Friday, June 13, 2014

Comment of the Day - 13 June 2014

We blogged on Monday with Hekia Parata's response to NZEI negativity over National's Investing in Educational Success policy. A robust debate ensued, even if it was rather one-sided, with Dave Kennedy trying to defend NZEI's position against all comers. We admire his dedication, but with disagree with his argument.

Early yesterday morning there was a new comment left on the post. We contacted Tom, the author, and asked for permission to use the comment as the basis for a new post. He gave permission late yesterday, so here's what Tom had to say:

Tom said...
Sorry for this late comment -

I would like to focus BSprout’s particular statement regarding teacher aides for children with disabilities. Despite apparently being a teacher, he clearly knows nothing or anything about this particular topic.

I am deaf and I was mainstreamed into a primary school. And I can say definitively that a useless, hopeless teacher was and still is much more damaging to a disabled child’s educational progress than any lack of hours with a teacher aide.
A teacher aide, even though they can be a godsend, is not a substitute for a good teacher. Their role is meant to be supporting the child in particular ways that teachers do not do. For example, my one checked that my aids and implant processor were working, that batteries were in ample supply, that the FM system was hooked up and took loads and loads of notes/transcriptions for me to read.

Far more often than not though, teachers took this to be an excuse to slack off with me – they frequently did not bother to approach me or check my work even at my aide’s insistence, they refused to add more visual aids to their teaching (e.g. key words written on board as teacher talks) and put me in the too hard basket. They often expected my aide to do the whole job of teaching me when their job is really to facilitate the education.

Virtually all of the teachers in my first primary school were of this type. They were all useless, slackers and encouraged each others’ behaviour, refused to be accountable to my parents and the BOT, and had a useless leadership team. There was nothing my teacher aide or my parents could do, except switch my entire family to another school on the other side of town (instead of having to walk one block as we did before.)

At this new school, teachers had already worked with quite a few children with disabilities, they had gone out and gotten extra training and the principal, well, she brooked no crap or slackness from anyone who entered the school. The teacher aides (including mine) became part of a team with the teaching staff, and the teaching staff were inclusive and flexible to make their teaching style workable for all children – those with disabilities and those without.

So I can definitely say with confidence having experienced the system first hand that the biggest problem facing children with disabilities is not lack of teacher aiding hours. The biggest problem by miles are the absolutely useless p.o.s teachers who should have been ages ago or made to up their game but haven’t because the unions shield those people from ever having accountability.

I would also like to say that I deeply resent BSprout’s teachers-knows-best attitude and that the entire education system should just be left to teachers and never be accountable to children and their parents, the ones that are actually receiving and paying via taxes and donations for the service. If I had been left to mercy of useless w**kery lazy-arse teachers, I do not want to know where I would be today.

Apologies at having written an entire novel,

This certainly provides an interesting alternative perspective, and we thank Tom for allowing us to highlight it. We don't propose to add anything; this is Tom's perspective of the school system, and his words can do the talking.


POY said...

Wait, a real world example tends to be at complete odds with what a Green party person claims?

I need a lie down.

Keeping Stock said...

I know POY; it's a shock, isn't it...

POY said...

All jokes aside, I remember fondly the teachers who were the best ones I had. Who took an effort to actually mould the courses so you could find them interesting.

And I had other teachers who read from the textbook and didn't care.

We are pretty world class in a lot of ways for teaching - why punish the good teachers but paying them the same as a crap teacher?

Keeping Stock said...

I think most of us can relate to that POY, especially at secondary school. We all knew who the good teachers were, and we all knew which teachers were just going through the motions.

Paranormal said...

Interesting that Toms experiences are still being perpetrated on students.

Only last year a family member who is eligible for teacher aide assistance was denied that assistance by a teacher that would not allow the aide in the classroom. This was the last straw for the family who had moved towns so their child could finally receive decent teaching at a new school (I have commented on this previously).

The family was rightly furious. It was only through MOE becoming involved that the teacher was suspended and the assistance they were rightly entitled to, and funded for, could be provided. Teachers and their union are part of the problem and the sooner DK recognises that, the sooner we can start sorting out the poor performing tail of students they fail.

Still, to paraphrase, BS is as bs does.

Kane Bunce said...

I remember it was one of my better teachers in high school that noticed based purely on the fact that I squinted that I needed glass and then advised me of that fact and to sit closer to the whiteboard in the mean time. Most of the others either didn't notice that I had issues reading stuff on the whiteboard or didn't care.

(Sorry about the late comment but I had a combo of being busy and then having my net was done for a few days.)