... is, in my opinion, absolutely the WORST kind of 'teaching'. You're not teaching, you're taking the lazy man's way out!
My latest rant is based on a talk radio show that was airing as I was returning home from taking two of my personal customers to Intercontinental Airport this morning.
The host was referring to the TAKS, the ACT, the BS (I made up the last one, OK?), and -- at least the inferences I was getting -- he seemed to think, "How else can we measure students' progress or teacher competency/efficiency?"
Don't get me wrong here. There are instances when one must 'teach to a test' ... spelling competitions/bees, for example ... important dates in history, etc. Those things must be memorized.
There was a wonderful movie made some years ago -- based on a true story, I believe -- starring James Edward (?) Olmos, who portrayed a math teacher in (I think!) the Los Angeles area.
He did not try and teach to a test. Instead, he tried to instill in his students the major underlying concepts involved. The students 'got it'.
Test time came around. They scored so high that the results were thrown out, the students were accused of cheating, and another test was administered -- this one closely monitored, of course. As I recall, they scored even higher the second time! They understood and could extrapolate!!
He not only had taught them the underlying concepts, he had showed them how to think and apply same. Now, THAT is teaching!
I was reminded, on my drive back, of a M*A*S*H episode -- I love that series! -- , the one where Klinger, in his efforts to bone up on an upcoming test for a possible promotion, somehow gets hold of the answers and then proceeds to write them down on various parts of his body. Did you ever see that one?
Well, anyway, 'contortionist extraordinaire' becomes a little discombobulated in trying to locate the various answers. Not only that, but BJ has mixed up the order of the questions. Oh, no!!!
Mr. McGonigle, the principal of the school where I taught for several years, once told me, "Helen, I don't care if you have the children stand on their heads all day long! I've been observing you for some time now, have received many reports from parents, have listened to the second grade teachers' comments on the preparation their students had received (I was teaching first grade at the time), and have seen, first-hand, how much your students like to come to school and want to learn."
[Now, I must tell you the truth here. Mr. McGonigle NEVER came into my classroom to 'observe' -- at least, not that I was aware. At the same time, his office was right next door to my classroom.]
I LOVE teaching!! No two ifs/ands/buts/sixes about it ... there is, again in my own opinion now, nothing to equal it! See a couple of my earlier posts to get a little more background ... here ... and here.
There you have it, my 'rant' for the day. I'll probably have many more down the road, as teaching is my true love.
[I feel a great need to edit/add to this post, and it is this. I am not perfect, was not ever perfect, and for certain will not ever be perfect!! These are my 'imperfect' personal views, only, as of 5/5/08.]