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The Deep-Seated Problems With Public Education

715777_historical_school-houseIn case you haven’t already seen it, this post of teacher misbehavior caught on cell phones from Dangerously Irrelevant has been making the rounds. I saw it on Seth Godin’s blog, of all places.

Seth’s assessment is that the teachers have a marketing problem. Cam Beck thinks the problem is deeper than simply marketing. He says that the public schools have a product problem. I think we may be getting at the core of the issue with that. It’s uncomfortable to address, but somehow it needs to be addressed.

Personally, I see it as a combination of the two. Many public schools have a definite product problem. Many teachers have a marketing problem. My assertion is that this has been the case since the first days of education. Cam also asserts that the public schools suffer from the same “free problem” that Seth so frequently addresses. The biggest concern to me with the entire system is a value problem. The students, and it seems just as often the parents, do not value the service we provide.

Fixing the produce problem and the marketing problem are immediate steps that can be done, fixing the value problem will have to take some time. It will not be an overnight fix, and I just don’t know if the system can be fixed short of a complete overhaul!

Just for fun, I thought I’d see if I could find some other interesting videos on YouTube. I came across this news report. I think this is the correct way to respond.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

4 thoughts on “The Deep-Seated Problems With Public Education

  1. I’ve wondered what might be seen if I were taped at the wrong moment. Like most teachers, I’ve had some moments I would like to take back.

    What horrified me was how many of these teachers do not seem to get the idea that you do not argue with a student. As a former colleague used to say: “Never wrestle with a pig. The pig enjoys it and you just get dirty.” That was the exact mistake I used to make as a new teacher.

    As I improved as a teacher, my line became, “I’m not going to argue with you. If you wish to discuss it further, I’m here after school and before school.” This eliminates the show and still provides an avenue for legitimate concerns.

    At the same time, I also cannot imagine classrooms like what I saw here. I’ve been shown blatant disrespect. I’ve been yelled at. I’ve had classes get rowdy. I’ve never had a class act like what I saw here. I can’t imagine teaching in a classroom where kids feel free to act this way.

  2. @Squirrel

    Sure we’ve all said stuff we didn’t intend to say. Heck, anyone who’s read my blog for the last two months knows that I have! (read more)

    You hit the nail on the head with your last comment. It’s not so much the teachers saying dumb stuff (we all do). The biggest concern here is that the teachers have somehow given the students an understanding that a culture of disrespect is acceptable in the classroom.

    I used to have that problem. I was fortunate I never did anything that I really regretted like fighting with a student or something. But I then learned that arguing is not normal. That kind of behavior wasn’t tolerated any longer.

    The thing is, none of these teachers looked like they were in their first few years of teaching. The problem is that they are simply out of touch with the students and with the reality of what is going on in their classrooms.

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