I have been reading with interest the allegations against a local teacher. Although knowing nothing about the particulars of this situation but what I have read, I would like to offer a few general comments on the state of our public schools.
Apparently, not much has changed since I taught first, second and sixth grades in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Children ages 5 and 6 are still expected to sit still and pay attention for five hours a day. This concept has not changed since the early days of the one-room schoolhouse. Is this an optimal situation? No one knows.
In first grade, and every grade thereafter, there is almost a year’s difference in age between the oldest and youngest child, and since reading readiness is greatly influenced by physiological maturation, the younger children are at a distinct disadvantage.
Sometimes, they fall behind for that reason and never catch up. After all, in first and second grade, you learn to read. After that, you read to learn.
Would a shorter day, perhaps three hours, and a longer school year with more individual attention provide better results? No one knows.
Could a better diet improve student (and teacher) behavior? No one knows.
When I attended Bowling Green State University and Ohio State University 40-plus years ago, the existing experimental elementary school on each campus was disbanded, and the space converted to professors’ offices.
That way, the professors could contemplate the “cognitive domain” without being distracted by young children on the premises.
The methods classes were not much help, either, with too much theory, not enough action. When I began teaching in Cleveland, I had no idea how to teach children to read. Fortunately, the principal gave me about three hours of her time demonstrating best procedures, including instruction in phonics. I learned more from her than I did from those basically worthless classes at BGSU.
I would like to offer one specific suggestion: Every large school system or group of schools needs an ombudsman whose job would be to offer advice and even emotional support in a confidential manner to any teacher who finds herself in deep water. She is supposed to look after the physical and psychological welfare of her students. But who is looking after her welfare?
Carol Adelsperger

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Hear me now, believe me later.
Terry Cook