"Kindness is the greatest floss..." from The Razor's Edge

When I was in college working at Muir's Drug Store on Michigan Avenue, I remember reading an article about a "rudeness syndrome" that was sweeping the country. Part of the problem, the author felt, was the younger generation's lack of concern for humanity and continual focus on self. I could not stop laughing when I read it! Interestingly though, as I shared the article with friends, family, and co-workers, they agreed with the author! That was in the seventies, and I am happy to report that forty some years later, a New York Times writer, Nicholas Kristof, believes that people are getting nicer. Well, it's about time, don't you think!!

Teacher's Lounge

We dig deep from our hearts as teachers to extend ourselves in the creation of effective, engaging lessons to take students into areas of learning that we ourselves love, or once loved.  For what we teach are students first and the subject we know best and chose to spend hours researching.  Over time, however, it is possible that we change as individuals and begin to feel as if the humanistic side of our careers is taking a back seat to data.  It is impossible to change without conflict of some sort and those conflicting feelings are worth listening to. An interesting report from the Anenburg Foundation states:

 "Teaching is the single most important in-school influence on student learning (Johnson et al. 2005). It’s what matters most inside schools. But when any one player in a very important game gets that kind of attention, it’s easy to forget about other factors, like the rest of the team (other teachers and student support professionals), the condition of the playing field (the school’s physical environment and instructional resources), and the strength of the coaches (principals and school leaders), to name a few. "  

Recent posts from teachers around the country indicate that school environments are unfavorable for teaching in some schools.  Discipline parameters render administrators and district officials mute, when trying to attain the numbers and percentages asked for in student referrals. Teachers are stressed at feeling like no one is listening when they say their school feels unsafe, or that it is challenging to teach when bands of students are roving about the hallways during class time.  These are cases where the condition of the "playing field" and the strength of the "coaches" can affect outcomes.

To read the complete report, click here. 

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