Professional mediocrity encouraged? - ProTeacher Community




      
Home Join Now Search My Favorites
Help


      ARCHIVE


Professional mediocrity encouraged?

>

Reply
 
Thread Tools
First2no's Avatar
First2no First2no is offline
 
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 242
Full Member

First2no
 
First2no's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 242
Full Member
Professional mediocrity encouraged?
Old 06-23-2007, 07:01 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #1

I am going into my fouth year teaching and I'm wondering how many find their enthusiasm for meeting student's individual abilities, interests, and learning styles challenges the "status quo" of the teaching community? Is the teacher who steps outside the box, researching, investigating, and pioneering new and innovative programs, supported by his/her teaching peers or... is he/she viewed as "suspect" for not keeping in line with the an unspoken and accepted system of mediocrity?

Is this the "dirty little secret" of the teaching world? How often do teachers support each other's dedication to meeting individual student's needs? Is a teacher who aspires to more viewed as a threat to an established system?

District teacher evaluation forms rate top teachers, as "satisfactory" at best. Would we accept mediocrity from our highest ability students? Shouldn't we support higher levels of acheivement from our teachers, too? Do we really only want teachers to aspire to be "satisfactory?"

Just wondering...


First2no is offline   Reply With Quote

Lottalove's Avatar
Lottalove Lottalove is offline
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,508
Senior Member

Lottalove
 
Lottalove's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,508
Senior Member
It is not just teaching...
Old 06-23-2007, 07:48 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #2

There is an older book out there called "The Peter Principle" that basically says that all persons in a working hierarchy rise to the level of their incompetence. It gives the example that when someone does well at a given job, they get promoted. When do they stop getting promotions? When they no longer excel at that job! Are people then demoted to a previous level of competence? NO! They are allowed to remain at the level they are currently working in (the one they cannot seem to excel in)….Think about it…

Do I know teachers who seem to have given up? Unfortunately, yes. Those people are also in the minority at my school. And while some teachers would be disparaging of those who work outside the box, I would hope that they would be in the minority also.

If your post means that you are giving 110% or more and someone else is being ugly, I am sorry you are going through that. I encourage you to hold steady to the course. It seems you have your students' best interests in mind and they are lucky to have you.
Lottalove is offline   Reply With Quote
ecsmom's Avatar
ecsmom ecsmom is offline
 
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 6,423
Senior Member

ecsmom
 
ecsmom's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 6,423
Senior Member
mediocrity?
Old 06-23-2007, 08:03 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #3

I have been teaching a little longer. I don't think my colleagues would be happy to be considered mediocre. I do believe some of the teachers who have been around a long time feel that they have "mastered teaching" and don't feel the need to seek new methods. I have been in 3 grades or subjects so I am constantly searching for new information and ways to improve.

I don't think that my desire to improve has ever been perceived as threatening to my co-workers.

Do what makes you happy. Don't worry about what others think.

I will say that some find it suspect when a teacher goes to every workshop offered during the school year. By this I mean the ones offered on school days and requiring a sub. It can appear that he/she is just seeking time out of the classroom.
ecsmom is offline   Reply With Quote
HailGail HailGail is offline
 
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 264
Full Member

HailGail
 
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 264
Full Member
Another thought
Old 06-23-2007, 08:14 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #4

This is a very sensitive issue for me that still stings. I have many years experience yet still work at learning new and better ways to meet student needs. I had a partner teacher who was doing many outside the box activities but when I asked about how a particular math procedure was going, her reply was "oh I don't do that". Now we were part of a math curriculum that built through the grades and to just not do part of it impacted other teachers down the road. She did great teaching, but she didn't seem to respect the fact that she had a responsibility to the curriculum. Distrust grew so much from both sides that communication was nil. I still grieve for the part that I played in that, but she was so offended at my asking about curriuculum--and I'm sure I could have done it in a better way. She left--which became a relief for me, but it wasn't a good ending and I wish that we could have come to a better understanding for the good of the kids and the enrichment of our program. I don't thing that I am being "mediocre" and I do meet individual needs but I also feel accountablitiy of the program.
Gail
HailGail is offline   Reply With Quote
RebeccaF RebeccaF is offline
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 99
Full Member

RebeccaF
 
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 99
Full Member
Great Question!
Old 06-23-2007, 08:42 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #5

Thanks for your post - it really struck a chord with me. I teach at a very small private school and I've struggled with this same question for years. To me, it seems as though the teachers on my faculty who have been teaching for a lot of years have stopped trying to grow as teachers and I get so frustrated. Failures in their classrooms are always attributed to the students (not learning on purpose, of course) or to the parents, never to themselves. After several years of feeling like the odd man out on my campus, we finally hired a new teacher who has tremendous enthusiasm and joy and who loves to learn. She really saved me from my discouragement and beginning burnout. Thankfully, she teaches first grade and I teach K. It has been wonderful to have a partner who really gets it and who is willing to try new methods and ideas with me. Sometimes it just takes one person to reinvigorate you. If you are having this problem, I hope you will have at least one person on your faculty who can make things bearable.

The other factor that has really encouraged me, and helped me continue to grow as a teacher has been this website. Getting to hear the ideas and encouragement of all the great teachers on this board has renewed my faith in the teaching profession. There are a LOT of really great teachers out there - this site is proof positive - who continue to value their profession and who remain committed to the love of learning that we try to instill in our students.

It sounds like you are one of these teachers and I commend you. I am so grateful that you are out there bringing the joy of learning to our children. Keep up the good work!


RebeccaF is offline   Reply With Quote
teach & learn's Avatar
teach & learn teach & learn is offline
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,731
Senior Member

teach & learn
 
teach & learn's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,731
Senior Member
Hailgail
Old 06-23-2007, 08:50 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #6

Yesterday at a coaching workshop this discussion came up. The leader asked us to think about “the end results” more than the how. If data is showing that students are indeed learning the identified standards, how they got there and with what methods is not as important. Something positive must be happening if the students are making progress. An interesting thing to think about! She basically was stating that there isn’t one way to get there. Now on the other hand if the students are not making progress and are being cheated out of opportunities to required content, that’s another issue.

Regarding the initial post- in my neck of the woods, there is great focus on improving pedagogy and content knowledge of teachers to improve student achievement. For a long time though, mediocrity was accepted. It is a lot harder to hide now!! The trend is to get all staff members involved in supporting curriculum, including art, gym, and music.

I think many factors impact the reception the “movers and shakers” receive. I have seen it widely accepted and encouraged and the catalyst for improvement, but I have also seen it work the other way. Personally, when I was the new kid on the block (lots of years ago) with a mostly veteran staff, I ran into problems because I was thought to be overzealous with too much eagerness and enthusiasm for those that had liked keeping the status quo. I was just trying to teach the way I saw fit in my own room, but my administrator often referred to my work and results at every opportunity and that caused resentment. Her intentions were good, but I paid the price. It got so that I cringed if she mentioned me at any meeting. She even went as far to display my students’ work in the main office. It did blow over, especially as timed passed and others jumped on “the new teaching strategies” bandwagon.

teach & learn is offline   Reply With Quote
connieg's Avatar
connieg connieg is offline
 
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,415
Senior Member

connieg
 
connieg's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,415
Senior Member
you are perceptive
Old 06-23-2007, 11:05 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #7

Hi,

The kind of teachers who frequent this type of board are not who you are typically referring to. I have to admit that most of my colleagues only take courses to get a payroll increase or go to workshops if they get a day off. If you are enthusiastic, you are pretty much in the minority at my school. They do work hard, but if they know about new practices or best theories, they seem to be working very hard to hide it from their peers.

I agree we all just have to do what feels right for us. I love to share, but not when I am criticized to my face or behind my back for doing so!

Connie
connieg is offline   Reply With Quote
sla sla is offline
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 220
Full Member

sla
 
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 220
Full Member

Old 06-25-2007, 07:44 AM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #8

"Back in the day", when I was a new teacher, I thought of the older teachers as dinosaurs. However, as I "aged", I've witnessed that even teachers with less than 5 years experience can be "dinosaurs", or set in their ways. Mediocrity and excellence cuts across all age and experience levels. I remember one of my colleagues was a year from retirment and was still availing herself to professional development opportunities to improve her instruction. This was an inspiration and example for me. Without always learning and growing, the chance for "burn-out" increases. I was a coach in a large district and I saw outstanding, dedicated, teachers, and, unfortunately, those that seemed to be biding their time. My school is a mix. I think it is essential that we are free to discuss curriculum with one another without feeling threatened, but I think it is not always easy. If you are at a school where that type of collegiality occurs, then you are fortunate, and so, too, are the students.
sla is offline   Reply With Quote
tigmil's Avatar
tigmil tigmil is offline
 
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 656
Senior Member

tigmil
 
tigmil's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 656
Senior Member
Going the extra mile
Old 06-25-2007, 05:58 PM
 
Clip to ScrapBook #9

Thank you for your post. This has been a great discussion.

I figured out the other day that I will begin my 20th year of teaching with the new school year. I honestly don't know where the time has gone. Anyway, in my district I have found that sometimes it doesn't matter how many extra miles you go, you may or may not receive any recognition for it -- it depends on who you are. I am not a "horn blower" for myself. That's probably one reason I haven't received the recognition; but that is not why I try to go beyond mediocrity.

When I first went into teaching, I decided that if I ever reached the point when I thought I could not improve on what I am doing then it will be time for me to find another job. I can't say that every year has been outstanding. I still have a lot to learn about learning. I do, however, try to make each year a little better than the last. I do that by availing myself to staff development opportunities and keeping up with current research (IRA, NCTM, etc.).

Continue to grow in our great profession. Don't let the "status quo" workers get you down. Maybe they don't mind mediocrity and while that is sad for the students they teach, you can't let it bring you down. Hopefully, before you know it, you will be like me -- wondering just where did those 20 years go?
tigmil is offline   Reply With Quote

Join the conversation! Post as a guest or become a member today. New members welcome!

Reply

 

>
ARCHIVE
Thread Tools




Sign Up Now

Sign Up FREE | ProTeacher Help | BusyBoard

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:25 AM.


Copyright © 2019 ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.
source: www.proteacher.net