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riko riko is offline
 
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riko
 
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Class Environment
Old 07-11-2019, 02:27 PM
 
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The other day, the P sat down and joined a small group of us as were talking. Somewhere in the conversation he said he'd rather have a teacher who may not know a lot of pedagogy or strategies, test scores not the highest but whose students are happy, rather than a teacher who knows much, has great scores but who gets a complaint every now and then that a student doesn't want to come to school. He wasn't directing his comment to anyone in particular but it gave me a glimpse of his thinking. Hmmm....because I'm more in the latter camp, I should step back, be less structured so all students are happy. He pretty much said test scores don't matter as long as kids are happy.

That sure makes my job easier next year. Just keep them happy. Don't want to listen? okay, I'll move on to the next student and won't push you. Didn't finish your work because you were playing and given many reminders? Okay, I'll just calmly let it go. Not progressing, but you're happy? Okay! Wonderful! I know I'm being sarcastic but really, it'll be a major mindset shift for me next year trying to balance this and student accountability. I can probably start off like that but don't know if I can last.


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Old 07-11-2019, 02:35 PM
 
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I don’t think that’s necessarily what he means and I wouldn’t take it that way. If what you’re doing works for you then keep doing it. Kids who are challenged and in a structured environment are generally happy. Kids who are allowed to get away with murder are generally not happy.

I think what he meant by “happy” was kids who are treated with respect and a classroom where community is built. You can have both happy kids and high expectations.

I also feel like you’re taking a general comment personally. Unless something has happened that you didn’t talk about I don’t know where you think you need change everything you’re doing.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:28 PM
 
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I think GreyhoundGirl is probably right on the money.
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Happy students
Old 07-11-2019, 07:21 PM
 
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Listen to greyhoundgirl. She has said it quite succinctly.
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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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Ditto
Old 07-12-2019, 03:39 AM
 
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What they said... What I am hearing is that learning doesn't have to be drudgery.


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Old 07-12-2019, 07:52 AM
 
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Another part of the principal's comments is probably a belief that students who are happy and enjoy being at school are more likely to have a positive attitude about learning. In the long term that results in increased learning and possibly higher test scores.

Creating a positive environment in the classroom doesn't mean no standards, no rules, just fluff. It's more a matter of respecting, liking, and encouraging students, rather than criticizing or focusing on shortcomings.
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MissESL MissESL is offline
 
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:11 PM
 
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I can see his comment hit a sore spot for you, but I’m not so sure it was meant to. It seems like a general comment that you took just a bit too much to heart.

He has a great point - test scores aren’t everything. Further, I really think “happy” students make more gains, because they’re engaged and owners of their learning.

“Happy” doesn’t have to mean they do whatever they want and spend their days in utter chaos. It could mean they’re educationally satisfied. That they’re learning, engaged, exploring.

I hope these perspectives from other posters have helped you. :-)
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:31 AM
 
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Riko, I'm going to be the contrarian. I don't know what was going through your principal's head, but I think your suspicions might be correct.

Principals are in a no-win position. They are expected to produce good test scores, but at the same time, they're expected to keep parents and students happy. I was recently made aware of a situation involving a sincere and conscientious principal who is well-liked by staff members. The problem: the administrator is not an outgoing people-pleaser. About a year ago, the principal was called on the carpet by a superior because some parents had complained. I don't think the complaints had much validity, but that doesn't seem to matter these days.

During my long regular teaching career, I always tried to keep students accountable. I was generally successful, but there were a few times when my efforts were undermined by administrators who wanted to keep complaining parents happy. Parents and administrators say they want high standards for their kids, but the truth is far more complicated.

This discussion reminds me of a time in the early 90s when my district hired a new superintendent who was a numbers guy. He issued a directive saying he wanted to see an increase in student achievement, and he planned to measure success by seeing higher grade point averages. Teachers asked if they were expected to inflate grades, and the official answer was no. You can probably guess the result. Grade point averages increased, but achievement didn't.

My advice is to keep your high standards. Don't lower your expectations, and keep your classroom well-structured. At the same time, try to put on a good act. Smile, and tell the principal you have a wonderful class. If you have an open house for parents at the beginning of the year, try to find a quick and fun activity that will put smiles on their faces. Here's something else you can try: start the day or class period with a brainteaser or riddle. I know a few teachers who do this, and it seems to work very well for them.

Last edited by c6g; 07-13-2019 at 10:18 AM..
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