6 thoughts on “If You Read Nothing Else Today…

  1. Marg

    Thanks for the link to Sarah’s post Graham, and I hope Australia doesn’t continue down a similar path, as you say!

    I’ll be following the election campaign this year with much interest, as education will no doubt be on all party agendas.

    Here’s hoping…

  2. Sarah Puglisi

    Thank you for the nod.I’m truely overwhelmed and getting home tonight at 7PM, completely shocked.
    I am sitting here wondering how to explain.To a world away, to a continent that I have looked to for educational inspiration. You got it right, you were the ones lighting a torch for those of us teaching.
    For America’s children there is not a net of love, if you are poor somehow you and your family are held contemptuously and NCLB has acted as the vehicle to give you the message.You are the unwashed, …amazing if one relates the words on our Lady of Liberty. I teach these immigrants and I see the changes over at least 25 years. Much was needed and much was not done. This is one area I do have expertise. That and a lifetime teaching and writing ancedotal records everyday so that I could evolve over time my instruction and now seeking to confront something directly. Something I am a poor writer to represent, but it matters as my families and children are voiceless. This is the first lesson I learned of poverty. It can speak, it’s mute. It suffers.. I am such an inadequate vehicle but I am compelled to write. And I thank you for the sake of my children for your thoughts, listening. If you think testing and more testing, then rigid testing solves issues….please come visit my school in Oxnard, CA. I really spent the later part of my work day in a 1st grade room(of a peer) with empty walls, a list or two of vocabulary words, a few letter cards up and the Standards on the wall. Not a book in the room but the three “sets” of adopted basal texts. That alone was so frightening I could not think a good while sitting looking around. A world with no literature. A nightmare. I felt like I was in a meeting of my cell block. And this is the “place” for 2nd language students(6 years old) many so poor hygiene and dinner are not a “for sure”. Towards that end I lent 50 bucks to a crying parent for her groceries, after my meeting finding her distraught by my door.. I don’t know ….anything. But poverty, kids with no healthcare, students in rigid testing the day before Christmas break(over 3 hours straight for my 1st graders, 10 times a year or tested for over 1/6th of their reading instructional reading time per year by “mandate”) , this is now. The future for them if they are able to seeit happen is in knowing technology, loving to learn, invention, creation, innovation, finding answers. We should be demonstrating this with our young, especially the young of those who need us most. We fail our young, we fail our future and if Australia looks at choices like these, please nourish the happiness, the value of your young remembering the joy of learning and protecting children.It will matter so much…it’s the future and we hold this in our hands.

  3. karynromeis

    How wonderful to encounter a teacher like Sarah with heart and passion for her vocation (and I use that old-fashioned word deliberately). In spite of all the disillusionments that she has endured, she has not lost her core belief in what teachers are supposed to do, what teaching is supposed to be, what the learning journey should feel like to a child.

  4. Dave F.

    I often think one of the greatest challenges to teaching children is inertia, and that another is extrapolation from one’s childhood.

    I was a Teacher Corps intern in the early 1970s, working in a rural high school as part of a teacher-training program. My ninth-graders read and wrote poorly — few books or magazines in the home, few role models, etc. I consulted with a master teacher at the affiliated teacher college, who suggested I have them write about their first sexual experiences.

    I didn’t follow that suggestion, but on my next visit to him I brought half a dozen 500-word essays I assigned on “The Dime.” He read them and had no further suggestions for me. (At least he didn’t resurrect the sexual-experience topic.) My hunch, then and now, is that my farm-family kids didn’t align with the professor-and-professional-family, college-town, model-school students he presumably worked with. He’d been comfortably placed (and probably tenured) for too long. Inertia.

    The extrapolation-from-childhood engine, I think, powers the thinking of many people, especially those not active in debates over things like NCLB. What’s the experience of the average American over 35 (not just the average, white, middle-class American over 35) for schooling? Classrooms with desks in a row, two-thirds of classroom talk in the form of directions or instructions from a teacher — the fill-the-vessel, hear-the-expert model.

    That might not be their actual experience — most people have had an exceptional teacher or two — but it’s the combination of the average and their notions about what was happening. In my current field of training and development, I see the same phenomenon: the notion that talking is teaching, that listening is learning. Anything that looks freeform, disorderly, individualize is highly suspect.

    Inertia. As Roger Schank said, it took 30 years to get the overhead projector out of the bowling alley and into the classroom.


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