Monday, November 12, 2007

What is the Role of a Teacher?

Are we to facilitate the lucrative test company's heavily lobbied NCLB law? Is my job to help children pass standardized exams? Exams that even the author's own children do not take? Am I being charged with creating a class of student who follow directions and complete tasks well without asking why? Is my job to remove any iota of critical thinking from my coursework?


Are we trusted as educators to do what is best for the students?

How can I sit back and give tacit consent to Regents exams, when I know they are only in place to maintain a class structure? Will the students forgive me for distributing a test designed to be a hurdle in their academic life? Will I be able to forgive myself for becoming part of the system that filters out large swaths of students? Will the students who fail these exams wonder why the school system based their entire diploma on a set of exams?

Can teacher's be conscientious objectors to the standardized testing process?

A colleague of mine visited Kohl's Department store the other day and saw a former student working behind the counter. The student and teacher were very excited about the meeting. The student was working very hard behind the register it was the start of the holiday shopping season.

"So, Bill how are you doing?" asked the teacher.
"I'm great, I think about you guys at QHST allot..." exclaimed the student.
"Where are you going to school?", said the teacher.
"I didn't graduate. I didn't pass the US history Exam...", explained the student.
The teacher only replied with an, "Oh..."

What are we doing to these students? How does this happen?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If the US History exam is the only barrier between him and a college education, then the best response you could have given him is, "What are you doing to ensure you retake and pass the exam?" He shouldn't give up or give in. He will face many obstacles in life, some more meaningful than others, but we all know that to sometimes the distance from point A to B usually ends up being the distance from A to Z.