Thursday, October 15, 2009

Working Myself Out of a Job

In Job Security No More…… from Tech Thoughts By Jen , JenW states,

“You see – for many many (too many) years …I was the holder of all tech wisdom. (100% mostly for my gratification and my ego). The false sense of pride of being the “techie know it all” not only alienated and limited my staff but also was selfish to myself and the burden I placed upon myself…because of my unwillingness to share the information.

So now I am consciously striving to put myself out of a job.”

I think as a special education teacher, that is what my main purpose is – I need to work myself out of a job. I need to teach students skills so that they can be independent and not need teachers like me. Here are some of the things I need to do.

Over the years I have heard about whole language approach and other reading approaches and have followed the debate. Everyone has their own opinion on what works and what doesn’t. I really believe in phonics as a key to reading. I need to teach students decoding skills so that they can figure out words they don’t know when there is no one to ask.

I’m not sure students really understand all the things we have them read. Too many times I remember being told to read pages of text and then the teacher goes over it in class. I don’t think I was expected to really comprehend what I read as much as I was expected to spit back what the teacher told us. I need to teach students comprehension skills so that they are doing more than just reading words.

I hear students repeat things they have heard on TV about political candidates and I wonder if that is what they really believe. This is a good way they don’t have to think. They don’t have to sift through the facts or make a stand themselves. They need to learn how to make good decisions by evaluating what they have learned. I need to teach students who to think critically and not just believe everything they read or watch or hear.

What happens when these students get out of school into the real world? Who will be there to hold their hand and guide them every step? What if they change jobs or are given a promotion and need to know more? I need to teach students how to research for information to want or need and how to know that the information they find is valid.

Many of my students have been ridiculed for many years because of their learning difficulties. Before they have been labeled with a disability, they probably have been called lazy or inattentive by parents and teachers. This has caused many to draw inside themselves and keep their social skills from developing the way they need to. It is hard for them to work with others because they are always waiting for rejection that they have come to expect. I need to teach students how to work with others so that they can function in society.

If I work myself out of a job, I will know that I have given my students a chance to be successful in life. I know it's a fantasy but it's a nice one!

Original image: 'Lonely in golden place!' by: Khalid Almasoud


sabridv said...

Totally agree. It should be the aim of all the teachers. But how hard it is to put into practice. Sometimes we tend to forget that we should let our students make mistakes, we should let them take control of the class, we should let them choose the topics they want to discuss, we should guide them through their learning but we are not the "know-it-all". We can also learn a lot from our students if we let them "teach" us. If we give them some space to take control of their own learning.

B00KW0RM said...

that is a very good way of putting a concept they are teaching future teachers in colleges and universities today. if we all were to try and give students the tools they need to be successful without us there guiding them, i believe we would have more students graduating and going to higher learning. our students would be successful and isn't that the goal of every teacher?

Evan said...

I am confortable with the concept but never heard it put this way: "I need to work myself out of a job." I agree whole-heartedly with most of what you say. Allowing kids opportunities to succeed and make mistakes is essential. It's going to be a reality after they leave high school, so we need to teach them how to work through those situations before they leave.
I teach inclusion classes and become very upset when other teachers, parents, or the students themselves tell me that they can't do something. This leads teachers and parents to never allowing theses students to learn skills that they can successfuly perform on their own. That needs to happen before they leave school.
My father-in-law, who owns an auto repair shop, recently had a young man who just graduated high school come to work for him. It was the most upsetting situation for me. He was a graduate of my school and could not perform simple task well or keep track of his time clock for lunch or breaks. This needs to end.