Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Open Letter to Teachers

 This is the second of a three-part series of open letters to the three most important stakeholders in our educational system: students, teachers, and parents.  All three of these groups play a vital role in the education of our children.

Dear Teachers,

       If students only knew how excited and anxious and thrilled and nervous and ... all teachers are as the first day of school approaches.  The first impression, the first lesson, the first assignment, the first words that a teacher utters on the first day of school--every second is precious.

       A teacher's role in the education of our nation's children is the most vital and influential component of our educational system. As a teacher, your abilities have more of an impact on student achievement than any other factor.  All of this importance (I know) puts a lot of pressure on you to do the best job possible everyday.

       And to add to these pressures--as you already know--teaching is a very difficult job.  Different students with different learning styles; some having good days and some having bad days ON THE SAME DAY; building positive relationships and teaching to the highest standards.  The demands on you are many.

       I want you to know how much I appreciate the work that you do.  The best of you strive to improve all of the time.  Teaching is the sort of profession that's hard to master.  There is always something more that you can do; more students that you can reach; better strategies that are more effective for more students.

       You also, at times, have to be the one who tells a student that he isn't reaching his potential--and I thank you for that too. We have to be honest with our students and we don't want them to have a false sense of accomplishment only to discover (perhaps in college) that they real do not have the abilities that they were told they had.

       I hope you will be a warm demander as a teacher this year.  That is, be the teacher with high standards who insists that students do their best everyday, and at the same time your students know that you care for them and will do everything you can to help them to achieve.  Students appreciate teachers who believe that they can be successful with difficult material.  Students don't want teachers who make everything easy and demand very little from them. This only tells the students that they aren't worth the effort to teach.  Help your students to engage in productive struggle in the classroom.

       To all of our great teachers, I hope you have the best school year ever!  We often say that our students are our future.  If this is true, than it is true that our teachers are the ones who shape our future.

Public Schools and Choice

       Is it true that public school kids and their public school parents don't have choices?  I'm sure that I will expose my igno...

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