Mike Dreebin - retired Former UTLA Elementary Vice President (2002-2005) wrote to Karin Kline, copying 4LAKids
Re: Sunday, November 20, 2011: TEACHERS WHO JUST DON’T CARE
by Karin Klein of the LA Times Editorial Board in the Opinion LA blog | http://bit.ly/urFmAx on 4LAKidsNews: http://bit.ly/tPotEx
Sun, Nov 27, 2011 12:16 pm
I just read you November 18,; 2011 L.A. Times piece. It was in Scott Folsom's weekly digest.
I am now retired. I was an elementary teacher for many years in downtown L.A. (Olympic and Hoover area). I live in Mar Vista, near Santa Monica.
Your comments about some teachers at "a" school in Santa Monica were far too general for you to make any conclusions - especially essentially calling those teachers incompetent and/or lazy.
1. All teacher contracts list the duties and responsibilities of the teachers. I do not know what the SM-Malibu contract says, but have the LAUSD contract memorized.
There are specific tasks that should be performed by teachers, and other tasks performed by others. This could be an issue.
2. Teachers already have far too much to do now - especially with the State cutting funds and Districts raising class size.
If they want to add new tasks for teachers that take additional time and effort, what are they willing to remove.
What tasks do you suggest teachers no longer do so that homework assignments will be loaded on to computers??
3. Not all schools, and classes, have the same needs. A math teacher at SamoHi might teach 5 periods, but only three subjects. He/she might teach Algebra I in periods 1, 2 and 3.
So the homework assignment for those three classes might be the same, and fairly easy to post (Pages 85-87, and the odd problems on page 88).
That high school math teacher might have a total of three homework assignments to post. (Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry I)
While the class sizes are large (too large) it is also simple to keep track of who does their homework, and student assistants can help keeping track of these.
Other teachers in other subjects might have more classes, and much more complicated homework assignments, and not have capable students to help.
At an elementary school the situation is far different. I used to have three reading groups, four math groups, a science/social studies group, three English Second Language groups, and a health lesson daily.
That might have been about 12 different homework assignments, daily, that you want me to load onto the computer for parents to view.
And if I was teaching any of the lower grades there won't be any capable students to help keep track of who actually did their homework.
(Note that I always had a posted Homework chart for any and all parents to come and view).
Because of computers it is much easier to do report cards now. Teachers load the grades onto computer lists of students and the printer does the printing. I used to have to hand print grades onto triplicate form report cards for about 12 subjects for about 30 students = 360 grades. Lots easier now.
But loading on homework assignments to computers for parents to read is much more complicated than you might think.
My basic point is that teaching is unique, and already very difficult. You work for a newspaper. You ought to check out the details before jumping to the general conclusions you did.
Thank you for your time,