Friday, January 11, 2013

I Don't Understand

I need a little help understanding something. Explain to me why not all teachers want to teach? Let's clear up right off the bat I am not referring to ALL teachers. There are some amazing teachers out there. I have friends who are amazing teachers. My daughter has probably the best teacher I've ever seen in action in my children's public school career as well as my own experience as a student.

But let's face it, not everything and everyone are equal. Am I the crazy one to think that if a student doesn't understand a concept that the teacher should try and explain it another way? Isn't that what they are there for? And please spare me any talk about being too busy. If a teacher is too busy to teach then we have a real problem on our hands. It might mean the teacher and the student have to come in early, stay late, or meet during lunch. Gasp! Did I imply extra work? Shame on me.

But why, if a teacher has identified that his/her student is struggling with a concept basic or advanced that they wouldn't pull that student aside and say, "hey, Johnny, let's take a moment to go over this. I want to make sure you understand." Why is the teacher waiting for the student to say, "can you help me?" if the teacher already knows the student is struggling?  Does that make any sense? Not to me, it doesn't.

I can't tell you how this makes me crazy. Rest assured, I'm standing on my soap box right now yelling loud for all to hear. I want to hear what you have to say too. I really want someone to explain it to me so I can understand and as a parent I'm armed with knowledge to help my own children.


  1. Hi Stacey and happy new year to you and your family!

    As a non-teacher who is exposed to them pretty much every day and works with them in the trenches, please allow me to say that yes, teachers ARE very busy. Especially in our state, since Gov. Christie took office. Data, its documentation and NJASK/standardized tests have become the end-all, or so it seems. And let someone tell you they're not teaching to the test--please beg to differ. Finally, please understand too, that students aren't necessarily grouped by level, so that a teacher has to tier learning to address the needs of the highest and the lowest kids. (The exception, I think, is Honors classes, but that's another discussion.)

    On the flip side, most teachers took on the profession b/c they want to help and guide children in their learning process. Chances are, the one(s) you are upset about is(are) the exception to the rule, may have been there too long or have a lot going on outside the teaching job. Unfortunately, most workplaces--academic or not--have little to no care about people having/needing/wanting a life outside of 'the day job.'

    In our district, teachers are required to be available before or after school--many appear to be accessible at both times, except in my kids' schools. And communicating with them via email is pretty easy.

    Not sure though, how many require a child to stay after/before school. At the very least, I would hope a teacher would reach out to the parent. As the kids get older, I think it's more the parents' responsibility to be aware of what's going on, esp. if a virtual means of checking their grades, homework, etc is available online, as is the case in our district.

    Hope this helped!

  2. Hi Stacy - wow I can hear the yelling from the box out here at the shore! As a teacher myself I always go the extra mile to offer assistance to those in need. But to reiterate what the above post from Joanne mentions that is becoming extremely difficult during a normal course day due to the ever changing enviroment with state mandates, continued changes / demands for new curriculum to meet CCCS, data collection (yes that means state testing!), developing independence, differentiating to an ever changing student population, etc...

    At my district teachers are not asked to come before or after school because of busing and to be perfectly honest "parents" have no interest in juggling their schedules to meet their own child's academic needs. This ever changing home life with no regard for family values and hard work can be frustrating for many teachers who have ALOT of work and daily demands. This might mean a teacher taking a few minutes to re-explain a problem 1:1 then asking for additional practice and support at home. I firmly believe school and home should be a unified effort to produce a good citizen who feels socially and academically prepared.

    There many opinions on our educational system and teachers. Shame on the teachers who give the majority of teachers who are hard-working, dedicated, caring, and responsible teachers a bad image.

    Hope both your kids continue to thrive and grow!


    1. I'm glad you reminded me of a VERY important point I forgot, Lisa: the parent/home front component. I won't speak or judge parents. As a working one myself, I struggle every day with knowing what my 10th and 8th graders' work is supposed to be. Parent portal or not, keeping up with what they're supposed to be doing is work (and I get to bring home quite a bit of my own).

      My problem: the onus falls on the school. Agreed that the home/school effort should be a joint one but w/o the parents' support, the school shouldn't be penalized for poor performance.

      I'm a firm believer in the village helping raise the child.

      Just sayin'

  3. Hi Ladies and thank you for your responses. I love the dialogue. I completely believe in the parent/teacher relationship. I will support my children in anyway possible to ensure their academic success. To tellme there are parents who will not adjust their schedules to allow their child extra time at school is one of the saddest things I've heard. Having said that, I'm sorry Joanne, but I'll have to disagree with your statement, "the school shouldn't be penalized for poor performance." That's a cop out. It allows certain teachers and probably certain administrators to slip under the radar and not perform up to par. Teaching has got to be one of the hardest jobs out there and certainly one of the most important. Great teachers should be rewarded through compensation. The other ones should update their resumes.

  4. Stacey,

    I'm with you. If a teacher knows a child is not getting an idea, then that teacher needs to explain or teach it a different way or ask a colleague for suggestions if they don't know how else to help the child understand.

    My child is struggling in advanced math. She told me that when she asks the teacher to explain something again, the teacher explains it the same way. So when she still doesn't understand, the teacher gets annoyed with her. Her words, not mine. She goes in at lunch time for extra help. She has parent support at home.

    I find it sad that teachers are too busy to teach, just as I find it sad that kids are too busy with homework to have any family time or get enough sleep.