Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kim Frencken: The things that some schools are getting right

Do you know what is right with education?

There are a lot of things that seem to be going wrong in education, but there are still things that some schools are getting right. Things like schools that still teach spelling and the fine art of handwriting, administrators that aren’t afraid of getting out amongst the kids, or schools where respect is still expected. What about the kid who loves to go to school to learn and the teacher who loves to teach? Or the sound of laughter on a playground? 

 There are teachers that are getting it right. The teachers who give 110%. I never believed that you could give 110% because 110% didn’t exist. One hundred was as high as it went. But, I was wrong.  So many go out of their way to make that connection, to make sure that they are doing everything they can to help their students succeed. They spend their own money, work for free, and carry the burden of their students with them long after they have left the classroom.  And, they have the trait of still knowing how to be a kid.

And, let’s not forget those administrators that treat their teachers like professionals. Administrators that know how to lead and know how to follow. The ones that aren’t embarrassed when they don’t know an answer, and have the confidence and courage to admit when they are wrong. The administrators that stand up for kids, even if it means standing up to parents.  Administrators that tackle the tough problems, but never let you know how tough it is.

I’m sure there are still some districts that put kids first, while supporting their faculty and staff. They understand the fine balance between teaching and learning and testing. Their staff is happy and appreciated and their community is supportive of their schools.

Sometimes, we focus on the negative and forget about all that is going right. Teachers do want change and unless you are a teacher, you won’t understand that. It isn’t about higher wages or shorter days. It is about respect and professionalism and doing what is best for kids.  You see, at the end of the day, that is what it is all about. 

(Kim Frencken taught 20 years in the Joplin R-8 School District. You can find her Teachers Pay Teachers page at this link.)

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