It is no secret that the education system, especially in the USA, is broken and neglected.
Kids are held to one standard of greatness while coming from uneven backgrounds. Standardized tests crush students' hopes and dreams and make them believe they are less-than on a daily basis.
Teachers aren't even required to care about teaching to teach. Schools are understaffed, under-funded, and sad.
Here were some of those answers.
Failure Is An Important Tool
Students should be allowed to fail.
Absolutely. You can't learn from your mistakes if they're never seen as mistakes.
Destroying Good Teachers
My mom is a high school teacher in the US. The biggest problem (at least in her school district) is the administration not focusing on the students, and pushing for making the district look good. So to answer the question: I would add more checks and balances to the district administration to force them to do what is best for the students.
A few years back, the board in my mom's district decreased teacher funding, but the superintendent's salary got a big boost which put him over $200k.
Half the actual course material has to be tossed so half the year can be used to teach students how to pass the standardized tests.
The past few years they have been having an issue with the administration forcing the teachers to pass the students to make the district numbers better. I'm not talking about bumping up a 60 to a 70, I'm talking about passing students who have not turned in a single assignment the entire year and turn in all their tests blank.
The current Corona rules for remote schooling are as follows: If they made contact with the teacher at some point, minimum grade of 70. Take the best score out of the 2 halves of the year (students use this to do no work in the second semester since they passed the first semester).
Every year has been getting worse according to her. More and more high school seniors can't do basic multiplication. More students getting aggressive and yelling at teachers mid class and not being held responsible. I should mention, this is not a low income town, it is full of middle and upper middle families.
My mom loves teaching, she has been doing it for over 30 years. But it has gotten to the point where she just wants to retire asap so she can escape the drama.
Rights Out The Window
I'm only a substitute teacher, so I'm not sure if my opinion is relevant, but here it is:
For classes that have special education students in them for mainstreaming, I'd make it mandatory that a para-educational professional (aide) be assigned to that student, and the teacher should receive an extra stipend for each of those students that they have in the class. Because while it can be rewarding to teach such students, it is a lot of extra work, and should be compensated.
I'd also consider more intervention for kids who act up in class. I'm referring to kids who actively don't want to learn, and are disrupting class by choice on a continual basis -- I'm NOT referring to kids that have an IEP or disability that gives them a logical reason for behavior issues. If there are kids who have disengaged, we need to find out why. If they have a destructive home life, maybe the school can initiate some community outreach from social services. But if the kids are doing it just to amuse themselves, they should be pulled out of class, and if it's a chronic problem, maybe homeschooled or something -- because they are violating the right to an education of the other 29 students in that class. Just my opinion.
Side note: I've subbed for over a dozen different elementary schools, and I've noticed that the schools that have very active principals tend to have fewer behavior problems.
Higher Ed Is A Business
College professor here: I don't think people realize how bad the adjunct system is in higher education. In fact, I don't think most people even know what an adjunct is. Long-ish post below for those who want details but the TL;DR is that most college classes now are being taught by overworked, underpaid part-timers while full time faculty are slowly getting squeezed out of the system and this represents a severe threat to everything higher ed is supposed to stand for:
For a whole host of complicated reasons, full-time faculty can't teach every single class that's needed in a given department, so some part-timers are necessary to fill in for extra classes or to teach highly specialized courses that may only be offered once a semester. These part-timers are called adjuncts. In a healthy academic environment adjuncts only make up a small portion of the college faculty (say 25-30%) and are often either professionals in the field teaching college as a side-gig, retirees looking to keep themselves busy or something along those lines, and they are well compensated for their work.
Outside The USA
UK, inner-city London school, deprived area. My views are:
Staff aren't treated as professionals or trusted to do their job. Curriculums are too rigid. Schools are engineered towards exams rather than encouraging genuine passion for education and building robust social skills.
Teachers are held to account for poor exam outcomes, which defies ALL logic. Too many holes to jump through and excessive marking for staff with lack of planning time, so lesson quality is often poorer than staff aspire for. Too many useless and overpaid middle-managers and senior leaders who justify their existence by creating more work for everyone else. Academisation needs to be absolutely obliterated (we are in the 3rd poorest borough of the country where over half of all kids live in poverty and our Academy Trust CEO somehow justified taking home a quarter of a million pounds in his pay packet every year purely because Academies can determine their own pay structure to some extent. Literally "taking food from the mouths of babes").
Teaching Assistants are underpaid and undervalued but essential for large classes with students who have complex needs. Class sizes are too large so children get neglected. Schools are becoming miniature welfare states responsible for teaching, child protection and social services, feeding, toilet training, policing and parenting kids and not enough responsibility is being pushed back onto parents or kids themselves (especially teenagers.)
I can probably think of more... but I will stop there.
As I understand it, schools are funded based on property taxes of the town/area/neighborhood they're in. This leads to poor areas having underfunded schools. Maybe they should be pooled at the state or federal level and then divided among schools on the basis of number of students enrolled or something along those lines. Every child in the country should have access to the same teaching resources as every other child.
I realize throwing money at the problem isn't going to fix all the problems, but it seems like the best place to start.
It's All Practical Applications
People working for the state and national level education agencies (ie TEA, Department of Education) should be required a few times a month to go work in schools. Not just the high income private type schools, but also the Title 1 schools. It would also be reasonable for them to visit different school districts, again to get a fair picture of what is going on.
Over and over again you have people making decisions for schools they don't understand. They say things make sense on paper, but they don't see the impact it has in a classroom setting. I think that having them visit or better yet teach lessons to these kids will help keep them connected to what is truly going on.
Dick And Jane Are Bored
In English, a reform of the English spelling system would be most impactful. It would shave 2 or 3 years of "literacy" (decoding) "learning" (memorizing disguised as useless and boring games, useless and boring songs, useless and boring activities or Dick-and-Jane reading). In lieu, more crucial subjects (ethics, finance, relationships,...) could be learned and could be learned independently (since learners would be able to read anything that they like). Imagine the increase in motivation and interest. I doubt any educational reform could have more of an impact on so many learners (native or not) and especially on the lower socio-economic groups. Prove me wrong.
Socialize The System
The US does not have a system of schools. We have a multitude of systems. Some of them are even pretty good! On international standardized tests, however, all of these different systems average out to a middling result. I think these two points are fairly achievable and would help most, if not all school systems.
- Even out the wildly divergent levels of local school funding. Ideally by bringing underfunded schools up.
- Shorten the amount of time teachers spend with students. Teachers spend 6 to 7 hours a day with students. That leaves a pretty small slice of time (always at the end of the day when you are exhausted) to grade, write lesson plans, contact parents, receive training, or even just stop to reflect about what went well or badly. That all combines to cause burnout, poor performance, and an inability to improve your craft.
Ultimately though, I don't think US schools will show major improvements until a robust social safety net is in place.
Stinky Socks Is MY President
So much. For one thing, I would prioritize education over sports. Even now, I'm still salty over the fact that my senior year in high school, they cut electives and got rid of those teachers so they revamp the sports teams. Also, if you've never taught in a classroom, you are unqualified to make decisions regarding educational policies. Looking at you, admins. And lastly, no more catering to parents. Your kid doesn't do the work, too bad. They fail. And no, "stinky socks" was not the first president of the US. You are so not getting credit for that.
How We Fund Schools
Allowing students to fail and retake things. I think its important for kids to learn from their mistakes and then apply their new learning to the same task. Thats how it works in real life.
We learn a lot more from failure then we do with successes.
I also think that funding shouldn't be based off of the average family income in the area. This puts kids in low income housing at a HUGE disadvantage when in reality, they probably need the funding the most.
It's Called RACISM Kids
All teachers should have mandatory ESL and/or diversity education courses. I'm an ESL teacher (and black) and I can't tell you how many times I've had to coach a teacher through making content accessible for her one or two English language learning kiddos, or that their focus on the two black girls in the class who spend all recess teasing each other are not bullying/being aggressive.
The stereotypes that come out of even well meaning teachers is difficult to deal with. Like when a black student enrolls and the teacher finds out just mom is in the picture. "Oh, that poor soul, no dad. Again." Um no, you have never met this kid please stop. Or assuming all immigrant students and families from Asian backgrounds are easier to deal with than immigrant students and families from Latinx or African backgrounds. I taught in a city with a high Somali population and heard teachers talk about teaching at Somali charter schools and how those Somali boys are just so aggressive and they fight all the time and are so violent. Guess which kids got the cops called on them by teachers/admin the most, or were labeled as ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) or EBD (emotional behavior disorder). Special education labeling is highly racialized.
Educated people are not always very educated.
It Should Not Just Be Its Own Reward
Was a teacher for 7 years. Pay teachers more, and trust them with freedom. That's all. So many great teachers left because they couldn't afford it, and so much testing and accountability slows the good ones down.
It's not a prestigious position so there isn't competition for it.
You end up with only people who really wanted to teach and have a passion for it (awesome) and people who couldn't make it in their field (not awesome).
Our society doesn't value teachers like they should, and a lot of that issue would be fixed by paying them more (some kids respect people just for making money, the profession would attract better people and that would increase respect as well).
Also more freedom. Having so many restrictions and so much testing might be good for worse performing teacher but it is bad for strong teachers.
My last years was my first making more than the average McDonald's manager in my state, and it was close. We were planning on a third kid, I had lost my passion, and I was tired of not feeling valued by the system, respected, and safe. Now I build websites for double the pay.
Too Many Hoops To Jump Through
Quit with the endless paperwork. I spend more time on proving what I've done than the actual teaching itself. Endless goalposts shifting and duplication of paperwork (too many managers who need to justify their jobs/creating more shit to do). I just want to teach English to people who struggle.
Also, in the area I work in, the requirements of professional memberships etc can really add up. What for? So I'm a member? What does that do to help me in the classroom? Obviously I can claim them back against my tax, but it's the time and effort to jump through all the necessary hoops drives me insane.
Don't even talk to me about GDPR training, H&S training (and all the others) that need doing for EACH provision I work for. Updated every year. There is always something I need training on - that doesn't improve my CPD/overall knowledge, but just wears me down and bores me to death. Rant over.
Not a teacher but I'm training to be a teacher and I would eliminate all those standardized tests and replace them with tests that are like the ones done in the classroom already and are once a month this would eliminate so much stress for not only the children but, also the teachers.
Ten Steps Back
You would stay with one teacher for each tier of schooling.
One of the biggest issues is, every class might as well be a fresh start. You have a curriculum, sure, but every year is a gamble of how much foundation the previous class actually got and how much of the year will be review of things they should already know.
You could get so much more done if teaching a class was a continuous process with a consistent source of information rather than rolling the dice on who had Ms. Lewis or Mrs. Guerrero last year.
The key to any successful relationship is communication.
The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.
But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.
Curious to hear examples of what those might be, Redditor FamiliarFarmer8356 asked:
"What's something you wish you could tell your partner without upsetting them?"
If there is conflict, there is a way to discuss and address the issue in a civil and respectful manner.
Things Just Happen
"Every bad thing that happens doesn't require someone to be blamed for it. And that someone doesn't always have to be me."
A Cornerstone Of A Successful Union
"One of the cornerstones of a good marriage, is knowing how to argue. I’d actually say that before a couple get married, they should check how their potential partner behaves in an argument. What are they like when they get angry. It’s important because no two individuals are going to agree all the time. And on those occasions, it’s important to remember not to belittle the other. Deal with the issue at hand. And especially, don’t argue in front of the kids. You have no idea how much lasting damage this causes."
"All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest - never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership."
It's Not That Deep
"please stop complaining about everything."
"If you keep seeking out reasons to be miserable, you will find them."
"I'm tired of being dragged down with you."
There's no need to get defensive when there's something to discuss.
It's Not About You
"That some days I’m just tired from class and work and just want some me time, it’s not that I hate you my social battery is just running out."
"Her first reaction to something adverse doesn't have to be anger."
In The Words Of A Pirate
"In the wise words of captain Jack Sparrow sometimes:"
'the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude toward the problem.'
It Takes Two To Tango
"That I wish she’d be more independent so she didn’t need my help for everything outside the house."
"That it’s a little disturbing how aggressively he drives when he’s grumpy… heavy on both gas and brakes, zooming in and out of traffic, swearing at people who make mistakes… very unlike him."
Sometimes the truth hurts when talking about members of the family.
A Real Assessment
"That her mother is not a good person."
"I told my husband that it's not that his family is nosy and overbearing, it's that I hate watching him cave and negotiate as if they have a right to behave like this, and I really hate when I'm the bad guy for wanting reasonable limits."
"It got worse, then it got better, FYI."
"His parents are greedy, selfish people and treat him like an atm."
There's definitely a fine line between withholding your thoughts to protect the person you love and being brutally honest.
If coming clean isn't going to resolve an issue, then it might be better to suck it up and deal with whatever frustrations you have about the other person.
It's up to you, but make sure the delivery doesn't come from a place of rage if you do decided to be totally transparent about your negative thoughts.
Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.
What is a "black sheep" anyway?
It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.
Redditor Frozen_yoghurt123 asked:
"Who is the 'black sheep' of your family?"
I'm the black sheep or at least I'd like to think so.
"Probably my dad's cousin, who went to prison for murdering his lover's husband."
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"My Dad. He is the only one of 6 siblings who wasn't a huge f**k up. And yet, before my Grandma died she stated that he was her 'biggest disappointment.' He is estranged from his surviving siblings... not by his choice. It honestly blows my mind."
"Toxicity is often a group mindset thing; people don't want you to leave because they are dysfunctionally co-dependent on each other and need each other to justify their own shortcomings in life. A lot of the 'family loyalty' stuff is typically shouted loudest by those who are the least good idea to stay loyal towards."
"My great uncle who stole my great grandfathers identity, stole a couple million dollars, and ran off. No one even knew he was alive until my great grandfathers funeral in 2009. No one has seen him since. My grandma started to cry because she honestly thought he was dead."
"Everyone else just kind of nodded on his direction and went on with the rest of the funeral. I just remember being very confused because I was 9 and I had never met this guy who my dad pulled me aside and told me he was my great uncle. It was a few years later that I got the full story."
"According to my mean aunt, the 'matriarch' in her own mind, it's my twin brother because "he doesn't care about family now that he's a doctor." (He's a resident. Chief resident. He works ridiculous hours and spends the rest of the time recovering from work.)"
"According to my ex-MIL (who still counts because she's Son's grandma), it's me, for divorcing her son."
"According to everyone else, it's Mean Aunt. The rest of us are warm and caring and compassionate. We have our moments; all of us have been accidentally thoughtless or done something selfish once in a while, but we're not deliberately mean and snarky all the time."
"My immediate family are the black sheep of the entire family."
DarthDreganJohn Stamos Cheers GIF by GrandfatheredGiphy
Sounds like everyone has a little black sheep in them.
"By now, my brother for cutting off everyone because he prefers his rude, selfish, paranoid, narcissist wife over all of us."
"My wife is the black sheep of her family in the sense that she's the only one who isn't a rude, selfish, paranoid narcissist."
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"Me. My granddaddy told me 'I’ve only had the sheriff knock on my door two times in my 80 years, and both times he was looking for you! 'I did some dumb sh*t, caused a little trouble, burned a few bridges but always managed to stay out of jail. Partly because my sister has kept an attorney on retainer for me since I was 16."
"My younger brother (2nd of 4) is a compulsive liar and it got him in a lot of little trouble as a teen, then he told his wife he graduated a big college when we're not even sure if he got his GED because he failed to graduate HS, went to some GED school and eventually just stopped going."
"IF he graduated college, he never mentioned he was going in the 4+ years it takes nor mention graduation or have a diploma. He's not a bad dude, but now family time is super awkward when he and his wife are talking about 'their' college team."
The NOT good girl...
"My aunt's daughter. She’s been in jail for drugs, stolen money from my aunt and other family members to use on drugs and physically abused my aunt. My aunt has tried getting her help, but nothing has worked. She’s just not a good person, and everyone in my family, except my aunt, doesn’t want anything to do with her. I haven’t seen her in 8 years now, and I’m happy about that."
"A former nun - my great aunt - left the religious life and got married. She called herself 'the black sheep of the family' because her habit was black."
Back2BachExcited Julie Andrews GIF by The Rodgers & Hammerstein OrganizationGiphy
Well the black sheep sound like the most interesting family members.
Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.
There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.
A good steak.
A home repair.
The things that make you say...
"I tingle all over."
Redditor OldAboba asked:
"What is the best non-sexual physical feeling you’ve ever felt?"
Adele. Adele live. She sends me.
FloatingRelaxed Exit Strategy GIF by Hannah Bronfman Giphy
"I got a professional full body (everything but my man parts) massage a few years back for the first and so far only time at a spa after the recommendation from a coworker. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the next few days."
Through your nose...
"Sneezing when you're sick. Then you get that about 20 second feeling of breathing through your nose again and you like ahh that's what I aspire to at the moment."
"Or the very last sneeze of your illness. During a fire drill in high school, I was ambling out after fighting a head old for a few days. The alarm was killing my head which was already throbbing from the sinus pressure."
"I was nearing the field, well away from my classmates, when I cough/sneezed out a huge, green loogie - cleared it about three feet, no icky trail - and by the time I was walking back to the building I was feeling pretty much back to normal. No more head cold after that. Never had something like that ever happen again where there was such an abrupt end to the head cold."
"Right after a migraine goes away. It's almost a spiritual experience."
"This was going to be my answer. I was in the ER one time for a really bad migraine. They gave me what they called a 'migraine cocktail.' When they pushed it through the IV I could feel the cold liquid make its way through my body, up to my head. Once it hit my brain, the migraine was gone. It was pure ecstasy. Even better was that cocktail had Benadryl in it so I fell asleep not long after and slept so good."
"That stretch til you shake when you wake up."
"I once stretched too hard in the morning and got the worst calf cramp ever... it looked like a prune and I thought I would die from the pain. Couldn't stretch in bed for months afterwards out of fear it would happen again."
"When you move over 50, it turns into that stretch til you put your back into a muscle spasm that lasts days."
The ItchScratching Feel Good GIF by 60 Second DocsGiphy
"I had a cast and splint on both my legs for 2 months. When they cut it off, they scratched my legs for me and the itch was just top notch! Yeah."
Itching an itch can change a life.
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"When you're starving all day and devour a bomb a** meal."
Sleep for Life
"When you’ve been up for 20 hours+ and finally get into bed and you just know it’ll be the best sleep of your life."
"But man, after 36+ hours, the body sort of aches and it's hard to fall asleep despite being completely exhausted. Then the restless legs kick in... ugh. I do agree that a 20hr-ish stint is amazing to cuddle into, especially if you don't have to get up at any specific time the next day."
"Makes it better when you’ve been sleep deprived for weeks and know you have NO PLANS tomorrow and can sleep as much as you need."
"When you're absolutely busting for a pee and you can finally go!"
"Apparently there’s a thing called a 'pee-gasm' that people (usually women) have that causes an orgasmic feeling when you pee after holding it for a while! I’ve definitely experienced this and I’ve intentionally waited a while so I could have that good feeling... lol."
I Can Hear!!
"The feeling of water leaving your ear after being there all day."
"I had some impacted earwax for a week in one ear, and when it finally got removed it was the best feeling in the world. Initially it was like having a tv or radio in my ear that only had static, but then I could hear. Good god, I could hear. It was amazing."
"Oh man, and it’s WARM from being in your head, and the warmth makes the sensation of leaving even better."
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"Sleeping in a warm blanket in winters."
"Or sleeping in a cold blanket in summer."
I am enthralled by all of those things.
People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.
And when it is requested, think before you speak.
People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."
Redditor Gold-Ad-2827 asked:
"People with mental disorders: What do you hate being told the most?"
I hated being told to just smile. You smile and go away.
Duhseth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"It's all in your head. Where else would it?! My colon?"
"Everybody goes through that."
"This saying makes my blood boil. Or the 'I was that age once too ya know' yeah no sh*t you were that age once. And just because you were that age once doesn’t mean we have the same experience."
"They try to minimize it."
"You're worried? Just stop."
"You're sad? Just don't be."
"You're compulsively binge eating? Eat less."
"Thanks for that stellar advice."
"Or even better, 'Just do it!' As if ADHD paralysis can be stopped with a can-do attitude."
"I get so frustrated when people treat the idea of 'holistic medicine' as some kind of woo. How does it escape so many people that the body works holistically? Even a lot of doctors seem to ignore this. It's very frustrating when you have 2 or 3 or 4 illnesses that are all affecting each other, and your 'physical health' is held distinct from your mental health, and nothing anyone is doing to treat you works because no one's looking at the whole system."
"I just got a lecture from a psychiatrist I am seeing about nutrition, and he apologized to me for doing so but I told him, 'No, I appreciate it. Do it for all your patients.' because it told me he's trying to look at the whole picture and actually fix what's wrong. It gave me faith in him."
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"You need to calm down."
"Never is the history of calm down has calm down ever caused anyone to calm down."
Calm down. I hate that one. You calm down.
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"When they try to give me tips on what to do, like bruh as if I didn't already try that."
"You don't look sad. No crap... that's so I can avoid having this conversation. Also depression isn't 'being sad' like people think."
"God, I hate this. It's because saying 'I'm depressed' has been standard for people expressing that they're slightly unhappy about something dumb like not getting enough croutons on their salad or some crap. Now that's just what everyone assumes you mean when you say you have depression."
"'Stop being lazy.'"
“'Lazy' is when you don’t want to do anything at all. 'Executive disfunction' is when you can do everything at all, but that one easy quick thing that you do want to do just makes you and your brain freeze completely days ahead. I’m tired of people not understand that even when I explain and look at me like I’m bullshitting instead."
Ways to Cope
"Maybe you should try praying harder. I did, He prescribed medication."
"Praying is a way to cope for a lot of people, I think. That's totally fine, but insisting on praying in lieu of getting real help or actually addressing the issue is when it is not only unhelpful, but dangerously detrimental."
"Religious people will bypass everyone’s cultures, identity, views, and feelings just to be right and make a point. it’s disgusting. I read somewhere that real so called Christianity is all wrong. The real faith is from the Aramaic history and all the meanings were misinterpreted and the stories and all were made up by Catholics wanting to control their people. Yuck."
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"As someone with OCD with a lot of attention to 'contamination', having someone try to explain contradictions in why I'm doing something that is technically unclean when I wouldn't do something that is technically clean due to OCD. There are a few doorknobs that I will not touch no matter how much you clean them in front of me and I know it makes no sense, if it made sense I wouldn't have OCD i'd just be cleanly."
Stop trying to be an armchair therapist. Be empathetic to people first.