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 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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  1. Thank you! I am fortunate to only wear one title now, but I used to wear two and never received a penny more for it. The actual problem in that situation was that the district was getting more funds for the ESL students I taught, but that money never filtered to the school I was at. :( It was frustrating to say the last. (Although I also have to admit that it was one of the more rewarding jobs I've ever had.)

    I agree that something needs to change in our educational world, but I don't know how or where to begin. Thank you for always writing posts and creating little artwork that comes from the heart. I feel like you really "get" teaching and often write or create exactly what I'm feeling. Thank you for that!

  2. Hi HoJo.... I love your thoughtful comment, and I appreciate it. :-)

  3. In the state of Idaho the regular ed teacher is supposed to differentiate each and every lesson all day long for high/low/ESL. The ESL does have 30 minutes of pull-out once a day, but that may not happen next year. IEP's also get 15-30 minutes a day of pull-out. There is no pull-out for G/T until the upper grades. The only students we are not directly responsible for are our extended resource students (life skills). There simply isn't funding for anything else . . .
    It's nice to be able to read blogs such as yours and realize we're not alone . . .


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