necessary to pass and probably less than that on many occasions. I did however pass, though sometimes I think just because the school didn't want to deal with me one more year.
This may be good or bad depending on your point of view.
It's good, because evidently I generally have a better grasp of the knowledge and skills that make up the high school curriculum than the average high school student. I personally don't see the harm in graduating from high school if you have the knowledge and skills high school is supposed to teach.
It's bad because I never learned what to do when my limits were tested. I was never held back because of my lack of effort. I might have been given a poor grade, but never held back.
After high school I went off to college. I struggled a bit with calculus, but eventually figured it out. Beyond that I muddled my way through just like I did in high school, by showing up to class taking notes and reading the books. I didn't put much effort into my homework, I simply depended on my ability to pass tests to get me through. For the most part, my amazing ability to pass a test without studying served me well.
There was one professor however who refused to let me slide like I had done for the past 15 years. He made it a point to give me low grades on every paper I wrote unless I spent hours each week writing and rewriting with him in his office. I didn't learn anything. I quit trying and I failed that class. The next semester I took it again, but withdrew and eventually dropped out of college thanks to the influence of that one professor.
Was I a failure? Did my history of never needing to struggle doom me to fail? Did that professor fail me as a student? Did my high school fail me by not preparing me for the true rigors of college or professional life? Did I fail myself with my own lack of passion and willingness to take the easy way out? These are questions I ponder on occasion.
Of course today many students have the option of taking AP classes, or college credit classes, but even if I those were available for me then I probably wouldn't have taken the opportunity. Honestly, I was lazy. I didn't see a need to do more than what was asked at that particular time. Don't get me wrong I loved to learn, I just didn't see the purpose of proving it to my teachers.
I don't know if J. Krause's experiment would have prepared me any better for what future college life held for me. I do know that if that one professor had approached me as a student full of promise who needed molding instead of a lazy good for nothing punk I like to think I would have chosen to learn instead of run away.
So Mr(s). Krause good luck to you and your students. I think this class will teach some few students to learn. It won't work for every student and I hope not every teacher follows this idea, but I hope one or two do so every year, if only to make sure to give all students the opportunity to shine.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As a teacher I am often asked how I would fix schools in America. I always say the easiest way is to raise starting salaries to about $60,000 a year then wait seven to ten years. I figure the raise in pay will attract so many eager new students that colleges will be raising standards to keep classes to a manageable size. In about four years schools will have so many new applicants they can pick the best of the best. Then after a few years teaching we will start to feel the effect of these new high quality teachers.
Before I get flamed like crazy this is not the entirety of what I would do if by some weird coincidence I actually had that sort of power and influence. It’s more of a discussion starter for a question that is more rhetorical than real.
I would like to qualify that we do have many outstanding teachers in our schools. I think almost every educator I have worked with has put in a top notch effort. While those schools have been considered “at risk”, every year I worked they met AYP (adequate yearly progress) according to NCLB. More importantly the teachers, parents, and students all felt we were producing high quality education.
All that aside though why shouldn’t we pay teachers $60,000 a year? I mean besides the question of we can afford it. I also don’t think the argument of teachers being lazy works either. Teachers work harder than most people think. I don’t mind a discussion of weakening tenure either, just realize that teachers need to be protected from one irate parent or principal.
Take it from there. Go to our discussion board and talk.
When the folks at Global Scholar asked if anyone would like to be a blogger and not get paid I actually jumped at the chance. I’m one of those guys who has a book somewhere inside, but I can never seem to get it out. I figure it is because I can never seem to follow through with the first piece of advice any writer will tell you: sit down and write everyday. So here I am writing everyday.
I’m pretty new at this blogging stuff, or old if you think about it. (As a motorcycle enthusiast I was writing about my travels before I knew blog was a word) I do have two blogs as a sort of diary for my boys that I hope they will take over when they get old enough. The surprising thing to me was how many blogs are out there just on the state of education.
It was Three Standard Deviations to the Left, that caught my attention. If you remember early one I wrote an article where I mentioned that the quick and easy fix to education would be to raise teacher pay to about $60,000 and then wait a few years. I didn’t think I had a chance of actually being original in my thought, but I had never come across anyone who had even thought of the idea before.
Now of course he put a bit more thought into his plan (or hers). He went on to quote leaders in the field such as Sir Michael Barber (good and bad). He also shows some data on the amount of pay teachers receive in countries with the best rated school systems.
In the end though she sees improvement in education being made by one of two major changes being made. Either we increase pay (as in South Korea) to encourage the best and brightest college students to enter the teaching profession, or we somehow create an attitude of respect (as in Finland) for the professionalism of teachers.
There is one more step. There must be a way to weed out the poor teachers without ruining good teachers. More on that tomorrow.
not actually allowed to own the writings I put up on that blog, but as
I reference them on occasion in my writing I am putting those articles
up in my archives here for reference sake. I'll put the tag GS on those
articles noting that they were originally published on the http://schoolfinder.globalscholar.com/blog/