Just in case Santa is reading my RSS feed, I’ve made a list of what I want for Christmas.
1. Every Student Has a Stable Home Life.
Sitting in the administrator’s chair for the last three weeks, I was able to see a lot of students who had been sent up for disciplinary reasons. Talking to them, I found that the overwhelming number of them had home lives that were not stable at all. Some students use this as an excuse to fail, and those are the ones I saw in my office. There are those students, however, who use their poor home lives as motivation to succeed. They choose to succeed in spite of their home’s instability.
2. A Teacher’s Aide.
I know there are teachers out there who have a T/A in their class every period. I don’t have any. I would love a little help grading papers, making copies, keeping the clutter from gathering on my desk, etc.
3. Longer Lunches.
You’ll always recognize teachers in a restaurant. They’re the ones who are finished with their food first. We have been trained to eat fast. Another 15 minutes would be like gold.
4. Free Health Insurance.
Again, I know there are a lot of districts that already offer free insurance to their teachers. My district pays about half. I have to pay the other half, which is a pretty big chunk of change. I wonder if under the current economic climate more districts will be asking their teachers to contribute more toward their health insurance.
5. A Pause Button.
Wouldn’t it be cool if in those moments when the kids are getting loud, or when your lesson plan isn’t working out as you expected it, or when you see that you haven’t made enough copies of the worksheet, that you could just push a pause button like the ones on a DVD player? Sometimes, you just need a moment to regroup.
6. Access to Better Technology in the Classroom.
Have you seen the big touch screens that they use on CNN? A reporter will put his finger on a part of the map, and it will open a window to reveal a video of what’s going on in that city. I would love to have one of those in my classroom. I know of a teacher who got a grant to give each of his students an iPad. Wow!
7. A Better Way of Assessing the Value of a School Other than Standardized Tests.
Every year, each school has a testing week where students take state exams that will determine how well a school, a subject area, a teacher is providing education. These tests don’t take into account the other factors that may affect the students’ ability to perform on these tests like language, economic status, access to educational resources, etc. There has to be a better way.
8. Parents Who Don’t Blame the Teacher for the Poor Performance of their Child.
Most parents will work with the teacher to improve the child’s grade. There are some, however, who are too quick to blame the teacher.
9. Shorter Staff Meetings.
The big touch-screen may be easier to do.
10. The Ability to Remember all the Names of the Students Who Come Back to Say Hi.
I used to try and bluff my way through these encounters. Now I just say, “Hey! How are you doing? I don’t remember your name.”
11. State Officials Increase the Budget for Education Instead of Reducing It.
Our district just got the news that more cuts were going to be made this coming year, resulting in another round of teacher lay-offs, less funds for classroom supplies, more educational programs eliminated, and larger class sizes. The decision makers need to realize that if you want to improve our society, you have to put education higher on your priorities list.
There you go Santa. I’ll leave some extra cookies out with the milk this year. – Sam
Anybody else have something to add to this list?