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Laura Bush, Ex-Teacher, Goes Back to Kindergarten [NYT]
The New York Times ^ | October 17, 2001 | Ronald Smothers

Posted on 10/17/2001 5:10:11 AM PDT by summer

October 17, 2001

Laura Bush, Ex-Teacher, Goes Back to Kindergarten

By RONALD SMOTHERS

NEWARK, Oct. 16 — Amid tight security and with reporters in tow, the first lady, Laura Bush, visited the brightly colored kindergarten classroom of an elementary school here today where she read a story, gave a geography lesson and otherwise soothed 18 5-year-olds with hugs, tender touches and cooing words.

The occasion was Teach for America Week 2001, during which the organization Teach for America, which places college graduates as teachers for two years in schools in some of the nation's poorest neighborhoods, asks public figures to highlight the importance of teaching by spending an hour in a classroom.

Ms. Bush, a former teacher herself, seemed to warm to the task instantly.

She skillfully gathered the students on a luminous red and blue rug at the South 17th Street School here and held their attention, all the while managing to soothe Tydaysiah Chambers, whose fingers had been stepped on by a classmate in the rush for a space close to the first lady.

"She didn't mean to do it," she whispered reassuringly to Tydaysiah as she continued to direct the students to sit in a semicircle for the reading of "Grandfather's Journey" by Allen Say.

The story, which was selected by Mrs. Bush, tells of a Japanese man who immigrated to the United States early in the 20th century but became homesick and returned to Japan, where he married and raised a family whom he regaled with stories of his time in America.

Wendy Kopp, president and founder of Teach for America, said that it had placed some 7,000 teachers in schools in 16 urban and rural areas since its founding in 1989. During its weeklong observances over the last four years, appearances like that of Mrs. Bush, she said, help focus the nation on "our most pressing domestic issues, including poverty and the quality of education."

Mark Williams, 23, the Teach for America recruit whose kindergarten class Mrs. Bush visited for the 30- minute stay, said that the first lady grabbed the class's attention immediately, adding that she "seems to really like being in a classroom."

Mr. Williams, a native of Wilmington, Del., who was headed to medical school when he decided to take off two years to teach, said that he and the first lady talked briefly about Teach for America's goals and that he came away with the idea that "She is ever so thankful for teachers because she was so gracious in thanking us for being teachers."

The first lady's visit became known to a small group at the school just last Friday. Early this morning, before students began arriving, bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in. Police lines went up after that, restricting access to the block. Secret Service agents were almost unobtrusive, blending into their surroundings, according to Mr. Williams and some of the other teachers.

After the reading lesson, Mrs. Bush gave some small insight in how she had coped in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, in an interview broadcast on WNBC-TV. She said that she and President Bush do not talk much about the "decisions of the day" during their family time together and instead play with their pets, laugh and discuss the books each is reading.

"Since Sept. 11, the times when I have been with children have been very comforting for me," she said, reflecting on her visit to the Newark school.


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I never get tired of reading these articles about First Lady Laura Bush. IMO, she is just wonderful. She is one of the few people who enables me to feel proud to say I am a certified teacher. Thank you, First Lady -- and teacher -- Laura Bush.

Another public official who actively supports teachers and whose support makes me feel proud to say I am a certified teacher is her brother-in-law, Gov. Jeb Bush. Thank you, Gov. Bush, for all you do for teachers in Florida, even though most of the teachers don't even know what you've done to help them.

BTW, anyone seeking a teaching position in Florida can visit: www.teachinflorida.com
1 posted on 10/17/2001 5:10:12 AM PDT by summer
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To: Amelia; Dianna; Teacher317; rightofrush; truthkeeper
FYI. :)
2 posted on 10/17/2001 5:10:53 AM PDT by summer
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To: summer
Reuters Photo
First lady Laura Bush smiles as she meets with kindergarten students Gary Anderson (R) and Jasmine Harris (L) at the South 17th Street Elementary School in Newark New Jersey, October 16, 2001. Mrs. Bush was attending the class, which is taught by "Teach For America" teacher Mark Williams, as part of a series of school visits during "Teach For America Week". Teach for America, launched in 1989 recruits a national corps of recent college graduates from all academic majors to commit to two years of teaching in underserved schools. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Reuters Photo
U.S. first lady Laura Bush reads "Grandfather's Journey" to a class of kindergarten students at the South 17th Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, October 16, 2001. Mrs. Bush was attending the class, which is taught by "Teach For America" teacher Mark Williams, as part of a series of school visits during "Teach For America Week". Teach for America, launched in 1989, recruits a national corps of recent college graduates from all academic majors to commit to two years of teaching in underserved schools. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Reuters Photo
U.S. first lady Laura Bush holds Tydaysiah Chambers as she teaches in a class of kindergarten students at the South 17th Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey, October 16, 2001. Mrs. Bush was attending the class, which is taught by "Teach For America" teacher Mark Williams, as part of a series of school visits during "Teach For America Week". Teach for America, launched in 1989, recruits a national corps of recent college graduates from all academic majors to commit to two years of teaching in underserved schools. REUTERS/Mike Segar

3 posted on 10/17/2001 5:23:36 AM PDT by Toidylop
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To: Toidylop
Oh, thank you so very much. You made my day! :)
4 posted on 10/17/2001 5:52:31 AM PDT by summer
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To: summer
And she is a damn sight easier on the eyes than that witch Hillary! Quality shows! What a pleasant difference from the previous occupant of the White House.
5 posted on 10/17/2001 6:55:25 AM PDT by SpinyNorman
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To: SpinyNorman
And, frankly, Tipper Gore's much publicized talent of playing the drums didn't do much for me.
6 posted on 10/17/2001 7:40:56 AM PDT by summer
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To: Toidylop
The last picture of Laura says so much about her....she knows how to hold a child! What I mean is that she is cradling the girl who got her fingers stomped, but without missing a beat, is continuing to teach. She obviously spent a lot of time holding her own children. Any real mom knows what it is like to hold one sad child while still making dinner. We would have never seen this picture from Hillary.
7 posted on 10/17/2001 9:07:37 AM PDT by Explorer89
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To: SpinyNorman; summer
A happy BTTT. It's nice to have a first class lady as first lady again.
8 posted on 10/17/2001 1:34:47 PM PDT by rightofrush
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To: summer
Somehow all this bear-hug touchy-feely, feel-good dribble about public education... doesn't change my desire to seek the abolition of state-run schools.
9 posted on 10/17/2001 1:42:31 PM PDT by paleolibertarian
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To: paleolibertarian
my desire to seek the abolition of state-run schools.

It's not really the topic of this thread, but i'm interested in knowing what your alternative would be?

10 posted on 10/17/2001 2:30:29 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: summer
Ms. Bush, a former teacher herself, seemed to warm to the task instantly.

That's because she's a Real Teacher. Not everyone in charge of a classroom is, you know.

11 posted on 10/17/2001 2:36:16 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: Amelia
Dearest Amelia,

Thank you for your TWO fantastic posts, #10 and #11!

Sincerely,
summer :)
12 posted on 10/17/2001 2:45:23 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
I never get tired of reading these articles about First Lady Laura Bush. IMO, she is just wonderful. She is one of the few people who enables me to feel proud to say I am a certified teacher. Thank you, First Lady -- and teacher -- Laura Bush.

I'm kind of late getting to this thread, but thanks for posting this article! I agree that I never get tired of reading articles about our gracious, charming, loving and very real First Lady! (And I'm a teacher too).

You can see how comfortable children are when they are around her, and how comfortable and nurturing she is with them! And the way she comforted that little girl without missing a beat was fantastic.

Incidentally, her husband is a natural with kids too. Every time I see either of them with kids, I have to smile! Kids know the real thing when they see it! What a fabulous couple they are! America has been blessed!!

13 posted on 10/20/2001 1:12:59 PM PDT by ohioWfan
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To: paleolibertarian; Amelia
doesn't change my desire to seek the abolition of state-run schools.

Maybe he'd like to see millions of uneducated kids running loose on the streets?????.........

None of these people have solutions. Trust me, I've debated here at FR with many of them. They just like to spout anti- "government school" rhetoric, and insult people who don't agree with them.

What Laura Bush is doing to create an interest in having qualified people go into public school teaching is absolutely fantastic! Way to go, Laura!!

14 posted on 10/20/2001 1:20:13 PM PDT by ohioWfan
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To: paleolibertarian
the abolition of state-run schools.

The emphasis was on teachers--recruiting quality people to become teachers, encouraging quality teachers to stay in the profession. The fact remains that, at least for now, most kids go to public schools. Improving the quality of teachers in those schools would help immensely.

15 posted on 10/20/2001 1:28:09 PM PDT by giotto
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To: Explorer89
Good points. Laura does look at ease with the children.

The child in the last picture seems to be clinging to the First Lady. What good vibes she must emit for a child to do that with a stranger.

16 posted on 10/20/2001 1:37:22 PM PDT by Churchillspirit
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To: summer
Anecdotes from here in Tejas suggest that who you see is what you get.
17 posted on 10/20/2001 1:42:53 PM PDT by RobbyS
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To: ohioWfan
Dear ohioWfan,

Thanks very much for your upbeat and warm post #13 -- and, always so nice to meet yet another teacher on this forum!

Sincerely,
summer :)
18 posted on 10/20/2001 1:46:49 PM PDT by summer
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To: ohioWfan
And, a HUGE bump to your post #14!
19 posted on 10/20/2001 1:48:08 PM PDT by summer
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To: giotto
Improving the quality of teachers in those schools would help immensely.

Unfortunately, teaching is not a very attractive profession to many people qualified to teach. Low pay and long hours, dead end opportunity in terms of greater career advancement, and dim-wit administrators are all part of the picture.
20 posted on 10/20/2001 1:50:17 PM PDT by summer
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To: rightofrush
Laura Bush is definitely a First Class Lady and a breath of fresh air as our newest First Lady. :)
21 posted on 10/20/2001 1:57:33 PM PDT by cubreporter
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To: ohioWfan
None of these people have solutions.

I notice I've yet to get an answer to my question.... :)

22 posted on 10/20/2001 2:33:39 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: Amelia
But, Amelia, I just LOVE IT that you keep on asking your question on this forum! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
23 posted on 10/20/2001 2:38:12 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
She's a natural, isn't she? Look at how that child is clinging to her. And the happy faces of the rest of the kids. She definitely has a gift.

BTW summer, we're all proud that you're a teacher. Over the past year we've all come to know and appreciate you and I, for one, am glad you are teaching America's children.

24 posted on 10/20/2001 2:44:17 PM PDT by McGavin999
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To: summer
It is difficult not to make comparisons between Laura Bush and the previous occupier of that position of First Lady. But I shall try.

Laura Bush is the epitome of grace, dignity, and a deep sense of love. Love for her man; love for children; and love for her country and her fellow Americans. When I see and hear Mrs. G. W. Bush I get that same sense of pride in her as our first lady as I got and still get when seeing her mother in law Barbara.

Thank you summer for the post and thank God we have a "lady" in every sense of the world occupying the White House these days.

25 posted on 10/20/2001 2:52:06 PM PDT by ImpBill
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To: McGavin999
BTW summer, we're all proud that you're a teacher. Over the past year we've all come to know and appreciate you and I, for one, am glad you are teaching America's children.

Dear McGavin,

Thank you so much for your kind words.

I have taught American children as recently as this past spring, and I am a certified FL teacher and intend to remain one.

However, this year I turned down a job offer to continue teaching at the public school where I was teaching. Maybe someday I will want to teach again, but, right now I am exploring other adventures. Who knows, maybe you will someday buy a children's book written by me!

But, I am truly touched by what you wrote. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

summer :)
26 posted on 10/20/2001 2:55:34 PM PDT by summer
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To: ImpBill
You are very welcome. If I had a job just reading or proofreading news releases, all day long, about: Laura Bush, well, I think that would be a great job.
27 posted on 10/20/2001 2:58:08 PM PDT by summer
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To: Toidylop
I truly adore the First Lady (and her husband!)

Thanks for the pics, though I've already seen them, they are a joy to see again.

28 posted on 10/20/2001 3:07:39 PM PDT by mombonn
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To: summer
I am exploring other adventures.

You are a sugar! Best wishes in whatever field you find yourself!

29 posted on 10/20/2001 3:11:31 PM PDT by mombonn
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To: mombonn
Thanks, mombonn. I think whatever I do will relate in some way to teaching. :)
30 posted on 10/20/2001 3:16:55 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
"Unfortunately, teaching is not a very attractive profession to many people qualified to teach. Low pay and long hours, dead end opportunity in terms of greater career advancement, and dim-wit administrators are all part of the picture."

After spending forty years in public school education, as both a teacher and a school psychologist, I feel qualified to comment. You are so right. Add then, the mandated procedures emanating from both state and federal offices of education, often not well thought through (my spouse has a comment which fits: "NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE PERSON WHO DOESN'T HAVE TO DO IT!)--like full inclusion of special needs children in regular education classes -- and you can see why teachers often leave the field.

This morning, I received an e-mail from a Totally Class Act Special Education Teacher I know, which brought sadness to my heart. She shall remain nameless to protect her privacy, but I believe she won't mind my sharing her dilemma, which is certainly NOT confined to her district, for the move to put special needs children in regular classrooms is widespread. This is part of what she wrote:

"Full inclusion started in our district ...and the remainder of the schools will be fully included next year. ...I have such mixed emotions about what will happen to our special children. So many questions like: 1)How will the teachers handle this? 2)Will they get adequate training to meet the needs? 3)Will they get adequate support to meet the needs? 3)Will the children receive the direct instruction that so many of them need? 4)How will their self esteem be affected? 5) Will only a small group of teachers who are tolerant and not the squeaky wheels have special needs kids always placed in their rooms????? and on and on and on.

So far there has minimal training and planning for what is going to happen and it really frightens me. I understand and appreciate some of the positives of inclusion, ...but I am afraid the one size fits all is not the solution, rather what is "appropriate" for each child.

I know that I do not want to be the inclusion support person going from classroom to classroom trying to meet the needs of these children. So the sad news is I am moving to a regular ed. position... It has been a very difficult decision, but one I feel I had to make. Emotions are high and tears are always ready to flow... Keep me in your prayers!"

This wonderful teacher speaks from the point of view of the teachers and the special needs children she has excelled at teaching in a self-contained environment. A third perspective needs to be considered: how will the rest of the children learn at anything like an optimum level when a special needs child who screams and acts out or rolls on the floor distracts both them and their teacher; when a developmentally delayed child requiring a great deal of 1:1 attention takes up an inordinate amount of the teacher's energy and attention; when a child clearly frustrated because he can perceive how far short of the other children he falls becomes angry and aggressive...?

Will there still be teachers in every classroom after this has gone on for awhile? Yes. Will they be the best our workforce has to offer? Often, sadly, no. Many will be on waivers, and if they become overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, they will move to more satisfying employment. The ones who are there simply to "put in their time and draw a paycheck" may stay at their posts. Come what may, this is an example of what happens when bureaucrats sit at mahogany desks far away from the trenches occupied by the teachers who must implement their poorly thought out directives.

Sometimes I am glad to be retired and away from it all. My friends, still in education, tell me that they envy me.

31 posted on 10/20/2001 4:03:28 PM PDT by MI_too
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To: ohioWfan
I'm a homeschooler, and do not believe in dismantling public education. I'd like to dismantle the NEA, and the gazillion PC ideas that are currently strangling the education of too many of America's youth. I also believe that education is NOT a federal issue, except in very rare instances.

Laura Bush brings much needed respect to the profession.

32 posted on 10/20/2001 4:08:32 PM PDT by joathome
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To: summer
Thanks! Let's remember these and more mental images of a terrific First Lady when the Demo-Crats start tearing down GWB and our party.... Yeah, she's a great woman, you can SEE it in her eyes.
33 posted on 10/20/2001 4:23:28 PM PDT by BulletBras
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To: summer
I made it all the way to signing up for student teaching before realizing that I'd be a terrible teacher.

Instead, I went to work for Merrill Lynch as a secretary in l971, became a broker in 1977. I'm still a broker, while now working in a bank.

Guess what? Being a broker is being a teacher one-on-one when done properly. So is being a parent. So is teaching Sunday School for Middle School/High School. All of the above I've done. All of the above I've loved.

Go figure. Maybe I should have gone for that certificate after all! ;-)

34 posted on 10/20/2001 4:31:10 PM PDT by mombonn
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To: MI_too
I'm frustrated at how our educational system seems to swing back & forth between extremes, when something in the middle is usually most effective (one example being the whole-word vs. phonics debate).

Somewhere way back, "special needs" children just weren't educated. If they couldn't make it in a regular classroom, they just stayed home.

After everyone was required to go to school, they developed special ed. classes for the kids who couldn't make it in regular classrooms. Problem then was, those children were separated from the other kids, which could be embarrassing to them, or could mean they wouldn't know how to interact with "normal" kids. Only thing is, they were put in special classrooms because they didn't function well in regular classrooms - so now we want to put them back in the same environment they couldn't handle before?

Doesn't make sense to me. Sounds as if we're being politically correct at the expense of the kids.

35 posted on 10/20/2001 4:34:42 PM PDT by Amelia
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To: joathome
Laura Bush brings much needed respect to the profession.

Yes, she does. Too bad we did not have a teacher in the White House for the past eight years. I believe it could have made a big difference for many teachers who have since left the profession.
36 posted on 10/20/2001 5:03:25 PM PDT by summer
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To: MI_too
MI,

Your post #31 is incredible. Here is what I would write back to your friend, if I was the one answering her email:

1)How will the [regular ed] teachers handle this?

Many will not handle it well -- as you know. It depends on how recent their training is in education. The newer teachers may be better prepared. The older ones may be quite angry.

2)Will they get adequate training to meet the needs?

Not if they haven't already had it. Also, there is the following problem: many longtime, 'regular ed' teachers do NOT want to be 'special ed' teachers -- THAT's why they became REGULAR ed teachers.

3)Will they get adequate support to meet the needs? Probably not -- as you already know.

3)Will the children receive the direct instruction that so many of them need?

Highly unlikely -- as you well know.

4)How will their self esteem be affected? Negatively.

5) Will only a small group of teachers who are tolerant and not the squeaky wheels have special needs kids always placed in their rooms?????

Eventually, yes.

Well, that's the way it is. And, unfortunately: she faced an extremely difficult decision. But, I believe she made the right choice for herself and the special ed students she will now have in her class. In addition, all her new, regular ed students will greatly benefit from her 'special ed teaching strategies' -- as these are, in fact, great teaching strategies for ALL students, as newer teachers know.
37 posted on 10/20/2001 5:17:11 PM PDT by summer
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To: mombonn
Guess what? Being a broker is being a teacher one-on-one when done properly. So is being a parent. So is teaching Sunday School for Middle School/High School. All of the above I've done. All of the above I've loved.

Go figure. Maybe I should have gone for that certificate after all! ;-)


Dear mombonn,

Guess what?

Our fabulous Fl gov, Jeb Bush, created something just for experienced, professional people like you: It's an Adjunct Teaching Certificate.

So, if you eventually move here to FLORIDA, all that valid teaching experience you ALREADY HAVE will COUNT -- and, you can become certified to teach part-time in the schools.

Save this web site address: www.teachinflorida.com

And, if you want to keep up with any adjunct teaching news here in FL, you can subscribe to his newsletter, published by the gov's office:

www.myflorida.com/subscribe

And -- Let me know when you relocate here! :)
38 posted on 10/20/2001 5:22:41 PM PDT by summer
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To: Amelia
Great example you gave to illustrate your point, Amelia: the "phonics" verses "whole language" debate. Not everything has to be "one or the other." Take the best of everything -- and use it to the kid's benefit.
39 posted on 10/20/2001 5:26:17 PM PDT by summer
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To: BulletBras
Thanks! Let's remember these and more mental images of a terrific First Lady ...

I really think she is one of the greatest assets of the GOP. She enables people like me -- a certified teacher and lifelong former Dem -- to believe it is possible to vote GOP. I'm sorry to admit this, but: I never would have thought that before. Never.
40 posted on 10/20/2001 5:28:40 PM PDT by summer
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To: summer
Well, Summer, as a homeschool mom, I do tend to think it's virtually "all" phonics. :) Whole language teaches kids to look at words as a whole instead of breaking the words down into their sound symbols. Just as children need consistent practice in left to right orientation, they also need consistent practice in decoding from left to right.

Ya' know, good readers will learn to read with just about any method of instruction, while poor readers who need extra help are done a serious disservice by being confused by the whole language approach. Besides, "whole language" is extremely time consuming and expensive. I can teach a child to read with a little phonics primer, while whole language instruction costs the taxpayer a fortune, and kids spend hours "playing" at reading, instead of actually learning to read.

Just my 2 cents. Glad to see you around. :)

41 posted on 10/20/2001 6:40:11 PM PDT by joathome
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To: summer
"Unfortunately, teaching is not a very attractive profession to many people qualified to teach. Low pay and long hours, dead end opportunity in terms of greater career advancement, and dim-wit administrators are all part of the picture."

Yes, you are soooooo right. I love children. I love to teach. When I finish homeschooling my own children, I doubt that I'll be tempted to enter the bureaucratic maze of American public education. Sad, but true. I'll probably volunteer as a literacy volunteer when I find the time, to help all the folks who never learned to read in school. :)

42 posted on 10/20/2001 6:43:10 PM PDT by joathome
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To: joathome
"Whole language teaches kids to look at words as a whole"

I agree with you in that what you cite above is the weakest part of "whole language" -- but, using the words in context, in reading (and, in reading good literature) and writing, and integrating: speaking, writing, reading, listening -- these are the elements of what some term "whole language" that I strongly endorse.
43 posted on 10/20/2001 6:46:49 PM PDT by summer
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To: joathome
"while poor readers who need extra help are done a serious disservice by being confused by the whole language approach

I agree with you on that too, and studies in CA have shown the whole language approach without phonics was nothing but a complete disaster.
44 posted on 10/20/2001 6:48:25 PM PDT by summer
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To: joathome
I love children. I love to teach

Same here. But, oddly enough, "loving children," and "loving teaching," too often has very little to do with the profession of teaching in comparison with other time-consuming tasks. The teaching part of teaching I always liked -- and, if that was actually the JOB, then, I might still want to be a teacher right now. But, teaching is NOT what most teachers do for the vast majority of their time in the classroom. If they do teach, it is almost incidental.
45 posted on 10/20/2001 6:51:28 PM PDT by summer
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To: joathome
joathome, BTW, it's nice to chat with you again too. I was thinking about what I just wrote here, and I realized this: the one place where I felt I was able to teach was in higher education. Because, there, I had a BLOCK of time to teach, uninterupted, and TIME to plan. But, on the elementary level, I would try and try to plan what I wanted to do, and there was simply NEVER enough time for me to PLAN and then DO it. I never ever once came home from working in an elementary school or middle school feeling like this: "Wow! I had a good day today! I did everything I wanted to do!"

But, in higher ed, I actaually DID have days when I came home and thought: "Wow! I had a great class tonight! I got to everything I wanted to do -- and, MORE than I planned, and it was GREAT!"

If I teach again in the near future, it will probably be in higher ed -- because there, I felt some success. In elementary and middle schools, despite improvements in the students' learning, higher test scores, etc., all the rest of it -- I never once felt like I had a successful day. Never once. Because I knew: I wanted to do THIS today, but because of THIS cr*p I had to deal with today, I DIDN'T GET TO IT. AGAIN. It's a terrible feeling.
46 posted on 10/20/2001 7:16:14 PM PDT by summer
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To: joathome
And, yes, I know I have some typos and spelling errors up there in my post! :)
47 posted on 10/20/2001 7:19:26 PM PDT by summer
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To: joathome
I'd like to dismantle the NEA, and the gazillion PC ideas that are currently strangling the education of too many of America's youth.

I sure agree with you on this joathome!! The NEA is corrupt down to its crayola shavings, and needs to be discarded!

As to the PC ideas, I believe (and pray) that 9/11 has helped remove many of them, and that others will follow. I believe that the minority ACLU types that have kept school administrators and teachers huddled in a corner afraid of everything right and good, have at least temporarily, been silenced.

Perhaps now is the time to reclaim public schools as AMERICAN institutions, and get them out of the hands of the leftists!

48 posted on 10/20/2001 7:43:54 PM PDT by ohioWfan
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To: ohioWfan
Perhaps now is the time to reclaim public schools as AMERICAN institutions, and get them out of the hands of the leftists!

Well, ohioWfan, as a fellow teacher, you know: something like 50% of all of America's teachers are in the process of retiring, and will be retired within the next ten years. So, now really IS the time for new people to enter the field.
49 posted on 10/21/2001 2:51:16 AM PDT by summer
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To: joathome
And, one more thing, joathome -- gee, you reall got me started here!

It may sound like I dismissed my students' success as the measure for my own success as a teacher. But, I didn't -- that's why I know I really WAS a successful teacher.

The struggle I described to you was a very private struggle raging inside of me: this desire to set goals AND to achieve my daily goals in teaching. I did not like that I always felt I had reached high, and fallen short. Yes, I still had success with my students. Yet, in my own heart: why can't I ever have ONE day where I can feel GREAT about my job as a teacher at the end of the day? I felt great about my students, but, looking at TEACHING made me feel frustrated in my desire and the result. In teaching, aiming high means: I am always coming up short. But, yes, I am having success with my students, and I guess that should count more in my own private scorecard.

But, I came to teaching after being in other professions. In other professions, there is a sense of completeness, of finishing a project, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that. In teaching, it is unfinished business at all times. As soon as my student reaches this learning objective, I do not see my task as a teacher as "done" -- it is NOT done, because now, I have this OTHER learning objective in mind. And this feeling of NEVER being able to say: I am finished for today (as I am always taking a ton of work home), is so frustrating. I am never finished in teaching. Perhaps over a decade or more, I would have been able to handle that, or with the help of a mentor I could have redirected that feeling, but, instead, day in and day out, I would come home feeling, in some way, like a failure. And, no one can stand to go to work everyday knowing that regardless of how much one does accomplish, it is not nearly enough, at least in my view.
50 posted on 10/21/2001 3:00:03 AM PDT by summer
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