End of the School Year

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    End of the School Year

    We are wrapping up the school year in a couple of days and I have to say it is too soon.  180 days of schooling is not enough to provide a thorough educational experience.  We should push the school year out to 190 or even 200 days. 

    Of course, if we extend the year we should also increase salaries of our teachers by the same percentage... 
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Xaphius. Show Xaphius's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]We are wrapping up the school year in a couple of days and I have to say it is too soon.  180 days of schooling is not enough to provide a thorough educational experience.  We should push the school year out to 190 or even 200 days.  Of course, if we extend the year we should also increase salaries of our teachers by the same percentage... 
    Posted by Reubenhop[/QUOTE]

    Agreed.  Year round school, commensurate pay.

    The summer break sets kids back so far, too....
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    I always figured I could have done all the work for the whole year in a month or two so I consistently found sitting through 9 months aggravating at best.  Before we suggest increasing the number of days our kids are in school, we should suggest improving the curriculum to make the time well spent.  Once the nine months are worth all the money we spend on education we can talk about lengthening a productive school year.  Otherwise, we'll just be lengthening a useless waste of time.

    I remember getting chicken pox and being out for 2 weeks the year I was taking algebra.  I got caught up in 2 days.  It was an "accelerated" class, too.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from dexter67. Show dexter67's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    It's not the hours you put in....it's what you put into the hours.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from GreginMedford. Show GreginMedford's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]We are wrapping up the school year in a couple of days and I have to say it is too soon.  180 days of schooling is not enough to provide a thorough educational experience.  We should push the school year out to 190 or even 200 days.  Of course, if we extend the year we should also increase salaries of our teachers by the same percentage... 
    Posted by Reubenhop[/QUOTE]

    My kids go 200 days, plus an extra hour and a half per day.  They get out Friday
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from WhizKid07. Show WhizKid07's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    It's a matter of quality vs. quantity - not extending the number of days.  My daughter attends Boston Latin School. By the time the school year is over, they've gone through the entire text book for their subject matter.  Peers at other schools are 3+ chapters behind and don't finish.  Perhaps the schools should be looking beyond what's required for state guidelines and seek to go beyond.  Additionally - ask your kids how much learning is actually done in the last 2 weeks of school? I bet not much - perhaps the schools could do a better job educating kids up until Day 180.  That would make a huge difference.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]My kids go 200 days, plus an extra hour and a half per day.  They get out Friday
    Posted by GreginMedford[/QUOTE]

    I think you are on the right track.

    How many courses?   Any study halls? 
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]It's not the hours you put in....it's what you put into the hours.
    Posted by dexter67[/QUOTE]

    It is both.  I teach some lower level courses and they need a lot of time on task.  Also much of our focus is intended to be student centered (away from lecture) and that just takes up much more time. And there is a lot of content to cover to get to MCAS standards (while still making it interesting).  Finally, the kids forget too much over the summer: free time is great, but how much do you really need? 
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]It is both.  I teach some lower level courses and they need a lot of time on task.  Also much of our focus is intended to be student centered (away from lecture) and that just takes up much more time. And there is a lot of content to cover to get to MCAS standards (while still making it interesting).  Finally, the kids forget too much over the summer: free time is great, but how much do you really need? 
    Posted by Reubenhop[/QUOTE]

    If the curriculum were adequate, the kids would learn things for life the first time.  They shouldn't forget over the summer; it's a factor of how well things are taught in the first place.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Xaphius. Show Xaphius's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]If the curriculum were adequate, the kids would learn things for life the first time.  They shouldn't forget over the summer; it's a factor of how well things are taught in the first place.
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Hey there ladyfriend.

    Well, I'm sorry to disagree with you tonight, but I must. 

    Skills need to be kept fresh.  There's not such thing as learning something so well that you never need to practice it in the future.  Sure - you may still remember your ABC's and all that primary stuff, but eventually, given the volume of information we encounter, such instant recall becomes impossible for all but the very gifted.

    As a former student of the behavioral sciences as applied to education, I appeal to the data supporting the clear benefits of repetition, and the predictable decline of memories, mental or muscular, if skills are not constantly refreshed.  It's one of the things about learning that we know better than almost anything else.   Countries that are lapping us educationally aren't taking the summer off, I can tell you that much.

    Makes more sense to me to have more school days, and not such a long break between years. 


    When it comes to education, I'm all about data-backed approaches.  And the data can't be told how it "should" be.  It just is.




     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year


    Hey, Xa,

    Skills do need to be kept fresh, but presumably, they wouldn't be reviewing stuff all year, they'd just teach more in the same poor manner (nothing against the teachers, it's the curriculum) for more days.

    Your education regarding behavioral sciences cannot be disputed.  But, as in my original post in this thread, the curriculum needs to be revamped to incorporate those teaching and behavioral concepts before the school year is lengthened.

    ~kar

    P.S.  I'm not against lengthening the school year, per se, just against lengthening it as the curriculum stands now.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    [QUOTE]Hey, Xa, Skills do need to be kept fresh, but presumably, they wouldn't be reviewing stuff all year, they'd just teach more in the same poor manner (nothing against the teachers, it's the curriculum) for more days. Your education regarding behavioral sciences cannot be disputed.  But, as in my original post in this thread, the curriculum needs to be revamped to incorporate those teaching and behavioral concepts before the school year is lengthened. ~kar P.S.  I'm not against lengthening the school year, per se, just against lengthening it as the curriculum stands now.
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    I am not sure you actually know what the curriculum is and what your problems are with it if you do know.  For instance in high school social studies we require a year of world history and then two years of U.S. and a senior year elective of their choice.   Not sure how you would change that

    And X. is right: you need to teach skills with layers of additional related work especially given the fact that the child's brain is developing throughout the process.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    Good morning (I was up way past my bedtime last night!),

    I didn't mean the broad curriculum.  The subjects are fine.  I suppose the daily lesson plans and methods of teaching aren't really "curriculum" - that's more what I meant.

    Admittedly, I'm basing some of my comments on my own experience from 1977 - 1990.  It was 1982 that I caught up on 2 weeks worth of algebra in 2 days. It was 1990, senior English, that we were "learning" the same things I'd been taught (and remembered) in 7th grade, specifically sentence diagramming, for instance.  I'm not a genius, but I remember the whole time being essentially wasted.  I felt like I could have done a better job with just the text books and test at the end.  I'd have graduated at 13, and I'm not trying to say I'm smart, I'm pointing out what a waste of time being in the classroom was.

    However, I'm also basing my comments on my experience with the Massachusetts MCAS-era, as well.  I tutored a child in Geometry and Algebra in preparation for the MCAS a few years ago.  He had no hope at all of passing the MCAS with how his teacher was "teaching" him, and his parents came to me desperate for my help knowing that I had a math degree.  For 6 months (once a week) I taught him the skills he needed to pass AND how to learn math.  He may forget how to find the tangent, but he will not forget how to teach himself how to do it, again.

    In college I did the same on a smaller scale.  I was asked to tutor a girl in Algebra for the second half of the school year who "couldn't do math" and was getting an F.  I tutored her ONCE.  I taught her how to utilize the book to her advantage and learn all her lessons directly from the book, thereby removing her perceived need for her teacher to be good.  I spent about 3 hours with her that first time.  She didn't come the next week.  The grandmother called the second week and thanked me profusely.  Her granddaughter "got it" and was learning just fine.  She gave me an update at the end of the year - she had a B.  That girl BROUGHT HERSELF up from an F to a B simply by spending 3 hours with someone who taught her how to learn.   That, granted, was 1992, but I don't have a lot of hope things have changed dramatically since then.

    So, "curriculum" was probably too high level a word, but I shouldn't have been able to turn that girl into a B math student in 3 hours.  My MCAS kid shouldn't have needed me to graduate.  I didn't do anything rocket sciencey.  Their teachers just had to absolutely stink.  And, since 90% of mine did, too, my opinion of the school system is abysmal.

    I've realized that my view is very math-centric.  Maybe the rest of the subjects are being taught in a stellar manner.  I've never had anyone come to me for Social Studies tutoring. :)  Although, in college I taught a lot of people how to write an essay for that one college English class engineering students had to take...

    My mom was a teacher, by the way, and I have great respect for teachers.  I do not have respect for how they are taught to teach.  Some teachers rise above this, a la Dead Poet's Society.  I think everyone has a few they can remember as being great.

    ~kar
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    Well Kar, you have a lot of anecdotal stuff from days gone which should make it hard to generalize.   I admit there are a range of teachers out there, just like there is a range in every line of work.  I think you were exposed to a bad bunch.  I am sure such bunches can cluster in certain places just as good bunches can collect elsewhere.   i do know this, we have a lot more ways to connect with the student now then the old days.  And yet, they may be even more elusive: so much other stuff in their lives crowd out learning.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    Rueben, I want to believe that teachers are connecting with students today. My MCAS experience wasn't that long ago, but, yes, that's only one recent example.  You can imagine how hard it would be for me to have that fit perfectly into my life experience but then dismiss all my concerns based on your assurance that things have changed, though.  I'm considering tutoring math this summer.  If I do, I'll get back to you with an update on my view of today's education in the Fall.

    I will take some hope from your comments, however.  What I have no doubt about is that you are one of the teachers the kids will remember as being great.

    Peace and good summer!

    ~kar
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from GreginMedford. Show GreginMedford's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    Oddly, one of the teachers I remember most, and one of the best, was a genuinely mean and deliberately malicious priickk.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    Greg, me, too!  He actually graded our quizzes in front of the class and asked incredulously, "WHAT were you THINKING when you answered that way?!  RIDICULOUS."  I actually teared up a few times.  Then, he told my folks at a parent night that I was one of his best students ever (he'd been teaching 25 years).  After that, he didn't get to me, much to his chagrin. ;)  Anyway, I ended up getting a math degree because of him.  He was definitely one of my best teachers.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Xaphius. Show Xaphius's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    In Response to Re: End of the School Year:
    [QUOTE]Hey, Xa, Skills do need to be kept fresh, but presumably, they wouldn't be reviewing stuff all year, they'd just teach more in the same poor manner (nothing against the teachers, it's the curriculum) for more days. Your education regarding behavioral sciences cannot be disputed.  But, as in my original post in this thread, the curriculum needs to be revamped to incorporate those teaching and behavioral concepts before the school year is lengthened. ~kar P.S.  I'm not against lengthening the school year, per se, just against lengthening it as the curriculum stands now.
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    I see your philosophical point - what good is doing more of a thing if the thing isn't working very well?  It's logical.

    That said, it's not like it's SO broken that kids are literally learning nothing.  And the added time for 'extra reps', so to speak, would still be beneficial. 

    As flawed as the NCLB act was, it was actually a step in the right direction.  We need outcome measures to evaluate what works, and what doesn't.  It's unfortunate (but predictable in politics) that instead of targeting methodologies, they targeted schools, and scapegoat teachers mercilessly.   Yet, the trend towards data-backed methods - ie, being able to prove what works, and understand it well enough to replicate it- is finally underway.  Rather than using this data to target which teachers to fire, we should use ti to target which methodologies to train them to use instead of whatever they use now. 

    Plus, consider that the 'summers off' thing is an anachronism, harkening back to the days when we were a more agrarian society, and kids helped on the farms during breaks (and if this is a myth I have unfortunately been fed, disabuse me of it), whereas now...let's just say, most could use the 'structure'.

    Who gets the whole summer off anyways?  What kind of world are we training them to enter?  It's just silly, IMO.

    peace.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Xaphius. Show Xaphius's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    In Response to Re: End of the School Year:
    [QUOTE]Good morning (I was up way past my bedtime last night!), I didn't mean the broad curriculum.  The subjects are fine.  I suppose the daily lesson plans and methods of teaching aren't really "curriculum" - that's more what I meant. Admittedly, I'm basing some of my comments on my own experience from 1977 - 1990.  It was 1982 that I caught up on 2 weeks worth of algebra in 2 days. It was 1990, senior English, that we were "learning" the same things I'd been taught (and remembered) in 7th grade, specifically sentence diagramming, for instance.  I'm not a genius, but I remember the whole time being essentially wasted.  I felt like I could have done a better job with just the text books and test at the end.  I'd have graduated at 13, and I'm not trying to say I'm smart, I'm pointing out what a waste of time being in the classroom was. However, I'm also basing my comments on my experience with the Massachusetts MCAS-era, as well.  I tutored a child in Geometry and Algebra in preparation for the MCAS a few years ago.  He had no hope at all of passing the MCAS with how his teacher was "teaching" him, and his parents came to me desperate for my help knowing that I had a math degree.  For 6 months (once a week) I taught him the skills he needed to pass AND how to learn math.  He may forget how to find the tangent, but he will not forget how to teach himself how to do it, again. In college I did the same on a smaller scale.  I was asked to tutor a girl in Algebra for the second half of the school year who "couldn't do math" and was getting an F.  I tutored her ONCE.  I taught her how to utilize the book to her advantage and learn all her lessons directly from the book, thereby removing her perceived need for her teacher to be good.  I spent about 3 hours with her that first time.  She didn't come the next week.  The grandmother called the second week and thanked me profusely.  Her granddaughter "got it" and was learning just fine.  She gave me an update at the end of the year - she had a B.  That girl BROUGHT HERSELF up from an F to a B simply by spending 3 hours with someone who taught her how to learn.   That, granted, was 1992, but I don't have a lot of hope things have changed dramatically since then. So, "curriculum" was probably too high level a word, but I shouldn't have been able to turn that girl into a B math student in 3 hours.  My MCAS kid shouldn't have needed me to graduate.  I didn't do anything rocket sciencey.  Their teachers just had to absolutely stink.  And, since 90% of mine did, too, my opinion of the school system is abysmal. I've realized that my view is very math-centric.  Maybe the rest of the subjects are being taught in a stellar manner.  I've never had anyone come to me for Social Studies tutoring. :)  Although, in college I taught a lot of people how to write an essay for that one college English class engineering students had to take... My mom was a teacher, by the way, and I have great respect for teachers.  I do not have respect for how they are taught to teach.  Some teachers rise above this, a la Dead Poet's Society.  I think everyone has a few they can remember as being great. ~kar
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]


    Sounds to me like a tracking issue - ie, you were placed in a math class beneath your abilities.  As for me, I struggled in math - always did.  I always needed to know WHY a thing worked, not just that it did, and in math, that's stuff you don't get into 'till college level, right?

    Anyhow. I got some tutoring from a math teacher who lived in town, and started to actually like it, and do well at it.  I have no idea if my teacher were good or bad - but my tutor was excellent.  Lucky for me my folks could afford it.  I spent the entire class just pretending to pay attention.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    That's what the kids I tutored did.  They could daydream in all their math classes after I spent the little time I did with them.  What other conclusion can we draw other than the idea that their teachers couldn't teach effectively?

    I was always ahead in math.  I like to know "why," too, and I drove my poor geometry teacher insane - "If a point has dimension how can it have no area?"  She thought I was being a pain on purpose.  LOL.  Yes, it's my college math "proof" classes that give you the why, and no high school can take those classes on.  One of my final exams was take home, I had 2 weeks to do it, and it was 4 questions.  Couldn't do it now to save my life.  Literally.

    Anyway, I remember never having needed any teacher.  Isn't that a problem?  I'm not that smart.  I am good at math with natural ability, and my mom was a college English teacher so I learned to write and use decent grammar from her.  Those shouldn't have negated my need for teachers for 13 years, though, right?

    Maybe I shouldn't respond at all because as our dear Rueben has aptly pointed out, my experience is mostly outdated.  It's just that MCAS kid I tutored that makes me wonder if anything has changed.

    Mainly just wanted to respond, Xa, to say hello. :) 

    Blessings,
    ~kar
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    In Response to Re: End of the School Year:
    [QUOTE]Rueben, I want to believe that teachers are connecting with students today. My MCAS experience wasn't that long ago, but, yes, that's only one recent example.  You can imagine how hard it would be for me to have that fit perfectly into my life experience but then dismiss all my concerns based on your assurance that things have changed, though.  I'm considering tutoring math this summer.  If I do, I'll get back to you with an update on my view of today's education in the Fall. I will take some hope from your comments, however.  What I have no doubt about is that you are one of the teachers the kids will remember as being great. Peace and good summer! ~kar
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Actually, teachers are "trying to connect" with students.  We have a lot more in the way of technology and techniques now than when I was a kid, but there is so much more going on in the lives of students that keep them away from the learning path.  For instance, kids just don't read like they should and this impacts their ability to understand material and express themselves.   The reading issue is more cultural (and parental) than school based in its origins.  And math was always hopeless to me: I truly respect any teacher who can make that subject interesting and fun. 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    If it comes down to "trying" and not really connecting any more than what I remember, my first comment stands.  Fix the methods by which things are taught, THEN increase the number of days in the school year. 

    If math is boring to everyone, math teachers aren't taught to present the material well.  Math makes the world go 'round from addition and subtraction (grade school) to acceleration and jerk (calculus); there's no reason each math year can't be interesting.

    Blessings
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Reubenhop. Show Reubenhop's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    In Response to Re: End of the School Year:
    [QUOTE]If it comes down to "trying" and not really connecting any more than what I remember, my first comment stands.  Fix the methods by which things are taught, THEN increase the number of days in the school year.  If math is boring to everyone, math teachers aren't taught to present the material well.  Math makes the world go 'round from addition and subtraction (grade school) to acceleration and jerk (calculus); there's no reason each math year can't be interesting. Blessings
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    I had good and bad teachers of math.   None of them could make the subject sing for me.  It's utilitarian purposes aside, give me a good history book any day.   Thankfully, I don't teach math and I can occassionally make history come alive, if not sing.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Xaphius. Show Xaphius's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    In Response to Re: End of the School Year:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: End of the School Year : I had good and bad teachers of math.   None of them could make the subject sing for me.  It's utilitarian purposes aside, give me a good history book any day.   Thankfully, I don't teach math and I can occassionally make history come alive, if not sing.
    Posted by Reubenhop[/QUOTE]


    To me, this is where parents come in, and gets back to what you said just above - that we can not ignore the fact that today's kids have many more distractions, and our culture is becoming ever more anti-intellectual.

    School isn't always gong to be 'fun', and I think it's a giant mistake to even have that be some kind of goal.  Sometimes, you just have to do things in life, and that includes kids learning things their elders want them to learn..... is what it is.  I mean, are we supposed to make eating vegetables fun too?  Must everything be a game for kids? 

    If the teacher is fantastic, and manages to make it fun, then great.  Bonus.

    But we can't always count on that.  Hopefully, however, we can count on grown ups making kids take care of business, so that they can grow up right. 

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: End of the School Year

    Xa, indeed, I agree.  By "connecting" I meant getting the material across effectively to the students, fun or no fun.  I didn't have fun in the calc class where the teacher made me cry, but I learned calculus and went on to be an engineering and then a math major.  That wasn't fun, either.
     

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