Author Archives: talfred76

Don’t Do What You Love, The Money May Not Follow

It is a common cliche that people use, “Do what you love the money will follow”, that may not be so true in our struggling economy. The author of The Chronicle article, “What You Can’t Tell Your Student’s Anymore”, Pamela Newkirk is worried that she may have overused this phrase. Newkirk expressed concern that her student’s will not be afforded the same opportunities she was because her students are dealing with different financial issues, for example debt from student loans.  This is a valid concern from Newkirk because as a professor and parent she has a certain responsibility to present reality to her students and daughters. To continue to tell students to chase their dreams with the hope that “money will follow” is problematic without giving full details of sacrifices that will have to be made.

Newkirk has faith in this generation but after rethinking her advice she has realized that she must set out the sacrifices that one may need to make in order to “do what they love”. Newkirk feels that her advice may have lead some of her past students to stay “un- or underemployed” by internships in hopes to get a job. She now revises that notion explaining, “there is honorable work to be found while pursuing your dreams”, a needed reality for students who may avoid low ,or any paying, job beside that of their interest. Newkirk’s revelation about her teaching advice made me start thinking about my own teaching career and the advice I may give. In a world where reality hits 6 months after graduation, when Sallie Mae calls to start collecting on school loans, it seems like an injustice to try and sugar coat the truth to students but there is also a desire to keep the hope of their dreams alive.

Going into education it was my hope to inspire someone to do and be something great. This notion of giving students the truth of the “real” world my hinder the persistent students. Their are some students out there who, maybe one day, would have turned their dream internship into their career and this new advice, Newkirk has decided upon, may stop that. I always knew that being a teacher was a balancing act but I guess I never realized how complex of an act. Newkirk’s article really opened my eyes to how careful I must be even with the smallest cliches I say to my students.

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Teachers Are Important!

In response to a recent article in The Atlantic by Peg Tyre, a debate question has been posted. The debate, titled “Why American Students Can’t Write”, examines the success of a previously struggling high school in New York—New Dorp High– after changing their curriculum. This debate question argues that the reason students cannot write is because of all the focus on creative writing, rather than grammar. Using New Dorp High as an example, with its improved test scores and lowered drop out rate, “suggest that the trend toward teaching creative writing was hurting American students.”In rebuttal, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen wrote her article “The Best Writing Teachers Are Writers Themselves”.Allen’s article gives more of a complete look at both New Dorp High and creative writing. Prepping students to be tested is merely a bandage to a larger problem and is apart of what New Dorp High did. By getting rid of creative writing and implementing more standardized writing to pass standardized tests, schools will see the desired raise in their scores.

New Dorp High did more than this. New Dorp High put a much needed focus on hiring the right teachers and getting them trained. This strategy is what made New Dorp High successful. It is not wonder that this strategy raised New Dorp high’s scores. Student’s ability to write in a standardized form, and nothing more was the result. Creative writing is important for the writing that students will experience throughout their lives. Allen believes that, just as with New Dorp High, teachers important to successfully impact change. Allen ‘s article calls for a needed change in not just the English curriculum but also, a change in English teachers. In order to teach students writing skills that will benefit their lives. The focus needs to change from testing results to long-term result, starting with the teachers.

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