Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What is an effective teacher?

This question has been asked but not answered at various board meetings.  Can anyone help out?  We do after all have an Office of Teacher Effectiveness.


Anonymous said...

"Office of Teacher Effectiveness," you're joking right?!

That office is supervised by a hack who couldn't handle the classroom and kowtows to the whining students and parents who want the "Pittsburgh Promise" without doing the work.

She believes in "social promotion." Give the student an 'A' for showing up. She bought into the "it is the teachers fault if the kid sleeps in class" mentality, regardless of the extraneous factors.

She is a "drank the kool-aid" wash out who could only dream of being an effective teacher!!! She could only dream of being an effective principal too!!!

She is another example of PPS promoting those who CAN'T!

Questioner said...

In terms of comment effectiveness it would be a lot better to have a post that seems less personal and focuses more on performance. No one really gets an A in an academic subject just for coming to class. What are the actual policies you disagree with?

Anonymous said...

Great. Its good to see a reasonable response to an unreasonable post, one that appears here repeatedly and really hurts any positive reflection on teachers in PPS.

It is one way to remove this site from the bitterness it has created at Central Office, a bitterness that extends into often very counterproductive responses as well as misplaced, retaliative identification of bloggers.

Avoiding blatantly hostile opinions is a good tactic.

Questioner said...

Central Office should really try not to blame the messenger.

Anonymous said...

12:59: You are right, and Pure Reform is not the only messenger being blamed.

But, the folks at Central Office are very insecure regarding competencies.

Instead of rejecting or avoiding all messages that are not necessarily complimentary, they should surround themselves with folks who are offering professional/personal/group/child advocacy assistance that addresses with care, concern, experience, expertise success and good will for PPS children/students!26 atsease

Questioner said...

And actually PURE is not even the messenger, just the forum. There are many different messages.

Anonymous said...

Not to be bitter but-

There is a lot of truth in that first post.

You would be bitter, if you were a teacher with common sense in this district during this so called educational reform.

Let me translate the first post for you non teachers and for or as my friend said Kool Aide Drinkers, I despise them also.

Office of Teacher Effectiveness

No one knows what they do except help get rid of teachers. They have to nit pick teachers to validate their jobs. These type of positions were filled with people with very little teaching experience. Paid for with grant money or matching funds.

In the last 6 years Central Office has instituted policies, such as the no grade lower than 50%, even if the students complete no work in a semester. There is less displine in the Pittsburgh Public Schools than ever before. Its bad and getting worse. What do you expect if a PELA's job security and bonuses are tied to how many students you do not suspend.

There is a blame the teachers approach in this reform nationwide thanks to Bill Gates and his money. If you are a teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, it has become a very hostile work place. Soon as the PELAS took over the schools. These people were mainly people with very little actual teaching experience also.

The Kool aide drinkers buy into this, to move up the so-called career lader. If you buy in to their so called philosphy, you can move up to be a Reading or Math coach, ITL 2, Supervisor, CRI positions at Brashear, or a curiculum writter. At least their are no more PELA's thank god.

The cream curdles in this district, it does not rise to the top.

Or better yet you could moved up in the Union like some did, if you would sell this crap to your union comrades.

I was a more effective teacher 6 years ago before all this mess. Now I am becomming a drone just to keep my job. You must keep your head down, do what your told, stay off the radar, keep your mouth shut or risk your job. Teach the horrible curiculum and go through their motions to keep your job. Do not deviate from the script and keep up the pace. Do not get focused. How can they call this empowering teachers? How can they call this effective teaching?

The big losers are our kids

How can the people who run this district sleep at night?

Danny Green

Anonymous said...

Solutions! Solutions! Solutions! Please! Please! Please!

We are drowning in complaints without solutions! I mean solutions that will educate our children/students, not how to save teachers jobs.

No one who educates children to be able to think, create, question, and respond in those modes will lose their jobs! That truth and the evidence will set you free.

Professional development on thinking skills, standards, eligible content, assmnt anchors or whatever you choose to call the skills of educated children is available WITHOUT COST in many venues and WITH COST in many others.

Teachers seek it out, then adapt the thinking skills to your students, your grade level, your content area (and that means all teachers in ALL content areas).

I know that you do not believe that this is doable, but if someone is will in to set up the time and the place and recruit teachers, it is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE to outlast, out-think, out-perform, outwit the current Administration. We really do KNOW ENOUGH to EDUCATE ALL of PPS CHILDREN/STUDENTS to the highest of levels. Bar none!

Questioner said...

If students did no work in a semester and got 50% it wouldn't be any different than if they got a 0%, right? Still an E/F.

But they don't get the 50 if they do nothing- they need to make a "good faith effort," right?

The 50% may not even have a real effect b/c students who make an effort can usually get a 50. A problem not addressed by the rule is if they don't know about an assignment or misunderstand whether something is classwork or to be turned in, perhaps b/c the class is noisy; a student who actually did the work takes a 0 despite the rule.

Questioner said...

In just about every other field it is necessary to provide job security to attract the best candidates. That is the reason given for good contracts to administrators, for example. Remember when MRoosevelt's contract was even extended ahead of time by a sham "resignation" and immediate rehire? Why should the situation be any different for teachers?

Anonymous said...

Good point, questioner! However, PPS is furloughing teachers currently not hiring. So, it could be a moot point!

We know enough to provide the right professional development for current PPS teachers (who are quality educators or wannabees) so that they have the skills/knowledge to VERY effectively help most teachers to educate all children who come to school to very high levels.

Let's work with the many good people we have in PPS schools! That is the work at hand and we must begin now or we will never restore PPS to its former status much less take it far beyond.


Anonymous said...

Chicago teachers--God bless them---are striking for better pay, benefits and a more equitable rating system.

I wonder if Nina has taken notice of what it is like to have courage. She and John Tarka sold their membership down the river.

Courage. Guts. Perseverance.
We teach our kids to stand up for what we believe in. Pity we don't have leadership that walks the walk and fellow teachers who would cower rather than fight.

Questioner said...

If we consider not just attracting but also retaining teachers job security is important- not necessarily in the form of a contract, but at least a situation where good teachers believe that if they continue to do their jobs well they will not lose those jobs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The above article says it all--same teacher is glorious at a lower pay. Another consideration is rhat this is rhe one profession where women fet equal pay. So let's find ways to lower the bar on teacher salaries.
On the seniority question-- last year, prior to the lay offs, many lower performing schools had the shining star less expensive newbies-- and yet the scores were lower. We exited experienced teachers over the last few years-- and the scores went down. Pittsburgh, you afe letting go of your best teachers-- oh yeah, the private and parochial schools are loving what they are getting from us.

Anonymous said...

Questioner, this editorial about Chicago also describes what is going on here. "Effective teacher?" What an absolute joke. PPS is simply trying to get rid of high salaries, like in Chicago. If they want to save money, they should chop their administrative staff in half. Start with the inner circle.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9/12 5:14 pm,

You harp for solutions, solutions, solutions, please, please, please.

If you've been frequenting the blogsite, then you'd have read the many offered solutions by teachers and parents here. If you are not a frequent visitor, then may I suggest that you peruse the site for the answers you are seeking.

However, I don't think you are seeking answers. I think that you are a self-promoter defending the failed policies and practices of central office. Your post sounds too much like the talking points of central office and the consultants their hire. It takes a pot to call the kettle black!

Anonymous said...

Yes, we all want solutions-- teachers that are left are far too scared to take a stand--uh, that was WHY unions started! Union-- unless we get enough people to literally start a new one, there is no hope here. Parents- yeah you could storm the board and literally pester the hell out of your board member and then maybe they would listen. But, I really dont beleive that they see how bad it is. There are over 400 districts in this state alone that work- without selling out to the companies and profiteers. Sure they are struggling with NCLB etc-- but they arent selling out for the promise or anything else. What has to happen is that the two honest board members,parents, citizens, and teachers under a cloak of anon-- gather and and just say NO--

Anonymous said...

6:28 - The opposition, here, to central office and consultants, goes far beyond those you put forward again and again, and that opposition is on based knowledge and fact, not opinion and derision for the sake of whatever.

8:46 - You are dead on with your facts and possible solutions. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

We are in the age of apathy. Look at national elections. do 50% of eligible voters even bother? To a much smaller degree, look at the PFT election. 1000 teachers failed to vote this year. Shame. We earn what we get for representation. With the continuing intimidation of teachers and firings of veteran teachers, you'd have thought that all teachers would have been inspired to vote. Alas, they didn't offer free coffee and donuts.
Those in power count of apathy, of course.
Al stopped holding public ratification meetings and elections because he was smart enough to know that a great many teachers would do nothing.
Tarka certainly knew this as he sold us down the river.
And Nina? I don't think anyone takes her seriously now that the union has been "emasculated."

I look at Chicago and applaud. This is the only avenue left. Walkouts. Strikes.
Teachers deserve better. Better pay. Better benefits. A more equitable "rating system."
But apathy rules in Pittsburgh. And Bellefield Avenue knows it.
They count on parents doing nothing. They count on teachers doing nothing. And that assuredness allows them to conduct themselves with the complete disregard for the opinions of taxpayers.
We have earned our representation, just as taxpayers have earned the Finks and Colaizzis and as a byproduct, provided the students with the likes of Lane, French, Lippert and Otuwa.
Where there is no accountability of those in charge, there is a "let them eat cake" approach.
welcome to Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

This P-G article 9/13 by Greg Palast in the perspectives section p. B-5 hits the nail on the head.
This is the direction PPS is going. The haves will continue to flee to the charters and private schools, and the have-nots will be left in the public schools. Meanwhile, the private sector test makers and corporate America will continue to get richer. When PPS aligned themselves with Gates and Broad, they bought into this scenario. And our so-called UNION, did too. You don't find the suburban schools buying into this.
PPS sold us out.

Anonymous said...

That article is great. Suburban school districts start noticing when it effects them. Wisconsin has a great (recent) example of this from a very Pro-Walker (He makes Corbett look liberal) district. They voted for the guy and now feel the pinch.

Anonymous said...

An effective teacher has not forgotten what it was like to be a student.
An effective teacher knows how to motivate a kid to ask for help when he needs it.
An effective teacher knows how to convey enthusiasm and when to reign himself in before looking like a nut. An effective teacher knows how to convey serious concern about a student’s performance without taking all hope away from the student. He knows how to offer guidance to turn poor attitude and performance around, sets the necessary deadline for improvement and when to call in other teachers to be part of a team effort to help a student.
An effective teacher is cautious about discussing sensitive topics and personal information about students in a public environment where he could be overheard.
An effective teacher does not play favorites or give more attention to students whose parents may be colleagues or are connected.
An effective teacher is not a bully and has the health and safety of his students as his chief concern. He knows when to let the tone of a class be lighthearted. He knows that not all kids learn at the same pace or in the same way. He knows he may not meet all the items in a day’s lesson plan in order to be sure each lesson is processed and will not be forgotten.
Only a beginning, but I had to stop when I realized I could build a list for an effective administrator too by using each of the points; for example: An effective administrator has not forgotten what it was like to be a teacher. An effective administrator knows how to avoid making a relationship with a teacher become adversarial. An effective administrator knows a teacher can only operate when necessary materials, books, and equipment are available.
Yep, hard to define what an effective teacher is for sure. I wanted to give it a lot of thought before I saw the movie. You know the one where the lords of education reform put up cash to have their gospel delivered. Since they get to tell a story I will take advantage of a captive audience here and tell a short one too. Long ago one of my kids had a teacher who ate her breakfast while teaching first period. Caused some eye-rolling for sure and eventually stopped. Never heard why it was necessary, she was never late for school, but usually just on time. You could find her in her classroom every day until about 5:30 and if a parent ever needed to talk the door was open, and used often. She would discuss books old and new with so much enthusiasm you might think she was the mother of the author. Her mission in life seemed to be to turn everyone into a reader. She may be retired by now, but hopefully knows she was effective. There are young adults all over the place who still remember the lessons learned.
See you at the movies.

Questioner said...

Too bad blogs don't offer a "like" button!