Friday, February 8, 2013

C4T Post: February #1

C4T Feb 7th:

My first C4T was originally assigned for a teacher whose website crashed so I am a week behind and trying to catch up. I was reassigned to "Teacher Tom" whose posts I am super excited to read just because of his opening page. He has a picture of himself in a superhero outfit. Now this guy has got to be an awesome and fun teacher. And to top it off, he teaches preschool!
The first blog post of his that I read was called "Students Refuse". This post is about a high school in Seattle that requires their 9th grade students to take a standardized test, called the MAP, that measures material not yet covered in their classes. As the teachers refused to give the test last month, claiming it wasted time, money, and resources, many parents and students have stood by their sides in a boycott. Teacher Tom expressed his opinion on the matter and how he is proud that the teachers in Seattle will take such a bold stand for the education of the students. He said that secretly the test is used as an evaluation of the teachers and is used for determine pay and promotion which even the makers of the MAP test say should NOT be done. Though all the teachers, parents, students and Teacher Tom are very passionate about this issue, authority rules. The superintendent has made all the teachers take 2 weeks without pay and forced all the students into taking the test. Needless to say, there are many people who are not happy!
I told him about the EQTs that schools are making the students take now and how crazy they are. They leave students behind rather than keeping them all together. Teachers loss focus of actually teaching the students a good quality lesson and focus on having them memorize facts for their EQTs.

C4T Feb 8th:

The next post that I read of Teacher Tom's was called, "Yeah, but it's not broke." This is a post that he said he wrote over a year ago but decided it was due for a renewal. I am very glad that he did re-post it so that I got the chance to read it. It touched my heart a little. And the story goes like this: Teacher Tom brought in 3 air pumps onto his preschool class one day and laid them on the table. Without telling the students what they were or for what they were used, he told them they could play with them. They quickly figured out on their own how to use them and began blowing air on each other and laugh and playing with them. Some used them as light sabers and others to make bubbles in the fish tank. Then Teacher Tom noticed that one of the pumps was not producing bubbles into the water and announced that that specific one must have been broken. Then one of the students spoke up, saying, "Yeah, it's not broken. That's what a light saber is supposed to do!"
If this doesn't get you thinking then i don't know what will. It's amazing to me to think that just because something doesn't serve the purpose that we think it should that it is useless. These 4 year olds teach us a different lesson. Sometimes they teach us more than we could teach them. He also mentioned this line in his post, and I want to end by quoting it because as teachers, I think we all need to hear it.

"I've written here often that I'm not all that concerned about what the children learn. From among the infinite bits of trivia that comprise our existence, who am I to choose what becomes permanently stuck in their brains and what has to be looked up later in life on the internet? No, my primary concern is that they develop the habits of inquiry and exploration: not that they learn, so much as that they think."
-Teacher Tom

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