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Athletes Can Share Their Political Views but Teachers Can’t

February 19, 2018

Laura Ingram is wrong about LeBron James. He, and all other athletes are entitled to give whatever opinion they want, whether it be about sport, art or politics. Just like plumbers, engineers and dentists, he can say whatever he chooses.

There is only one profession in which it would be a problem if they were to vocalise their political views – the schoolteacher.

It is not our job to fill impressionable young children with our politics, but rather to give them the tools to make their own observations and build their own understandings.

I don’t want my students to think like me, I want them to think according to their own value system and find their own place in the world.

So LeBron can say whatever he chooses … at least until he stops dribbling and trades his multi million dollar career for a teacher’s wage.

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In Defence of Private Schools

January 29, 2018

 

Private schools have been given a hard time of late and for no rational reason.

As a teacher, I desperately want our public schools to thrive. I’ve loved teaching in them and would happily go back if the opportunity presented itself. But to say that the failings of the public system is even in part to the existence of private schools is laughable. It holds no logic whatsoever.

In truth, private schools have a positive impact on just about every stakeholder in education.

I will now list them and explain exactly how and why.

 

Public Schools

The existence of private schools is beneficial to public schools? How can that be?

Easy. One of the big imposts on a public school classroom is class size. Public school teachers are already concerned by current class size numbers. Thanks to the continual popularity of private schools, public school class sizes aren’t even more compromised.

The innovation that takes place in private schools also has a strong trickle down benefit in public schools. To differentiate itself from other private schools, a given school will turn to innovation and experimentation to give their school an added selling point to perspective parents. From visible thinking and mindfulness programs to other cutting edge ideas such as open space classrooms, private schools will give anything a go. Some of these ideas are complete disasters and faze out within a year or two. Public schools have the opportunity to cherry pick ideas that work and steer clear of those grandiose, flawed ones.

 

Parents 

Parents are a vital stakeholder and when you allow parents to exercise their right to choose, you end up with a better system. Whilst it would be nice to give all parents this opportunity, it is still vital to create a system where there is choice available.

The fact that 41% of parents choose to send their child to a private secondary school suggests that choice is appealing and it also suggests that affordability isn’t as big an issue as many maintain.

As many of the private schools are aligned to religious institutions it helps to keep religion more or less out of the public school domain. This is a good thing for public school parents that want to get rid of religious instruction in public schools.

 

Students

The kids gets lost in all debates revolving around school and policy. Funny that! If kids want to go to private schools, and their parents are happy to foot the bill, why shouldn’t they get the chance?

 

Teachers

It is so disappointing that the Teachers Union are tacitly against the existence of private schools. It makes no sense.  Private schools make sure their class sizes are small, which means – more teachers. These teachers also have the opportunity in many cases to be better paid and have more flexible working hours.

Private schools are run differently, which greatly benefits the teacher. Private schools operate on a basis of easily quantifiable priorities – keep the parents happy, create positive word of mouth and help your students achieve. As long as you achieve these principles you know you are achieving. Public schools don’t have such an easily discernible metric for success, so teachers are often more confused about how well they are going. Often public teachers who are achieving those 3 principles will find themselves hassled by bosses and bureaucrats  over trivial and inconsequential things such as the style of planning documents they hand in.

 

Government

There’s a lot of resentment about taxpayers money being used to subsidise fancy rich schools. This subsidy is a brilliant investment. Whilst private schools get as little as $2,000 per student from the Government, public schools get an average of $12,000. The existence of private schools saves the Government over $6Billion from the budget. This is a massive win on their investment.

Meanwhile, that subsidy helps to keep fees at a level that some parents wouldn’t ordinarily afford, giving them the opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have. Parents that send their kids to private schools are characterised as rich, but that’s not usually the case. Many forgo family holidays, 4 wheel drives, big screen televisions and Foxtel to give their kids the opportunity to succeed at school. Many take on an extra mortgage and do multiple jobs. These people are heroes, not idiots. Anyone that goes the extra mile for their kids deserves credit.

 

Conclusion

Without private schools, public class sizes would expand, parent dissatisfaction would dramatically increase, many teachers would be out of a job, religion in schools would be ramped up and the government would lose their $6 billion worth of saving that could have been used to raise standards in public schools, public hospitals, raise welfare, increase immigration and assist the disabled.

Yet you want to knock them?

Trump’s Fake News Awards and Its Implications in the Classroom

January 18, 2018

The Trump fake news award sideshow has come and gone, and depending what camp you’re in it was either fabulous or a further indication of the man’s deep psychological issues.

Teachers are now more than ever encouraged to teach analysis of news in the classroom. Teachers are given the job of helping their students to identify fake news and find bias where it exists.

But this is a very problematic area for teachers.

Teachers are not allowed to promote or even subtly convey their own political allegiances. This presents a difficulty. Usually the fine line between fact and fakery is in the eye of the beholder. Someone of the right will not see the bias in a right leaning news story and vice versa.

I believe that whilst it is very important that our students have the tools to identify bias and fake news, we should refrain from pointing out concrete examples.

Give them the skills, but resist at all costs in taking on our own personal political beliefs.

 

Click on the link to read The Teacher Golden Globes

Click on the link to read Lawmakers Are Trying to Make School an Awful Experience for Kids

Click on the link to read Classroom Toilet Rules Turns Schools Into Prisons

Click on the link to read Hands Up if You Don’t Like Putting Your Hands Up

Explaining Hawaii to Young Children

January 14, 2018

 

Twitter is awash with jokes about Hawaii and the missile false alarm.

One can understand why. When a person tries to regroup from a near trauma, they go to comedy to help them manage the shock.

But there is one section of the population that wont want to make light of this episode – young children. The kind that I teach in Primary school.

They wont get the humor and will be perplexed (and often wounded) by the story if it isn’t explained in a discrete and careful manner. The worst thing in the world a parent could do is make light of it or laugh it off. That wont work for children.

The best way to deal with it is to explain that sometimes adults believe things that make no sense. That a missile is never going to hit Hawaii and adults were so surprised by the message that they lost all common sense.

But isn’t that lying?

I feel that this white lie is imperative. Children must have it reinforced that their homes are not going to be pelted with missiles. Not now. Not ever.

Jokes will enable adults to move on.

I worry about the children.

 

Click on the link to read The Death of a Student

Click on the link to read Explaining the Paris Tragedy to Young Children

Click on the link to read Some Kids Are So Brave! (Video)

Click on the link to read Guess What This Map Represents

How Education is Sexist Against Men

January 11, 2018

One of the biggest myths in education is that the lack of male teachers is being addressed.

This is pure rubbish.

Can anyone name me a strategy or policy that seeks to promote or incentivise the career to men?

You can’t? Of course not. None exists!

And for all the talk that there is concern about the lack of male teachers, the numbers tell a totally different story. Statistics clearly show a mark decrease in representation.

Between 1977 and 2016 we see a drop in male representation from 28.5 per cent to 18 per cent in primary schools and from 54 per cent to 40 per cent in high schools, Australia-wide.

Whenever a female gender gap in representation exists, such as in STEM courses at university level, scholarships programs have been instituted in the name of diversity.

But here’s the thing.

It is ILLEGAL for universities to give scholarships to men in areas where they are underrepresented! That’s right, illegal!

How is that fair? How is that not sexist?

Statistics indicate that the disparity will get worse. And who could be surprised.

Nobody seems to care!

 

 

Click on the link to read The Normalisation of the Stigma Against Male Teachers

Click on the link to read And You Say You Want Male Teachers!

Click on the link to read A Male Teacher Drought or a Great Teacher Drought?

Click on the link to read Double Standards on Gender When it Comes to Teaching

The App That Successfully Tackles Schoolyard Bullying

January 8, 2018

Good on you Natalie Hampton on your initiative. It takes some courage to take a painful situation and use it to improve the world.

How fabulous is this app!

 

“I was ostracized by everyone. I ate lunch alone every day. I was pushed into lockers. I was sent threatening emails,” said high school senior Natalie Hampton of California. “I was physically attacked three times in two weeks and I came home sobbing with bleeding red scratch marks.”

She eventually switched schools, but the memories of those years of torment stuck with her.

“So many people walked back and forth in front of my table and all I wanted to hear was ‘hey are you OK? Come sit with us,'” Natalie said.

Those four words, “come sit with us,” sparked an idea and eventually an app.

“If you go to the search tab, it gives you a whole list of the lunches that you can join in your school without any fear of rejection,” Natalie said.

She created the “Sit With Us” app — free to download, private to use. It connects kids in need of company with welcoming students.

The app now has over 100,000 users in eight different countries, giving Natalie a megaphone for her message.

She’s become an outspoken leader of the anti-bullying movement. She speaks at conferences and even gave a TED Talk.

The app, and its message to be inclusive, is inspiring other students like eighth grader Lola Clark. She created a “Sit With Us” club at her school since they don’t allow cellphones.

 

 

Click on the link to read There’s More Effective Methods than Simply Punishing Bullies

Click on the link to read The Best Thing We can Teach Our Students is to Love

Click on the link to read Bullying Victim Teaches His Attackers a Lesson!

Click on the link to read Horrific Bullying Attack Caught on Video

The Teacher Golden Globes

January 8, 2018

The nominations are in for the following awards:

 

Most Discrete Check of Facebook During a Lesson

Most Overdone Hanging Classroom Display

Best Aide in a Slightly More than Supportive Role

The Chiropractic Award for Longest Mat Session

Best Sledge Against a Photocopier with a Paper Jam

Most Food Ingested in a 2-Minute Lunch Break

Best Job of Living Just Above the Poverty Line

Acting award for the Teacher who Best Pretends to be Awake During a Professional Development Session

Most Coffee Consumed During a School Day

Biggest Purchase of Stationery by a Teacher Using Their Own Money

Most Repetition of a Basic Instruction

Most Creative Use of the 1-Metre Ruler

 

 

Click on the link to read Lawmakers Are Trying to Make School an Awful Experience for Kids

Click on the link to read Classroom Toilet Rules Turns Schools Into Prisons

Click on the link to read Hands Up if You Don’t Like Putting Your Hands Up

Click on the link to read Every Good Teacher Should be Allowed to Make a Mistake

Lawmakers Are Trying to Make School an Awful Experience for Kids

January 7, 2018

I cannot believe how stupid some policy makers are. Banning students from having best friends? Really?

I thought schools were supposed to prepare children for the real world.

Imagine if schools banned teachers from mixing with their favourite colleagues! Because don’t think for a second that teachers don’t operate in cliques just like their students do. Our students see double standards from a mile away, and any rule which prevents them from doing normal, everyday things that their teachers do, irks them no end.

The way to look after isolated and lonely students is not to save them by draconian laws that reduce the school experience for others. It is to invest as teachers in building their self-esteem and promoting them to the rest of the school community. You don’t need to impose bans to help these students. You just need to care enough about them to help them find their place in the school.

 

This idea sucks:

Members of the royal family aren’t often told what they can and can’t do. But just a few days into his first year of school, 4-year-old Prince George already faces a mandate: No best friends allowed.

Thomas’s Battersea, the school George attends, bans kids from having best friends, Marie Claire reports. Instead, teachers encourage all students to form bonds with one another to avoid creating feelings of exclusions among those without best friends.

Jane Moore, a parent whose child attends the school, explained the idea on a recent episode of the British talk show “Loose Women.” “There’s a policy,” she said, “that if your child is having a party — unless every child is invited — you don’t give out the invites in class.”

The trend of banning best friends has been growing for several years, and it’s spread beyond European borders to American schools as well.

 

Click on the link to read Classroom Toilet Rules Turns Schools Into Prisons

Click on the link to read Hands Up if You Don’t Like Putting Your Hands Up

Click on the link to read Every Good Teacher Should be Allowed to Make a Mistake

Click on the link to read Girls Banned From Running at Sporting Events

Every Teacher’s Greatest Ally

January 4, 2018

The most important ally a teacher can have is not their students, colleagues or Principal. They are all very important, but arguably the relationship a teacher has with the parents of their students is the most pivotal and indicative of success.

If you are blessed with kind, warm and supportive parents you have struck gold. If you get the opposite, you’ll find yourself reaching for the white flag.

A great parent just wants their child to be happy. They are keen to do whatever it takes to give their child the love and support required to see them succeed.

Our job is so much easier when we get to work with positive and proactive parents. Watching the clip above, I couldn’t help but think that hockey player Bobby Butler’s dad would be a dream parent for any teacher.

 

 

Click on the link to read Who Should Lead the Parent-Teacher Conference?

Click on the link to read Tips for Making a Parent-Teacher Relationship Work

Click on the link to read Sometimes It’s Worth Risking a Fight With a Parent

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Parents

Click on the link to read 5 Helpful Tips for a Better Parent-Teacher Conference

Why Teaching High School is a Career Mistake

January 3, 2018

 

If you are considering a career in teaching, and you’re weighing up between Primary and High School, I strongly urge you to choose Primary school.

The following are my reasons why:

 

1. Debunking the Myth – Most High School teachers say they chose the upper years because they felt the older kids would provide them with a greater level of sophistication, and the communication would therefore be more interesting and thoughtful. The implication with this theory is that the younger kids are babies and their teachers have to dumb everything down. This is patently false. I am constantly blown away by my students. They have great ideas, engage in wonderfully rich conversations and don’t require that condescending sing-song “baby talk” rubbish that a lot of teachers unsuccessfully employ.

2. Primary Teachers are Not Dumb – “You only chose Primary Teaching because your literacy and numeracy levels don’t extend past 6th Grade.” High School teachers seem to proffer this view, and sometimes they are right. But for the most part, Primary teachers chose to teach younger children after careful consideration.

3. Consistency –   One grade, all day for the entire year. That is the formula for success. Whilst a high school teacher tends to have multiple classes on their books, a Primary Teacher usually has one class that they can nurture and concentrate on. This makes progress much easier and gives the teacher enormous prominence in a student’s life.

4. They Can Change – The trick with teaching is to influence your students to make good decisions before the bad habits have been set in concrete. The problem with High School teachers is that it is often too late to change their students’ skill levels and attitude issues. They are already too far behind or too resistant to change.  Primary school students are far more malleable. You can turn them around and be the catalyst for improved results educationally, socially and behaviourally.

5. More Variety – High School teachers are forced to select one or two subjects only. That’s it for them. This can be get quite dry and after a few years, can become extremely repetitious. Primary School teachers teach everything. In a given day I can be teaching Maths, English, Science, Geography, History and Art. All with the same students! This variety is a wonderful thing for teachers who care more about helping children than what subject they are most attached to.

6. Laughter – The best classrooms are filled with laughter. High School classrooms with laughter often owes its amusement to a negative trigger such as sarcasm or teasing. Students are more likely to laugh at a teacher that with her at High School level. At Primary School level, good, clean, innocent humor is a must! The students always seem up for it and it can do wonders for both class and teacher.

 

So, my advice to all prospective High School teachers is to quickly make the switch before it’s too late.

 

Click on the link to read Funny Things Students Do and Say

Click on the link to read Dumb Politicians Shouldn’t be Calling Teachers “Dumb”

Click on the link to read The Courageous Valedictorian

Click on the link to read Meet the School They Call “Stinky School”


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