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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Veteran ELA teacher says Engage Duval is ridiculous at best

From a reader

Engage Duval is ridiculous at best. No regard to developmental readiness, learning modalities, age appropriateness, UBD, infusing the arts into learning and much more that those of us who've been teaching a while have known to be best practices are pretty much void from most teachers plans.

Learning "guide"? Um, guide means just that, a guide not a dictated document. Yet, teachers are interrogated about what page their on at any particular time. That's not guiding, it's dictating.

Low teacher morale - that's an understatement. Rip away our autonomy and micromanage us to death with more paperwork and over testing than ever and then be amazed that teachers are unhappy, stressed, worn out, and wanting to leave their chosen careers? Really? How is it possible that those of us who began our careers 2 and 3 decades ago were able to help students learn and grow without any curriculum or with true, not micromanaged, guides and objectives along with the autonomy to do what we knew worked with our group of kids?

When I started my career as a brand new teacher recruited to teach from rural Indiana and thrown into inner city Jacksonville I had no curriculum yet was expected to get 33 third graders with no para - professional to be proficient (70%) at a battery of IMS objectives for math and communication - i.e. Language Arts - while promoting an understanding of grammar, spelling, cursive handwriting, basic math facts, 2 areas of S.S., and health. Students were to be ready for the E.S.T. assessment in the spring, but it wasn't as "high stakes", or didn't feel that way then, as the stresses teachers, students, and parents exhibit now.

How was I successful at moving students in a low socio-economic/Title I (and I detest those and other labels) many with poor home conditions, poor conduct, poor hygiene, and emotional issues a long with no curriculum back then? Just a side note, two of those little North Shore Elementary third graders graduated college to become a district TOY candidate several years ago and one is currently an AP. Not to forget that one of those little boys is a successful business owner. How did we make it then? What's different now? I'm thinking many of you know those answers.

1 comment:

  1. This! A thousand times this! I am a graduate of Duval County schools. I'm a productive member of society, as are many of my friends and my brother as well. We had holiday parties, thematic units, and much less testing and guess what? We turned out fine. School was fun to me. I try my best to do that for my students and I hope they sense it.