Positive things about schools and teachers - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've noticed in various threads that it is common to hear 'teacher bashing' and some negative generalisations about public schools and teachers. (Meanwhile, any hint that could be taken as being a criticism of homeschoolers is leapt upon fairly swiftly.)

I always feel surprised when I read negative generalisations about schools and teachers. I imagine this is just the same as homeschoolers feel if they feel that they are being criticised. The way I see it, there are great teachers, good teachers, OK teachers, and some bad ones. There are great homeschoolers, good homeschoolers, OK homeschoolers, and some bad ones.

This is just an observation, but why is it generally seen as acceptable to make negative comments and generalisations about the p/s system and its teachers? I often feel that I am leaping to the defense of the system and trying to point out what is good about it, but it would be nice to more often have some company! I know there is plenty that needs improvement, but there is also lots that is good. And a lot of professionals are working very hard to bring about those improvements.

I love to read something positive about a teacher or school here - I always recall a thread about a wonderful letter sent by a Kindergarten teacher.

Can we hear more? What great things did your children do at school? What great work did the teacher do? What good experience did your child have?

I guess if this thread dies, I will know that I am truly alone.
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#2 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 05:23 PM
 
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I loved Delia's preschool teacher, and I really think there are some dedicated teachers at the little public school she attends. Just not her kindergarten teacher.
And I think it's the unreasonable/bad ones we remember. Plus, I feel like "educational reform" has saddled so many teachers with such crap to do that they can never do their jobs...

The lady in the front office is my Delia's angel, as is the librarian, a former K teacher who clearly loves kids...
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#3 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 05:28 PM
 
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Hi. I'm new here, but I taught preschool for a year and plan on sending my ds to public school when the time comes. Also, when all of my (future) children are in school I plan on returning to teaching, hopefully Kindergarten or 1st grade in a public school.
I don't think I was/am a great teacher, but I'm certainly not a bad one either. I cared for all of my students and tried my best to met their individual needs. I worked w/ some excellent teachers, and a few not so good teachers as well, however I believe that the majority of teachers really do love kids - otherwise they wouldn't go into teaching.

Sarah : , mama to Lucas (8) , Ryan (5) : , Andrew (1yr) , and someone new : due early Dec.
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#4 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 05:58 PM
 
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Thanks for starting this thread, Britishmum!

My fourth grade dd has a wonderful, wonderful teacher. This is her first year as a teacher so she is young and enthusiastic. At the school's "back-to-school" night, she described her background: she went to the same nurturing private school (in Chicago) from K through high school and then went to a good liberal arts college in New England where she majored in Anthropology and Environmental studies. She traveled around the world after college and ended up in my city working as a gardener at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. After volunteering in the public schools here, she realized that teaching was what she wanted to do, and voila: she's now a teacher. She is very bright and works hard to keep the classroom atmosphere nurturing. Put-downs of any kind are not allowed.

My dd is extremely stubborn and willful as well as being very introverted. This is the first teacher that dd has really warmed up to. I was shocked to hear, at my parent-teacher conference, that my dd has a flair for dramatics. Apparently the class does some dramatic activities to help them learn history and dd excells in these. In previous years, dd would probably have refused to cooperate. I could go on and on about this teacher. All the other parents in this classroom love this teacher as much as I do. We are so lucky to have her!

I could post a lot more about other wonderful teachers that my children have had. (I have 3 in ps right now, and we've seen a lot of teachers.) Honestly, we've had a couple of mediocre teachers, but never a bad one.

And as for pubic schools in general, we've been very lucky to live in a good school system. It's not perfect--I recently learned that in last year's high school graduating class, there were only *3* graduates who lived in housing projects. This means that the vast majority of children living in housing projects drop out of school before graduation. Despite this, I feel like we get an enormous ammount of personal attention. My oldest child (5th grade) goes to a school with over 600 hundred children and yet, after only the first week or so, the principal recognized me by sight and knew who my child was. He hosts regular "principal chats" in which any parent can come and discuss their issues with him. At the last chat that I attended, all the parents questions were answered thoughtfully and completely.
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#5 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 06:58 PM
 
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Molly started kindergarten this year. I was very worried about the whole thing especially because of her dwarfism. Her teacher has been awesome!! This woman actually took hours of her personal time to visit dwarfism related websites learning about Molly's condtion. She also researched several adaptive devices that she is having the principal order for the school (this is above and beyond Molly's IEP) Yet although she has made herself knowledgeable on dwarfism and Molly's well being in the classroom, she doesn't focus on it and treats Molly just like any other student.
Molly goes to school everyday with a smile on her face and great excitement about "what we'll do today"
This teacher is one year away from retirement and acts as fresh and new about it all as if it were her first year teaching.

My 14 year old is a freshman in public high school. He too has had many positive experiences in school over the past 10 years. He has gone skiing every week during the winter for two years now (something he would never get to do if it weren't for school) Been on trips to Virginia, New York,and Florida. Has learned to play a musical instrument and sing. Has had lessons in drama and partcipated in several productions.
He has really thrived so far in the public school system
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#6 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is great - I'm so glad I started this thread!

I spent the morning thinking about the best teachers I've worked with over the years.

One that I will never forget, is the lady who worked in a very poor city area. Many of the children wore the same clothes to school day after day, rain or shine.

This teacher (who had no children of her own) used to buy clothes for some of these children, wash them to make them look used, and then give them to the parents as 'clothes that my kids have outgrown'. She knew they'd be too proud to take them if they knew she'd bought them.

One little girl had no PE clothes because she was too large for her mum to find anything (along with a great deal of apathy from her mother, who had little interest in her daughter participating in sports ). This teacher went to great lengths to find PE kit for this girl that fitted and didn't look out of place.

Another little boy had no underwear. This teacher went out and bought him some 'Thomas Train' underwear. What a sweetie!
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#7 of 20 Old 11-29-2002, 07:44 PM
 
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As former teacher I can honestly tell you that the vast majority of us get into the field because we love children and learning! You have heard the story before, teachers are underpaid, overworked and do not get the same level of respect that other fields have. So, for most, the reason for getting into education is purely the love of the kids.

The college I went to is known for its teacher preparation. The energy on my campus was amazing! Everyone wanted to get out there and help the world! I graduated with 50 amazing future teachers.



Sadly, like in any other profession, they’re a few bad apples that tarnish the name of the good teachers.

I worked with a yeller who had a heart of gold and loved her kids. Some parents disliked her for her yelling while others loved her for her compassion and caring. It is impossible to click with the personalities of the 50 classroom parents.

My MIL gave me some good advice. She said that if you are happy with 90% of what is going on in the classroom then you have a good teacher and a good fit. Often you are not hearing the whole story about the other 10%.

May I also add that in this area charter schools, choice public schools, are popping-up everywhere. It is nice that families now have a free choice of schools.
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#8 of 20 Old 11-30-2002, 11:03 AM
 
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Thanks for starting this thread Britishmum, what a good reminder! More later, my space bar is broken!!!

 
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#9 of 20 Old 11-30-2002, 04:04 PM
 
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I moved a ton as a child and never really bonded with any teachers (let alone kids) until we settled down a bit when I was in 6th grade. That's when I met Mr. Couser, my 6th grade teacher in Coeur d'Alene, ID. Mr. Couser brought me out of my shell and got me interested in things I had never considered - like sports. And politics. I remember writing poetry in his class (I remember this because he really praised me for what I'd written). I remember doing something well and winning lunch at a restaurant with Mr. C. I remember a fun party we had where we made icecream sundaes in our hands and had to eat them like that... This was a tough time in my life, and Mr. C. was there for me. He was a damn good teacher.

I moved away from Cd'A the next year, but continued to write Mr. C. letters until I graduated from high school.

Also, my nephew's 2nd grade teacher right now is really creative. When her class studied Native American cultures, they had a powwow that all the parents and family were invited to attend. I went and watched them sing and dance, drum on drums they made themselves... It was really cool. And she did it despite complaints from some parents that having a powwow was anti-Christian (never did understand that one).
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#10 of 20 Old 12-02-2002, 10:51 PM
 
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My children thrive at their schools. I truly believe that they get many benefits from attending their schools. Their teachers have all been interesting, dynamic women who value each child as an individual and who have helped me learn more about my children when I talk to them.

Right now, my eight year old daughter is in Grade Three in French Immersion. Without this school, she would not have had the chance to learn this beautiful second language at such an early age.

School may not be the right choice for every family, but my children's schools suit us very well, and I know that it is because the teachers are quite special people.
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#11 of 20 Old 12-03-2002, 08:46 AM
 
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Immersion programs are great! My oldest was in a Spanish Immersion program for 4 years, and the next oldest was in it for 3 years. (Unfortunately the program has been cancelled because parents and teachers not involved considered it to be elitist. ) Nevertheless, ds can converse with native Spanish speakers who have no English, and their accents are good. They sound like little Spanish children, not Americans speaking Spanish.
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#12 of 20 Old 12-03-2002, 12:33 PM
 
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My dd is in grade 3 in Catholic public school, and she has had really good teachers so far. There are only 2 classes per grade 1 - 8, and one class for jk and one for sk, so there's not a lot of choice. The teachers all seem to love the kids, and even the "mean" ones aren't. All the teachers seem to know all the parents, at least by sight.

I have found that being on the parent council is a great way to get to know both the principal and the teachers (there is always at least one teacher rep on the council).
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#13 of 20 Old 12-04-2002, 10:54 AM
 
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#14 of 20 Old 12-09-2002, 01:16 PM
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My boys have had many positive experiences in public school, we as a family have been shown so much respect.

Last spring I was at a school function with Ds #4, who was then three. The gym teacher saw us, and made a comment about being sad when the Britt boys quit coming! Really made me feel good. This fall my second sons new fourth grade teacher told me that she had asked to have him in her class, as the word in the break room is that you should grab the chance to get a Britt boy whenever you can. I have so many stories like this tucked in my heart.

Last year DS 3, then in first grade, decided for the day that he was afraid of getting a paper cut, and therefor could not possibly touch his paper or books. This went on all day, untill the afternoon when the teacher finally sent him to the office, where they....

....worked with him on the proper way to turn pages and pick up papers, so you can minimize the risk of paper cuts.

This year I went to DS 3's conference, where I was told by his teacher that he marches to the beat of his own drummer, and the teacher has decided to choose his battles-- if he is learning and not being disruptive, he can sprawl on the floor if he wants to.

I love the folks at my kids' school.




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#15 of 20 Old 12-22-2002, 09:24 PM
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I can't highly enough praise my son's preschool or his teachers. I knew it would be great there the minute we walked in. The school is in an old Spanish style house near the beach. The play yard is covered by a huge shady tree, they have pets and no junk food is allowed in the school. They lay down with the kids at naptime (My son doesn't do naptime as I pick him up right after lunch) and sit with them when they eat. It is a small school with only three teachers. Someone is always holding a child, time outs are used only for repetitive aggressive behavior, not for little things like "not listening." They are so laid back there. No potty training required. It is a come as you are school.

I knew the owner was a gem when she noted how attached my three year old is and smiled broadly when I mentioned the sling.

He has learned so very much, both socially and acedemically. It is a play based school but with two "lessons" in the morning and a craft session.

I am beyond happy with it.
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#16 of 20 Old 12-23-2002, 01:45 AM
 
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Thanks, Britishmum and all other participants in this thread, for making this 2nd grade teacher/mama feel appreciated here!
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#17 of 20 Old 01-10-2003, 04:57 AM
 
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Very happy with our preschool. The teachers are so nurturing, it feels really deeply okay to leave my children with them the few hours a day. They have the patience to talk to us forever, call us in the evenings with questions or issues or suggestions or even just to say what a cute thing our child did ...

I had really wanted to homeschool. DH became uncomfortable with the idea, so I reluctantly agreed to the preschool/school thing. And have no regrets so far.

- Amy
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#18 of 20 Old 01-10-2003, 11:39 PM
 
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Thank you so much for this thread. I teach 8th grade in an urban middle school, and while most people scowl when I tell them, I smile.

I adore my kids. Teaching is my life. I truly can't wait to get to school in the morning and leave exhausted, but fulfilled.

It is so amazing to me to see the potential these kids have. They have so much energy and so much hope. They trust and they respect that which is shown to them. Teaching is a career change for me and I have not looked back.

While I love my recent midwifery study and training, I realize that my role in the birth arts is as a doula--but only for clients who deliver in the summer.

I am a teacher, first, foremost, and hopefully forever.

Peace and blessings to all.

Kelly
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#19 of 20 Old 01-12-2003, 12:46 AM
 
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What a lovely response to read! Thanks.

 
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#20 of 20 Old 01-12-2003, 09:23 PM
 
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Thanks for the compliment, Lauren. It'w what's in my heart, so it comes very easily. I wish all my parents and nay-sayers could see my kids the way I do.

Peace and blessings,
Kelly
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