In Part I, I provided an example of a letter sent home to parents for keys to success to pass the state test. Failing schools in desperation try to shift the blame for their lack of success on the parents. Due to this reality, teachers now tell us how to parent. Kind of ironic, because many teachers hate to be told how to teach.Would school districts consider allowing parents to send letters to all of the teachers? Probably not. Yet, in Part II, I am writing a sample letter of suggestions to help teachers be a highly effective teacher. Suggestions that if allowed, would help raise achievement scores within our disadvantaged schools.
1. Do no harm
2. Stop talking about the test. Instead, focus on empowering student confidence.
3. Stop rallying our students around student achievement and give a greater emphasis on social and emotional learning.
4. Let our students feel okay to be different.
5. Stop scheduling 1/2 days and teacher conference days on Mondays and Fridays. Especially, near a vacation prior to the state test.
6. Snow days - Eliminate buy backs in your contract. If testing is so important, why do you contractually get days off for unused snow days during testing time. This is valuable instructional time to help students.
7. Health and Wellness - Nutrition and Well being are also important for teachers. Teachers who smoke, use drugs, and have a higher than average BMI will need substitute teachers at a higher rate, thus impacting the districts overall score.
8. Teachers need to be well rested, and come to school with an excellent mental health history.
Such a letter to all teachers would never be tolerated or accepted. Yet teachers provide judgmental examples of parenting in newsletters that are sent home during what they feel are critical testing times. First of all, if a teacher is desperate enough to think the letters make a difference, most likely their scores are going to be low. The letters are written out of frustration and need to stop. Maybe if parents rallied around holding teachers accountable, we would see less letters come home that are judgmental about parenting.