Grumpy Words

August 29, 2008

English teachers to blame?

Filed under: Uncategorized — grumpywords @ 12:37 am
Tags: , , ,

Confession: the first time I visited my older sister’s fourth grade classroom, I wondered if I’d made a mistake by not majoring in education in college. I paced her carefully decorated room with its high windows and deep closets, its blackboards and tiny desks and bookshelves, and though, “Crap. What am I going to do with this English degree?”

Suffice it to say, I love teachers. I still keep in touch with some of my high school and college professors, and I know they have an extremely tough – and usually underpaid and undervalued – job. So when I came across this article in the Washington Post, I posted it to my facebook, and immediately got some reactions. 

Essentially, the writer is saying that the constant and unchanging tests, stock writing assignments, and focus on book trivia has taken the love out of reading for students. I can see her point. I’ve been a devoted reader since second grade, and even I would sometimes roll my eyes at the multiple choice tests (what’s more important: grasping the themes of Gatsby, or memorizing what happens in each chapter?) and standard essay questions. But I worry that this article blames the teachers a little too much. And considering teachers already get all the blame for most things that go wrong with students, I’m not ready to jump on board with this, too.

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1 Comment »

  1. yeah, teachers get way too much slack from everyone (students, parents, administration) for everything. if they follow the curriculum as handed down from the higher powers at be – they get shit from the students’ parents or the students themselves complaining that “this class sucks,” when the teacher can’t really do anything about it. if the teachers step out of line, then administration starts sitting in on classes to make sure they’re following the curriculum. i’ve had many teachers that have expressed their desire to throw the “what color was the light at the end of the dock?” quizzes away and just have in-depth class discussion everyday. but they said they can’t because they have to produce tests and quizzes that get the “okay” from the higher ups. i imagine it’s quite stressful and that you just can’t win.

    Comment by angiesyounglover — September 4, 2008 @ 5:59 pm | Reply


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