I know a bad teacher

I want to tell you about a teacher I know that is stuck in the past and I think is doing a disservice to her students. I recently spent a day teaching in an adjacent open room, and it was frightening how out of touch her teaching was. Lets just say this teacher is definitely not giving her students the 21c skills they will need in a rapidly changing world. These kids are going to have multiple jobs in their lifetime and she is not helping at all with her pedagogy. Lets bounce!

I don’t want to be too critical about this teacher, it’s just that she doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the latest movements in education. If you want to see the old ‘factory teaching model’, this teacher has the lot. Creativity and innovation might be foreign concepts to her.

First up the classroom layout. It’d basically a big u shape. All the desks pushed together so that she can “Reach students quickly and efficiently”. Say what? Where’s the student input? It sounds like its practical for her to help students, but please, what about the students and their desires. She even has some students at the front because they seem to be requiring refocusing apparently. How embarrassing for these kids. Yes she is keeping them on track, but what about student autonomy?

The classroom walls I would describe as boring. There are no posters, nothing to motivate the children to be the best they can, to aim for the stars. There is some student artwork, but mainly just words written all over the place. Apparently she believes that children are going to have use of words like, malevolent, disassociate and poignant. What’s worse she drums these words into the children. She stands in front of her teacher dominated class (endlessly talking) and explicitly pouring this knowledge into these poor empty vessels. It’s heartbreaking to watch other students unable to sometimes hold a conversation with her students because they are using words other students don’t know and have no use for.

There is no discovery learning. Full stop. These children are constantly being told what the teacher is looking for. Yes the students are collaborating, but it’s only what she tells them to collaborate on. If some student tries to show some initiative and work on something else she stops them. Hardly motivating or engaging I would have thought.

This ultra traditional teaching is a big and very sad part of the day. And at the end of the day she then makes these students sit in silence for 20 minutes and read. It is a situation where the students must comply. No room for compromise. She is definitely the boss, in a very teacher-centered classroom. At one stage she even had them discussing a dead white male philosopher, like that’s going to be relevant or have any real world connection for these kids.

I just feel like shaking this woman and saying, “Get on twitter, follow some inspirational educational thinkers, and find out how wrong you are”. Her students are going to need to be ultra- entrepreneurial in their work life. 75% of today’s jobs wont even exist in 10 years time.  He is.. sorry, she, is teaching them for a time that has past. Sadly this teacher seems blissfully unaware of this fact.

If you have read this far, thank you and well done.

MJ @seminyaksunset


Reasons Why Teachers Must be Entrepreneurs

None, they shouldn’t be, it’s  bullshit.

If you are a follower of Australian Edutwitter, you would be aware you can’t go 5 minutes without someone tweeting about students needing 21st century skills such as innovation, collaboration and creativity etc. There will of course be the ubiquitous edu/intra/teachpreneur or one of the dozens of different type of preneurs we apparently need teachers and students to be. There is just one small problem with this type of talk, it’s bullshit. Let’s bounce.

The edupreneur 21c crowd love to drag out the tired phrase ‘Factory modeling of school’ which for the most part is an invented history , nonetheless the idea is that we can’t run schools just to churn out workers like we used to. Often in the same breath, subsequent to prattling on about industrial era education, we are then told what employers are looking for and we must give students the aforementioned 21c skills. Same model different factories apparently.

I won’t get in to the argument about whether creativity and innovation are especially important in the 21st century, other than to say the ancient Romans were my favourite innovative and creative society.  So next time you see a tweet about teachers needing to be some kind of made up word ending in ‘preneur’, politely ask them “Why do they think this?”  Then grab a shit proof virtual umbrella, because the crap is about to fly!

If you have read this far, thank you and well done.

MJ @seminyaksunset