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Did she return to teach or to test prep?

October 28, 2010 am31 7:11 am

Nancy, author of Se Hace Camino Al Andar, taught high school English for a few (4? 6?) years in the Bronx. She worked in a project with other teachers from other schools, and with some non-teaching staff development types, and in that capacity was the first to (accidentally) tell people from my school that I blogged. And where I blogged. No harm, no foul. But I do remember that.

Not necessarily in this order, Nancy got married, had a kid, quit teaching, bought an apartment in a neighborhood that sometimes conveniently forgets it’s in the Bronx, moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, had another kid, went back to teaching.

And here I am, kept her blog in my reader even when it was just adorable kid shots, but now we are back in school. And Nancy’s stuff from years ago, her blog posts, I thought they were a little dry, professionally-focused, not so political, and not so slice-of-life. Or maybe my memory’s playing tricks. In any event, she’s in a strange place, not a new teacher, but not a veteran, fresh eyes and dry behind the ears. Earlier this week she was professional, but in a personal way, and today she went a little ed politics:

I feel like kids today just seem to know less, or something. We’re spoon-feeding kids so that they’ll pass the standardized exams, and the trade-off is that kids seem to be lacking higher-order thinking skills and the ability to see things figuratively. And if you try to remedy this, as a teacher, everything goes off the rails and suddenly, you’re faced with the danger of students failing the exams, and so you go back to teaching to the test. It perpetuates this endless, vicious cycle.

I know the idea. And it is right. Just seemed more powerful coming from Nancy.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2010 am31 11:26 am 11:26 am

    Wait, I outed you? I don’t remember this…

    I taught at my Bronx school from 2001-2008, so 6.5 years?

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I’ll try to be more scintillating in the future!

    • October 28, 2010 am31 11:35 am 11:35 am

      You remember Marcie? And Paul… Anyway, really no harm at all. Even if I hadn’t put up my name, I might have been glad for them to see. Good people.

      Don’t worry about scintillating. I never stopped reading. How do you explain someone’s content and voice? My words were my attempt to be descriptive, from my point of view, not judgemental.

  2. October 31, 2010 am31 12:57 am 12:57 am

    I have two kids studying in one of the public schools in California. Both of them consistently makes to the President’s honor roll every grading period. I remembered when my son used to study in the Philippines and he was on Preparatory for Primary grade. Every grading period, they have to review everything that was covered since the beginning to answer a timed exam consisting of 40 to 50 questions in every subject — Math, Science and Reading and Language and Arts. (Remember, my son was not in the First Grade yet.) When we moved here in the United States, everything became so easy for me as the parent and for my kids. I don’t remember helping them review for any exam since we came here. First, Second and Third semester went by without any pressure at all. So far, on my 5 years of stay here in US, I haven’t seen any test paper brought home from school which has at least 40 questions. I am not surprised either why my daughter (she is in second grade) is very poor in spelling as the spelling test here is as easy as tracing letters which she already learned when she was still in Kinder (my nephew in the Philippines already knew how to spell “photosynthesis” and he is in First Grade)

    And yeah, I am afraid that if the education here in US would be that too lenient or kids would not even be challenged inside their class, they would really miss a lot.

    Concerned parent

  3. November 23, 2010 pm30 5:04 pm 5:04 pm

    And now you can add to Nancy’s list: moved back to NYC. :)

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