NY Times: Confessions of a bad teacher

William Johnson, in his classroom

William Johnson, in one of his classrooms (Photo: Elisabeth Real for The New York Times)

From the New York Times:
I AM a special education teacher. My students have learning disabilities ranging from autism and attention-deficit disorder to cerebral palsy and emotional disturbances. I love these kids, but they can be a handful. Almost without exception, they struggle on standardized tests, frustrate their teachers and find it hard to connect with their peers. What’s more, these are high school students, so their disabilities are compounded by raging hormones and social pressure.

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One Response to NY Times: Confessions of a bad teacher

  1. MS. B March 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I read this article and felt as if I was reading about myself. I recently began to working at a comprehensive high school after working for 20 years with at risk students. What I noticed is that students and parents are willing to go to the administration to get a higher grade. Administration does not offer support. It seems that nowadays, school administrators are more concerned about PR than anything. If they scapegoat a few teachers ever year, they have someone to blame. I have worked hard these past couple years. My administrator, after an hour observation, has decided to choose me as his scapegoat. The day he observed me, the students were perfect, maybe too perfect. He dinged by stating that they were too quiet and didn’t seem to know what was going on.

    He has required me to meet with him every other work and now when I do meet with him I bring the union with me because I just don’t feel safe when meeting with him alone. He questions me over and over until I am not sure what he is asking. He uses education speak and doesn’t seem to know how to have a conversation.

    For the first time I despise my job, I can barely get up in the morning and I feel depressed. I am losing hope at possibly teaching until retirement. I also work in a very affluent community and the entitlement phenomenon is destroying our schools. Admin and parents are now more concerned with points earned as opposed to learning. Student rudely argue about points earned and admin supports this. It is a sad state of affairs.

    Thanks for your article.

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