Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year-end blog roundup

Batocchio at Vagabond Scholar has posted his annual list of Best Blog Posts of the Year (Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves). Batocchio’s list is a nice way of promoting small blogs (I’ve been getting a lot of new visitors today as a result of my own entry) and can lead you to some interesting finds.


Laura said...

So happy to have found this blog via Batocchio's roundup!

Forwarding this to a friend who was at her wits' end with a series of Silicon Valley schools -- the endless homework, the encouragement of conformity, the rampant eating disorders among tween "perfect" girls, the lack of *play* -- but she'll be enjoying this post from a distance. She eventually took the family back to their native Germany to escape the bewildering drudgery of American schools. She gave her resisting husband an ultimatum: We have to save our family. And they did.

Chris said...

Laura -- Thanks for commenting! I'm glad your friend found a place that was better for her kids -- what a shame it is that America isn't that place.

Dr. Pablito said...

Hey, me too. (uh, I mean, glad I found your blog via the "best-of" roundup). I appreciate thoughtful, interesting commentary on public education, and it seems that we are slowly seeing more national attention coming to these issues.

Chris said...

Thanks, Dr. Pablito. I hope you're right.

FedUpMom said...

Chris, congrats on being in the "best of" roundup!

Chris said...

Thanks, FedUpMom -- but, as I understand it, there's no selection process; everyone who submits an entry appears in the list.

Veteran Teacher said...

Hi Chris! Happy New Year! I came from the Blog Roundup as well. I am a public school teacher of 17 years. I have read many of your entries and while I find myself agreeing with much of what you say it also makes me sad to acknowledge that the profession I love has fallen so far. I have been a “teacher of the year” twice, I hold 2 MA’s and have completed the coursework for a PhD (never finished my dissertation) and I am actively seeking any way out of this profession I can find, much to my sorrow.

I have always taught in Title I schools by choice (high percentage of Free/Reduced Lunch students) because i became a teacher in order to make a difference. We have so few choices these days regarding teaching and learning that my job has become untenable. PBIS is not a choice -- we were forced to implement it by our state DOE. Everything you say is true. I do what I can to subvert the negative, authoritarian message in my own classroom but I am swimming against the tide.

There seem to be 2 kinds of employees in the school system now: those, like me, who see the emperor has no clothes and do what little we can to mitigate against the most egregious policies and those who unquestioningly accept everything that comes down the pipes from above because “we have no choice”. The latter types become the cheerleaders and advocates, not because they believe in what they are doing, but because they see it as not making waves and possibly leading to personal reward no matter the consequences on the children.

I am seeking Montessori certification to see if I can possibly salvage my love of teaching and to stay in this profession. I am at an age that changing professions carries much risk and angst but I can no longer participate in a system that violates my most basic beliefs about child development and learning.

Keep up the good work and always encourage other parents to increase their awareness and participation. I never thought I would feel that public education in the USA was a bad thing but I’m to that point now and I wonder, sadly, if it wouldn’t be better to scrap the current system entirely due to entrenched corruption and the near impossibility of extricating political and financial influences that have actively worked to destroy a once pretty-good institution.

Chris said...

Veteran Teacher -- Thanks for commenting! My guess is that there are a lot of people like you out there. You're probably right about there being two kinds of school employees, but on the whole I think teachers are keeping some humanity in a system that seems determined to become less and less humane. Still, it can't be an easy role to play. It's also true that the teachers who are less bothered by the trends in education are the ones who are most likely to stick it out, so it's harder and harder to be optimistic about the future.

Once in a while I take a look at my site stats, and I can see what search terms have led people to this blog. One of the search strings that pops up regularly (and leads people to this post) is "I don't want to be a teacher anymore."