kate in b’more

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 26 2008

but you only need 45 minutes…

in a recent achievement team meeting at my school (all teachers must be on a team) we analyzed benchmark data. i chose the achievement team back in august because it is what i care most about- are the students achieving?

when we analyzed this test data, want to know what knowledge i walked away from this meeting with? two things.

one- i either a) am not so effective at teaching english or b) my students have had years of lack of high expectations which have left them putting little or no effort into benchmark tests and even achieving at all (though they CAN do it). knowledge? probably a little of both

two- a representative from the school district was present at this meeting. when she found out i was only certified to teach social studies, she jumped on that as a “root cause” to why my students are achieving at low rates on the city benchmarks. but thats not my new knowledge. she then went on to tell me that next year, i ought to only be teaching social studies. and of course, as other schools do, only teach them social studies FOR FORTY FIVE MINUTES A DAY. i know, it’s not tested. i know, it might make sense to you. but hear me out:

if we continue to put social studies (history, government, economics, geography, psychology, anthropology, and general civics) on the back burner of our educational system, we are going to continue to produce citizens with very little knowledge of how the world works, of how to actually become a contributing, SUCCESSFUL human being. we complain so much in this country about our low voter turnout. but what do you expect when we give our students at most 45 minutes a day of education in WHAT voting is, WHY it is important, WHEN it occurs and HOW it effects change is and is our ONE GUARANTEED CHANCE to make a difference in the course of human history.

so why do i get angry? how can we expect to “achieve” with our students (which to ME means creating educated, thoughtful, engaged citizens) when we give them 45 minutes on where they as people, as a country, and as a world are coming from?

that’s my rant of the day. now back to completing hopkins homework.

One Response

  1. Alison

    You’ll probably be interested in this: http://theboard.blogs.nytimes.com/?hp

    Also…would you be willing to chat a bit over email about teaching and TFA in Baltimore? My boyfriend and I are in PHX but he’s from there and we might try to transfer for family reasons. I think you can click on my name and link to my email, but if not, I’ll check back here and post it if necessary.

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a child miseducated is a child lost

Middle School
Social Studies

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