Sunday, October 02, 2005

Changing previous posts

I took down my earlier post about guilt. I felt uncomfortable when I wrote it, and when I read people's comments, and when I thought about it. It was too general, too spacey. It was driven by inference rather than experience, and thus wasn't authentic. So I took it down. I want to stay focused on reality, on observation.

It's like how I love behaviorism, in psychology. It's so simple and real. You react to someone based on how they behave. You reward them for good behavior, and punish or ignore them for bad. You don't have to make a judgment as to their ultimate "character," goodness, or badness. It's very difficult to do, especially as a teacher. You have kids who you tag as your "good" kids: hard workers, raise their hands a lot in class, no trouble. And then you have your "trouble" kids who keep annoying you. But if, as a teacher, you can rely on objectivity and act on behavior alone, you are more just. And you are a better teacher.

One of the main reasons everyone hates graduate school is because it's such an ivory tower. I want no part of that. So I will not sermonize again. I have learned my lesson. I will rely on observation, and then add commentary to what I think is going on. We all have our theories. I think I am most useful and wise without them. Not to mention less of a downer. Jeez.


At October 02, 2005 7:34 PM, Blogger Suzi said...

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At October 03, 2005 7:25 AM, Anonymous Independent George said...

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At October 03, 2005 2:08 PM, Anonymous Goldstein Gone Wild said...

First, I think white guilt only explains part of the failed policies you see in urban schools.

Bear in mind - there is a lot of what you describe (holding no student accountable, social promotion, allowing kids to be wildly disrespectful) in all white suburban schools (white teachers, white kids), particularly in the low-tracked classes (usually a solid third of the student population).

So you need to look for a non-racial cause as a co-conspirator.

Second, you need to separate your twin evils - the progressive (projects, portfolios, et al) from plain ol' disrespect.

There are many "traditional" teachers who simply tolerate all sorts of insolence, and some (not lots, perhaps, but some) progressive teachers who run a tight ship.

Your fan, MG

At October 05, 2005 6:50 AM, Blogger NMD said...

I understand why you felt uncomfortable with the guilt post, but I wanted to say that I found it interesting and appreciated it. I'm sure you'll come back to this issue in some form or another, since the racial dynamics of white teachers in largely minority classrooms won't be going away... I look forward to the discussion. And I love your blog!


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