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Friday, January 30, 2015

A Tale of Two Teachers

I rode the train the other day.  Due to the weather, it was running a little late.  I ran into an old acquaintance, a lawyer with two older kids from my school district.  She shared with me A Tale of Two Teachers.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  It was the age of teaching.  It was the age of test prepping.  It was the epoch of integrity.  It was the epoch of gaming the system....  "We had everything before us, we had nothing before us."  We were all going direct to merit pay.  We were all going direct the other way...

There once were two teachers in the same school.  Both supposedly "taught" Earth Science.  Whereas one teacher actually taught the subject matter, the other teacher relied upon giving the students questions from old Regents exams--every single, blessed day of the year.  The children learned Earth Science solely through the lens of NYS Regents exams.  How could their perception of the Earth not be seriously warped?  How could they not be looking at the world through the compound eyes of a gigantic bug?

Another parent on the train noted that her child received an average of 100 from that test-prep-crazed teacher.   Her child was very happy in that class.  My old acquaintance, with two very high-achieving kids, academically, musically and "swimmingly," was not happy at all.  I shared her horror.    

It's truly sad that some teachers have been driven to this extreme.  It's also pathetic.  Of course, you might disagree, especially if you "earned" that 100.  So, sing that teacher's praise, if you please, and let Sydney Carton roll over in his literary grave:  "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better" TEST "I go to than I have ever known"!  But remember, neither college nor life is a Regents.  So, from atop the academic scaffolding, so concludes the tragedy of A Tale of Two Teachers.

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