How Many Titles Should One Teacher Have?



Sometimes I wonder what has happened over the years? Let me explain.

Years ago, we had a gifted program. Gifted kids were pulled out of the regular ed. classroom for more advanced lessons with a gifted certified teacher. Over the years, many other programs have evolved, such as having ESOL teachers to serve students where English is not their main language. Also, here in the state of GA, we have the EIP (Early Intervention Program), which is for grades 3-5.

So, what do I mean when I say multi-titled? Well, what if you have a regular ed. teacher who also has her gifted certification and even has her ESOL endorsement? Can they be all of those teachers in one? The answer..... yes! Well, at least that is what seems to be happening in some cases. 

Let me create a real life scenario for you. Let's say you have a regular education teacher that has her gifted certification. In her class, she has gifted kids, regular ed. kids, and some weaker kids who also qualify for the EIP program due to low state test scores. Within that teacher's class, she has 24 kids.  Eight are regular ed. with no additional services.   Twelve are gifted and should be receiving additional differentiated enrichment lessons, and 4 have qualified for remediated teaching through the EIP program. 

Please keep in mind that schools receive funding based on the number of kids in given programs as long as the service is being "provided".   Let's now say that of those 12 gifted kids, 8 are going to be pulled out to go to another gifted teacher because they qualified on local  test scores to receive a more advanced reading class.  For that reading block of time, this now leaves 4 gifted kids in the class, along with 8 regular ed. kids, and don't forget about those 4 kids that are supposed to receive some extra services through remediation and review lessons.  Sounds great, right?

Well, remember.... the teacher that those kids have as their homeroom teacher is also gifted certified , so those 4 kids left in the classroom are getting their 'gifted hours' from that teacher during this block of time.  But wait!  What about those 4 kids that are also supposed to be receiving remediation?  Well, in this case, the state allows for a few different models to be used for the EIP program.  One of the models is small group, one is reduced class size with a ratio of no more than 17 kids to one teacher, and another option is pull out sessions with a different designated EIP teacher. 

Can you tell what is happening in this classroom?  The gifted certified teacher is now left with a one  hour block of time where she has 4 gifted kids in class, so she is their gifted teacher for that hour.  The class is now a reduced class size because those other 8 kids left. With a reduced class size of 16 for that block of time, the teacher is now designated as the EIP teacher for those other kids that are supposed to get remediated lessons, and don't forget about those other kids that are just your average kids.  Want to make this scenario even crazier than it already is?  What if that teacher also has her ESOL endorsement?  Well, if a few of those kids were in the ESOL program, she very well could be the ESOL teacher too.

Why in the world are schools doing this?  How can one teacher provide for gifted, remediation, average, and even ESOL kids all in the same block of time.  The answer..... THEY CAN'T!!  Maybe schools are doing it so they get more bang for the buck out of one teacher's salary. You did figure out that the one teacher doesn't get any higher pay for being the robot she is expected to be, right? After all, as long as it can be proven that a child who qualifies for those programs is receiving services from a teacher who is certified in those areas, they can get the funding that the state provides. 

I just don't understand it.  It looks good on paper, but in my opinion, teachers should have one title for any given block of time.  You have basically thrown the gifted program out the door when those students are being robbed of an hour of accelerated learning during their 'gifted block' of time.  The EIP kids are being robbed of their remediated lessons that the state thinks are being provided.  And those poor average kids?  Well, they may be getting what they need and they may not.  Oh, and the ESOL kids, are they getting their lessons modified in order to help them master this new language? 

Yep, it just doesn't make sense. Scenarios like this bring a whole new meaning to the word differentiation.  In this case, differentiation equates to near impossible.  But, I guess there is one good thing.  The state still provides the money because the service is technically being provided. 

Maybe there is nothing wrong with doing it this way.  Maybe someone can help me see the light that I am not able to see.  If so, please do shed some light.  No teacher that I have talked to that has had this scenario of multiple titles thinks it is effective.  Quite the opposite actually.  Like I said, it's impossible to provide all of that, and if you do have a way to provide all of that, you are not sleeping and you have no life outside of school hours because you are having to prepare 4 different activities for EVERY lesson you teach during that one block of time.

And we wonder why the national average for teacher burnout is seven years.  SEVEN stinking years everyone.  It's because teachers are expected to be robotic... to meet unattainable goals where teaching environments are not even conducive to providing the best learning environment for kids of all levels. 

Now, when I write a blog post ....AKA... Vent Post......like this where I express my opinion, I like to always say that I love teaching.  I love working with the kids.  I am meant to be a teacher.  BUT, there are just many things about the education system in my state and nationally that I simply do not understand.  We really truly need to evaluate why our education system is failing in so many areas.  We need to take a closer look at the effectiveness of situations like this that require 'multi-titled teachers'.  I say it's not working!

Now, go make learning fun and do the best you can do with what is expected of you. 

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Testing.... Out of Control

What is it with the end of the year?  It is wild and crazy with all kinds of activities.  One of which is the state testing. We took our big state test  for GA a week ago (CRCT), and just like every year, some kids think that this test indicates that school is over. To their surprise,  there is still a lot left to be accomplished.  I mean, come on!!  I can barely get through the curriculum before the test, so after the test, I have to go back and reteach a few of the topics so they fully understand them.  With three weeks left in school, that means there are many more grades to come.  Grades that I had to explain can make or break your report card.  Grades that could take an A to a D or a D to an A.  Little did they know when testing ended, we actually had one more week of testing.  YIKES! Yep, we will spend an hour each day this coming week testing some more.  ... can't you hear the excitement in my voice?

The testing has really gotten out of hand over the years.  In my county we take a beginning of the year test in each subject, and at the end of each nine weeks we take a benchmark test for that nine weeks in each subject area.  In march, we take a D test, which is a determining test, which is supposed to determine how well they will do on the state test.  Then we take the state test in each subject at the start of April.  Finally, at the start of May, we take the county end of the year tests in each subject to see growth from that original test they took at the start of the year. Can you say CRA-zY!  When you figure it all by the hour, it equates to over a week of school lost to testing.  And with that said, I know third and fifth grade in my county actually take two other tests at the start of the year - The ITBS and the CoGat.  Out of hand may be a good work to describe the testing.

Oh, I didn't even mention unit tests for the report card. How about throwing in a weekly Greek and Latin roots and a cold reading test!  Plus, we have to rush, rush, rush through the curriculum, so that means the kids are taking another test or two each week to week and a half in other content areas, such as math, grammar, social studies, and science.

What's so strange about it all is that throughout the school year, the frame of mind is that we are working for the 'one test'.... that state test.  Every lesson we teach is geared toward mastering the state test.  Every test we give is to better prepare them and to indicate how well they may do on the 'one test'.

Want to hear something though.  Let me spend a few weeks with a child at the beginning of the school year, and I can pretty much tell you how well they will do on the state test.  Let me confirm my prediction after the first set of report cards, and then let me recheck my prediction a week or so before the state test.  I bet 90% of the time I can tell you who will master the state test and who will not.  It's not rocket science.


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