F@$%ed up S&!t


At one point, I had to check the URL to confirm this wasn’t an article from the Onion.  This is the story of a new technique in providing teachers immediate feedback (in this case regarding classroom discipline, where coaches sit in the back of a room, and give teachers instructions on what to do.  The coaches speak into a radio, and the teacher hears what they say through a wireless earpiece, and then repeats what (s)he is told to do.

This is yet a further example of “experts” who believe that education is somehow improved by making it joyless for students and teachers.  When people get to the point when they simply won’t accept that there is no best way to teach everyone, they will start inventing strange and weird things that are completely ineffective, because by the time people figure it out, the people who came up with this have made their money and have moved on to new things.

If you read the article, you will note how very robotic the descriptions are (don’t cross your legs while walking, don’t offer praise, don’t be emotional), yet the rebuttal from the people who ran this note that their system was based on observing some of the very best teachers in the country.  That’s incredible that their idea of teaching is monotone, and without positive or negative expression.  My guess is that they good teachers were the teachers from the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers who led their students into a theater to go to sleep and wake up as emotionless copies of themselves.  I joke, but the fact that nothing this  teacher said was rebutted … just that she disagreed with them, tells me that the description was fairly accurate, and if that’s the case, it is pretty bad.

I can’t emphasize this enough:  schools get bled for thousands and tens of thousands of dollars each year by what I would consider the modern equivalent of snake oil salesmen. These folks show up at administrative conferences and pitch their medicine, or write an article that shows up in some administrator journal (they aren’t peer reviewed, so it isn’t like you need to demonstrate anything … and since education research is a circle jerk of self-referencing, it isn’t like you need to actually demonstrate anything empirically). Some ignorant administrator (and the world has tons of these) likes what they see, and hire these folks.  These folks might make it to 4-5 school districts in a year, and 10-15k is a very reasonable sum for them to command.  If you are nearly retired to a retired teacher/administrator, that’s supplementary income that is good for a year (and your travel is picked up by the schmoes who hired you).

And when the teachers invariably detect  the snake-oiliness of the medicine being sold, the teachers either shut up and privately laugh, or are told that  they are not “open-minded” enough.  In today’s day and age, that not “being open-minded enough” is grounds for termination in most states, and in the rest, it can influence a final evaluation, which could get you terminated.

The good news for those terminated teachers is that, if they are creative enough, they can deduce their own snake-oil that they can then turn around and sell to districts, buying them a couple of years before needing to get a new job.


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