Over the last three years in my position as an eLearning coach I have been to more than 1000 different teacher team meetings. I have shared with them many tools and great ways to incorporate eLearning into their classrooms. I absolutely love my job and am passionate about the changes that are taking place and that still need to happen in American Education. I am dedicated to working with teachers and helping them figure out the best methods to engage their students. In the process I have also heard thousands of conversations that teachers have every single day. So what do they talk about?
It may be a big surprise the public, but the teachers I work with are fervent about getting their lessons across to their students and raising test scores. They aren’t people who just put their time in during working bankers’ hours with their summers off. Most are at school way before it starts, while others stay long after the school day ends. Even when they go home, they are still grading papers, answering emails, planning lessons, updating websites, communicating with parents, and some even spend time with groups of students on the weekends. Professional developments and conferences are usually attended during the summer.
I was listening to a Talk Radio news update about how America’s top students didn’t even make the top 10 compared to other countries that took a comprehensive set of international exams. The media rails on American Education constantly. In fact Huffington Post put out this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/03/us-test-scores_n_4374075.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000010 and called American Education embarrassing. I would be interested to know the details about how these tests were administered and evaluated. Society seems to automatically take the media for their word and thinks, “Well, education in America must just be awful. It’s them teachers’ fault!” I will stand behind my district and say, “If it really is failing, it is not the fault of the teachers and administrators that I work with in Evansville, Indiana. “ I cannot think of a more dedicated group that wants to do well and cares about the students. These principals, coaches, and teachers go above and beyond to create an inviting and safe environment that is conducive to learning.
I believe it is time to let educators do what they know is best and not let education be dictated by politicians with their fixed school grading systems, testing, and standards. It is ruining education and the creativity of teachers and students. It is narrowing the subject matter that is being taught to only what is believed to be the essential skills by the standardized test makers. Who are these test makers? They are nothing more than textbook companies that are trying to stay afloat because schools aren’t buying textbooks anymore due to the digital shift.