Teachers are the most abused, disrespected, stressed and tortured souls out of all great professions! Good teachers must be globally educated, pass a mountain of examinations to be certified and endure abuse from administrators, parents and students. They are expected to help students who are way behind to catch up, manage severe behavior problems, prevent bullying in their classroom and diagnose signs of learning disabilities.
There are a lot of factors that hinder the academic skills and test results of our kids in failing districts today. We’ve heard them for years: inexperienced administrators, incompetent teachers, poor funding, lack of parental involvement, student violence and bullying, out dated textbooks, large class sizes and the list goes on. Dr. Catherine Snow, reading and literacy researcher, reports that failing and minority school districts tend to have ineffective administrators and teachers.
Most of the research on repeating grades shows that grade retention doesn’t work nor facilitate learning for struggling students! A meta-analysis by Jimenez in the early 2000’s compiled numerous studies leading to this same conclusion! However, many school districts engage in this practice out of sheer desperation and a need to feel that they are actively addressing the problem of poor academic performance. Current research also maintains that keeping students back due to immaturity proves futile.
I am very tired of people who do not work in education, follow trends in education, cover topics in education, research education and get involved in education in their community, blaming teachers for our poor education system! In most states, principals supervise non-tenured teachers over a three year period! That is certainly enough time to assess whether a teacher has the skills needed to be effective. However, many principals don’t have the skills themselves to assess teachers. They tenure teachers who have no parental complaints, have lesson plans done and come to work on time.