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 Bitter Lessons 
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After reading this article, I could not figure out why the author stayed in teaching so long. Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with a lot of teachers, but I think this article is extremely negative. It seems like he has lost all faith in people in general. He mentioned that some of the people he learned from the most were bitter teachers and some became his good friends. There is a reason why seasoned teachers tell us not to go into the teachers lounge as a beginner. They tell us this because they do not want us to be discouraged by the bitter teachers. I think that John Taylor Gatto has fallen into the trap. He complains about teachers, schools, and what they stand for, yet he changes nothing about himself as a teacher.

I really got a negative vibe from reading this article. I know that teaching is not an easy job, and I know that it is very hard to have 100% success. However, I think that we have to look at the standards set for us, then individually figure out how we can make them work with our own style. Teaching does not mean giving up who we are as an individual. Students will benefit from a positive learning environment where success is expected in an exciting way.

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Kelly Allen


Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:52 am
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100% success.


How is success defined here? I don't think even the best teachers attain 100% success, I think that's an unrealistic goal. I think maybe beginning teachers burn themselves out and become disillusioned trying to get 100%. A teacher of mine told me that "you're going to reach some and some you just won't be able to. You need to focus on the ones you can reach and help the others as much as you can."

I think his whole point was that you shouldn't beat yourself up if you can't get through to a kid. [/rant]

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-Rodney Woods

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you" - Nietzsche


Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:03 am
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I agree with kelly when she said that the article was very depressing. Do all teachers become bitter? I hope not. Rodney is right, we may not reach every kid. But, what does reaching a kid really mean? Yes, there are the standards that children have to face when they take the EOGs. However, if some of the students don't pass the tests, does that mean we haven't reached them? i don't think so. I think there are different ways in reaching a child. There might be circumstances beyond the teacher's control that causes a child not to pass the standard tests. But, a teacher can provide a safe environment for the child to learn. They can listen to the student and respect them. They can also help the child improve. I believe all students can be reached, it's just our job to figure out how we can do that. I believe with this attitude, we can find purpose in our teaching, and we will not become bitter at the expectations we face.

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Laura Greene

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Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:37 pm
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State controlled schooling requires people who unthinkingly obey orders. Such are our teachers, people as light as air who do as they are told.


If this is true then I may be in trouble folks. I don't "unthinkingly" follow orders, do as I'm told, and I sure as heck aint "light as air."

If the education system is actually this way I may not last too long.

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-Rodney Woods

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you" - Nietzsche


Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:22 am
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