The Cold Hard Truth

While my students continue to impress me with their drive and love of learning, it occurs to me there may be a reason they seem so starved. As my friends have listened to my rants, some have urged me to share this here. I was nervous to put a harsh reality out there, but I have decided that honesty is necessary. Too many teachers keep their mouths shut for fear of upsetting the wrong people. As I am not part of the system, I cannot suffer the same sort of repercussions they might by speaking out. If you disagree or hold an opposing view, please respond. A dialogue on the issue would be welcome. Here goes…

In my last post, I spoke optimistically about my plan to try to implement small reading groups in the classes, led by the classroom teachers. So far, I have not been successful. My latest tactic has been to do favors for the master teacher, with her promise that she will support me in the small reading groups run by the other teachers.

What kind of favors are these? Well, the DepEd has created a well-meaning initiative to improve and innovate new methods for reading instruction. To that end, teachers have been working on a project (this is the 2nd year, mind you) to create reading groups for the struggling students. When I heard about this, I thought, “Wonderful! I’m so happy the struggling readers will be receiving attention!” I immediately set my efforts to helping provide materials, training, and suggestions for seeing this project become successful. Now I understand it is, just like many other parts of the education system, a theatrical production to make it look like there is true education occurring. The work we have done will probably never benefit the students. The importance of the report has become so aggrandized that the actual intervention is not even being implemented. I repeat – this is the 2nd year of its “implementation,” and I have yet to see small reading groups in my school.

To be fair, I cannot speak to other schools, but I cannot imagine mine is the only one. I also understand the tremendous pressure teachers are under, and the mis-allocated priorities from above that send the message “Paperwork is more important than Pupils” or “As long as your report looks good, you’re good.” Despite all this, many teachers continue to prioritize their students above the paperwork. If you are one of them, I can only assume you would be relieved to see someone pointing out this mass neglect.

I should also point out that the teachers inability to teach reading is not entirely their fault. From what I understand, in previous decades, reading pedagogy was not taught in the teaching colleges. Because of this, I have witnessed the teachers creating this program, not by researching how to teach reading, but by MAKING IT UP. Now, I know experience is a great source of knowledge, but why reinvent the wheel when you have never received any formal training on how to teach reading?

All I can do is continue to voice the need to actually implement these small groups. It’s not so hard. And after all I’ve done to help them with their pretend intervention, it is the least they can do for me.

Source: beth bento

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