Debbie Hanninen

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Debbie Hanninen
Posted over 1 year ago
Bill Gates: Teachers need real feedback
Gates makes a lot of assumptions that are incorrect. If I had more time I'd watch again and address all of them. Let me start by saying Gates assumes there is currently not any feedback happening in the classroom. This is incorrect--I get useful, actionable feedback from my principal every year. And more importantly, I get feedback from my students daily as does any teacher in any classroom. I don't need a "proficient" score on any scale to know how I am doing--I know I am successful when I see engagement, motivation and success. When students are lacking one or more of these, I have to do something different, including looking beyond the classroom at factors I can't control and try to find ways to overcome these factors. I am tired of rich people, who never attended a public school, read a few books and think they know better than the dedicated professionals who sacrifice every day to help their students succeed. As a teacher I will tell you exactly what I need: a school where the whole child is safe, fed, nurtured and valued, with social services, health care, healthy meals, librarians, counselors, physical education, English language instruction. Then once those basic needs are met, give me a class size so I can spend time with each child every day. That's when you will see success in schools. But no, Gates wants to take the money that might help accomplish this and buy cameras to video tape my instruction because I can't be trusted to do properly what I have dedicated my life to do.
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Debbie Hanninen
Posted over 1 year ago
Is School really Benefiting Students or the Teachers? Problems of Tenure and the Impact it has on students.
I think a lot of people have a misconception of what tenure is, at least for the public k-12 system. Tenure does NOT mean that a teacher can't be fired, it means there is a due process in place to protect teachers from being unjustly fired. Any person in any profession should have a chance to get better at their job. If there is a process to help them get better and they do not improve, then they should be forced out of the job. And anyone who believes that unions WANT to protect bad teachers is much mistaken. No teacher wants to see a bad teacher stay in the business--not only does that make all of us look bad, but more importantly we actually CARE ABOUT THE STUDENTS and want to see all of them succeed. I also think people have a misconception about how many bad teachers are out there, and who they are. Not all veteran teachers are burned out and useless. And not all new teachers are energetic and full of new ideas. In my 11 year career, I have only come across two "bad " teachers. One was brand new and went through the improvement process outlined in our contract. She did not improve and was removed. The other was an older teacher who returned to teaching after a long gap. She, too went through the contractual process in under two years, failed to improve and was also removed. The system works. To point out our inadequacies, the U.S. is constantly compared to that of Finland, which performs highly on international tests. It is rarely mentioned that Finland's teachers are highly unionized, or that Finland does not have the high-stakes "accountability" testing with which American teachers are constantly bludgeoned.