Wednesday, April 15, 2015

American Teachers Have It Tough Too

In American vs. Kazakhstani Teachers: A frustrated PCVs point of view from Janet Given's Blog, Janet Givens shares,

“American teachers have students who are, generally, prepared. If not prepared, they’re at least capable of doing the work. And if they’re truly not capable of doing the work, the teachers have some recourse: they can fail them, give them an Incomplete, or at least a Saturday detention — something. There’s always something they can do; that’s the American way.”

I disagreed with this tremendously and it took me a while to wrap my head around this in order to write about it. Maybe this is a case of “the grass is always greener on the other side.”

American teachers have it hard too. We cannot just fail them if we think they didn’t earn the grade. We face administrators who face the school board who face the voters. School is a very political atmosphere whether we want to admit it or not. Teachers who fail students face the judgment of others that they didn’t do their job. Incompletes just mean more work for the teachers. Saturday detentions are not always an option and many times if it is, it can only be used for absentee problems or are not very effective.

I can’t say I know what it is like to teach outside of America but I think teachers globally face individual challenges that can’t be compared. Students have unique differences and come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. There may be many similarities but there are also many differences. As teachers we need to teach the individual student according to their needs.

I know when I first started teaching my students had no textbooks. My husband and I climbed in dumpsters in order to get discarded textbooks for my students. My students always got the oldest equipment and were thought of last. Over time, this had changed and I’m glad. But I still hear that there are schools in my state that are lacking equipment and supplies to meet the needs of our students.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t be comparing who has it harder. What we should be concerned about is that any student who wants to learn should be allowed to accomplish this goal. And teachers should have the basic equipment and supplies that they need. But if the students aren’t prepared for whatever reason, we (society, parents, and teachers) need to figure out what it will take to motivate these students to get prepared and be motivated to learn.

How do you feel about this? Please share.

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