Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Kim Frencken: A few words about those in the trenches- the teachers

(The author of this post, Kim Frencken, taught for 20 years in the Joplin R-8 School District. Her Teachers Pay Teacher page featuring lessons and other items for teachers can be found at this link.)

What is wrong with education?

Ever heard the saying ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’? I think that would apply to education. We have too many giving out orders or coming up with new ways to do things, but not enough willing to put forth the effort. Guess who gets to do all the work in the trenches? Yep, the teachers. And, they get blamed for everything in the bargain. If a new program isn’t successful, it isn’t the one who suggested it that takes the heat. It is the teacher that didn’t have adequate time or training to implement said program. What about the student that is bullied? The teacher reports it, but administration ignores it. Who hears about it at parent/teacher conferences? Right again! The teacher.

And, what about those meetings? I’ve said it before (and I’m sure I’ll say it again), what is the point of having a meeting just to have a meeting?? And, yes, some schools are famous for these meetings. These are the meetings that could have been more efficiently handled in an email. Or, what about those meetings that teach you how to have meetings? I’ve sat through some of those, as I am sure that you have.

Do I dare say discipline? I’m feeling brave, so why not? Let me introduce you to discipline. Discipline is a fair, just consequence for an inappropriate behavior. The goal is to teach the individual that this type of behavior has negative results and will not help them succeed in the real world. Discipline teaches responsibility and accountability. Discipline is absent in most schools. Kids are running the schools. With no guidelines, no boundaries, no structure. Teachers are not supported. End result? Children attending school in an unstructured, unsafe environment with an unmerited sense of entitlement. Yes, a lack of discipline does result in an unsafe environment, both physically and mentally. Students need to realize that there are boundaries and they need the structure of discipline to function safely. Kids being kids is not always safe. Just think about some of the crazy things you tried as child!

And, since I brought up the dirty word entitlement, let’s run with that for a minute. Where did this sense of entitlement come from? When did the rules change stating has to win. I’m watching the World Series. The Royals won. Does that mean that the Mets will also be given a trophy since everyone wins and no one loses? How does that work? Why do parents support such thinking? They are setting their kids up for failure. Because…. In the real world there are winners and there are losers.

Maybe, just maybe, we should rewind the clock and start really preparing our kids for their future.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I hated those meetings about how to have meetings..... Horrible time sinks with no in class benefit for the kids.

Anonymous said...

I am assuming you are speaking only about Joplin schools, but identify which schools you are talking about. You are casting a negative light on ALL schools and administrators.

Anonymous said...

Things are not this way at all in my schools or most any other district I am familiar with. Perhaps this is the babbling of an old "veteran" burnout teacher who was to resistant to the ever changing world of education?

Randy said...

Those of you who teach at schools that do not have these problems should consider yourself fortunate. I have written many times about the problems Kim describes in her post and I have received numerous e-mails and messages from people telling me that what I am describing is the same thing they are facing in their schools. Wasted professional development time is an epidemic in our school systems and a lack of discipline is another common factor I have had described by many teachers. When you add the latest push to grade teachers based on how well their students do on poorly written, poorly conceived standardized tests, then Kim's description of the teacher being the one in the trenches becomes frighteningly accurate in far too many of our school districts.

ALANA MADDOCK said...

I'm sure there are many schools that do not have these problems but probably many more that do. I know Joplin schools do, particularly the one Kim and I worked at. The paragraph about discipline is right on. Letting a student get by with whatever they want is not teaching them how to really live in society. Our society these days seems to be going that way but it is the wrong direction. I know for my children they have thanked me for giving them boundaries. It helps them in situations that they don't have the maturity to deal with. Kim, I enjoy your blog posts!

Anonymous said...

You all mock the meeting on how to have a meeting. I work with individuals who do not have this skill. As a teacher, we should want to learn to get better. I am not administration, nor am I in Joplin. There needs to be balance, you are correct.

Anonymous said...

Stop whining and stop school bullying. Their future is in your hand. Don't screw it up.

Anonymous said...

@5:33 it wasn't A meeting about how to have meetings it was an entire series of meetings about how to have meetings. There was absolutely nothing during the meetings about how to improve our craft. It was literally hour after hour of being told how to have a meeting by some of the most condescending presenters I've ever sat through.

Anonymous said...

@8:12 & @9:15 Kim worked at East Middle School and she is not exaggerating or babbling. I transfered my daughter away from there as soon as I could. No support for the teachers is not an exageration it is an understatement.

Anonymous said...

The latest thing we did this year for our meeting times was to identify things that we see as being time wasters for teachers. It was very refreshing to be asked what we thought of the school environment. A welcome change from being told over and over what needs to happen they are now finally asking us!