Category Archives: Teaching

For the teachers

Don’t give up the fight, teachers.  It’s not just in Wisconsin that they’re coming for public workers like you.  Are you going to lie there and take it?

Many of you have lost your jobs at Montbello because of this hostile takeover.  Here are the numbers:

  • 2 out of 4 counselors
  • 6 out of 14 English teachers
  • 10 out of 19 math teachers
  • BOTH music teachers
  • 3 out of 5 P.E. teachers
  • 4 out of 10 science teachers
  • 5 out of 11 social studies teachers
  • 4 out of 10 special education teachers
  • 1 student advisor out of 2
  • 3 out of 5 world languages teachers

Are you gonna stand by and take it?  Click the “Hold Nate Accountable” button to the right, now.  Get involved.

AFT president on the truth about tenure

Randi Weingarten is the president of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the two teacher’s unions (the NEA is the other).  Here in Denver, the lion’s share of unionized teachers belong to the NEA (DCTA is the local affiliate).

This video is a great, easy-to-understand piece of information about what “tenure” really is, what good evaluation systems should do, and the overall state of the teaching profession in America.

Let’s get one fact straight, though.  “Tenure” is what university professors get as a result of publishing works and other value they bring to a higher education institution.  This is not the same as a union contract that basically provides due process and the rights to fair hearings before termination, etc.  K-12 teachers that are members of a union receive these basic workplace protections.  They do not receive immunity from firing, and in Denver, teachers can be terminated in as little as 90 days.  Their DCTA contract spells out the process for documenting deficiency, as well as a grievance process.

Anyway, here’s the video. Watch, then discuss in the comments section.

A Veteran’s Day story

This has been circulating around the Internet today, and it’s so nice, we thought we’d share it.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Back in September, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building  supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks. ‘Ms. Cothren, where’re our desks?’  She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the  right to sit at a desk. They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades. ‘No,’ she said.  ‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’  She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom. By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room. The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said,  ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) War Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall….. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned…. Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it’s  up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.’

By the way, this is a true story.

Please consider passing this along so others won’t forget that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by War Veterans.

You can’t fire your way to better teaching

We just listened to this radio documentary on national radio. The bottom line is you can’t fire your way to better teaching. Most teachers are satisfactory or above, but they can be much better through investing in their teaching through daily (non-punitive) coaching and collaboration. Also, poverty does matter, and so teacher experience.

Below is the link for the transcript.
http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/testing_teachers/transcript.html