Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Excuses!

Last week, I posted a question to the Education World Facebook page asking whether Ed World fans think U.S. kids need more time in school. Most of those who responded said "no." Apparently, very few teachers believe that lack of instructional time is the reason today's students aren't making the grade.

What is the problem then? A number of teachers -- a significant number -- blamed "the parents." Children today, they say, come to school lacking the knowledge and experience and skills and motivation of earlier generations; their parents are uninformed, uninvolved, unconcerned, and happy to pass the educational buck to their local school system -- which, it appears, is equally happy to pass it back. "How can we teach," they ask, "-- in 180 days or 240 days -- when parents are sending us students who are unprepared to learn?"

A good question, perhaps -- but a futile one. We cannot change the readiness of the students who are entering our classrooms today. We can, however, still teach them -- and hopefully, in the process, improve the readiness of future generations.

As a former classroom teacher, and as someone who will always identify as a teacher, I cringe when I hear teachers blaming their students' lack of readiness, their students' parents' lack of interest, their school administrators' lack of support...for their own failure to teach. The complaints might seem valid, but they only serve to validate the opinion of those who believe that most teachers enter the profession for the "bankers hours" and extended vacations. And, in the end, the blame game provides only a justification -- not an excuse -- for their students' lackluster academic performance.

Yes, teaching today is a different -- infinitely harder -- job than it has ever been before. Many of today's students are less prepared, less motivated, less supervised, less supported than any previous generation. In many cases, you are all they have. If you're not up to the demands of teaching as it is today, stop complaining, step aside, and leave the job to those who are. It might be your students' only chance to succeed.

Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment