Clarion Review

EDUCATION

The Other Side of Teaching

Evelyn Uddin-Khan

978-1-4990-7794-0

 This is a deep, stinging indictment of the education system from a teacher’s point of view.law-books-4

 The Other Side of Teaching, by Evelyn Uddin-Khan, is an emotional look at the trenches of education from a veteran teacher.

Uddin-Khan has a doctorate in comparative and international education, lending her book a broad perspective and deep insight, but the heart of her understanding is intensely personal.

The book examines teaching conditions, internal and external politics, and the shifting balance of power in education. The first two parts of the book share stories from her teaching experience. The third part discusses policy desksproblems specifically, but her experience is critical to her insights. The fourth part gives the author’s view of the positives of the teaching profession, such as the students themselves and friendships with other teachers.

It’s clear through her sincerity and intensity that Uddin-Khan loves teaching and students. But the depth of her love makes her hurt deeper. After years of service, being essentially demoted made her feel like a commodity to the school system—a system that she already felt didn’t give teachers their due respect. Her pain and anger are quite smudge-chalk-girlsunderstandable, but at times they overshadow the ideas she wants to present.

Her discussion of policy and problems with the system is best suited for those who have a relatively good grasp of the education system: She begins, “It is obvious that education policy in its present form is excluding the majority of poor and middle-income children from receiving the education they deserve.” For some teachers, parents, and concerned citizens, Uddin-Khan’s ire will fuel desire for change.mind

But those unfamiliar with the day-to-day realities of the teaching profession will find her experience eye-opening and even shocking (such as how verbal and physical abuse from students goes unaddressed by administration and parents), prompting the question, “It can’t possibly be that bad, right?”—a question that Uddin-Khan hopes will encourage people to take a deeper look at education.

school busThe cover and back panel copy don’t fully show how personal and emotional the book is. They set a more academic expectation that may make Uddin-Khan’s earnest and sometimes angry voice jarring. The Other Side of Teaching is an inside look at the education system through one teacher’s tell-all point of view.

Melissa Wuske

 

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The Other Side of Teaching

Evelyn Uddin-Khan

Xlibris, 424 pages, (paperback) $23.99, 9781499077940

(Reviewed: April 2015)

Not long ago, teachers commanded respect from students, parents and society in general. stick-boy-and-girlToday, though, they are often punching bags for those same groups, blamed for America’s failing education system.

Evelyn Uddin-Khan knows that system and says the fault lies not with the classroom educators, but with those who are pointing fingers.

schoolroomUddin-Khan, who has a doctoral degree in comparative and international education, spent more than 20 years teaching in New York’s public school system. For 18 years, she writes, she was a well-respected and dedicated professional. But then her job changed; she was “excessed” — education-speak for being reassigned. No longer needed as an ESL teacher, Uddin-Khan was made a substitute teacher. Her three years in that position is the basis for The Other Side of Teaching.

For most of her book, Uddin-Khan details the chaos that she suffered through daily. Violent, disobedient and indifferent students and unresponsive and disconnected parents were just part of the problem.mind Worse, in her view, were school administrators and politicians, whose decisions were most often motivated by expediency or greed. She claims that administrators ordered grades inflated and problem students promoted or graduated, all in an effort to bring up schools’ test scores.

No Child Left Behind legislation, she maintains, merely moves these poorly-educated students to the next level, making them somebody else’s problem.

booksTo her credit, Uddin-Khan does offer some specific remedies, from getting cops out of the classrooms to separating politics from education to investing money in schools.

Overall, this is a narrative that will certainly give readers a different view of education.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Time for reflection! hmuqlDBf

Two days ago the Supreme Court decided that women can wear hijab to sell clothes in A & F. One is not sure what kind of victory this is for women; after all covering one’s head is not covering one’s intelligence. Furthermore, any high school dropout could sell clothes or hamburgers at any store.

Some Muslim women wear hijab to cover their heads. Some Jewish women wear wigs to cover their heads. Christian Nuns cover their heads as part of their habits. Why this fuss over hijabs?women

Women are underpaid. For the same education, experience and position they make 25% less than men.

Girls and women are sold into prostitution and slavery. These are lucrative businesses. The fair skinned females are more likely to be sold into prostitution, while the dark skinned ones have a good chance of entering the slave trade. Either “profession” is a crime against women. Who does the selling?

Women are raped by men and the abused women are criminalized by society while the men laugh all the way to the next victim.

Women are unequal to men. That is indisputable. The question is: why? Was Eve inferior to Adam? IMG_0491What makes women less human than men? Women are just as good as men at any given profession. Men are physically stronger, women are psychologically stronger. So what makes men superior to women?

Perhaps no one can give a satisfactory answer to this question. However, one can give a good guess as to who is responsible.

For thousands of years men wrote laws that govern women’s lives. Men wrote those laws menin their favour which make them superior and women inferior. Men wrote religious and secular laws that gave them power over women and society. Men wrote biased and prejudiced laws and enforced them by physical strength.

Men are still writing the laws, but it is time to give women equal pay, stop selling them into prostitution and slavery, and stop treating them as unequal, second class citizens.

IMG_0620Oh! And forget the hijab, wigs, and habits. Women may cover their heads, but the majority of them have proven that they are more intelligent, more resilient, and more moral than men.

May the Supreme Court continue to be sensible.

 

 

Teachers – older and experienced – wholiterature graduated in the 60s, 70s and perhaps the 80s, had the knowledge and ability to have a conversation and discuss history, science, literature, philosophy and almost any academic subject, plus world affairs and politics.

They can also walk into a classroom and teach and dispense that knowledge as easily as they can discuss it.mathematics In the teachers’ room, in the teachers’ cafeteria, it is a joy to “run into” one of these educated teachers and have an enjoyable, informative forty minutes of enlightenment.

Teachers – young and ambitious, inexperienced and poorly educated – who graduated in the 90s and after and who are now returning as teachers do not have that solid academic foundation that used to be the norm for high school and college graduates.

Most high school graduates in the past twenty-five years have “suffered” through a watered down deskscurriculum, know very little about literature, science, history, can hardly write a paper or do math and certainly know very little about world affairs.

These ignorant high school and college graduates are now returning as high school teachers. They also want to be administrators and quickly get an AP license.

To prepare lessons, they quickly download what ever they can find on the internet.

helpConversation with three young teachers revealed the following: (1) One teacher had a student in her class from Kosovo. She did not know where Kosovo was. (2) One second year English teacher had to teach Hamlet, but complained that she had no idea what to do with poor Hamlet. (3) One teacher was told to teach a book, but did not know which book to choose because she had not read any of the books on the list.

One last thing: We are importing teachers. Can you imagine booksimporting a Spanish teacher? The administrators liked him so much he made AP within five years.

Between teacher evaluation, cheap labour, and teachers who are unqualified (lack of knowledge in the subject area) education in New York and the US as a whole will get much worse.

These are tales from the school building recorded by an experienced teacher.

 

 

 

Hi Gov!

Have you sat in a teachers’ work room recently? (Some schools still have one.) How about the DSC03525-Bteachers’ cafeteria? The rumors are flying east, west, north and south. Is it true that Pearson (among others) bought your soul? Your conscience? Your love of poor kids?

We now know who bought you your second term!

You certainly have been beating up on teachers since your re-election. Why? Teachers and their union solidly supported you. Of course, teachers can’t match the Pearson ton of gold, or 2 million from Hedge Funds, or one million from Glenwood. How many votes did you get from these one percenters?

stick-boy-and-girlTeachers, those sorry under-paid, over-worked slobs who you are chocking to death, were worth four or five hundred thousand votes all over New York State. A pity you don’t need their votes again.

You played – like all dirty politicians – the game very well. Here are some facts for you:

  1. The United States – the world super power – has one of the lowest standards of education in the world – thanks to ego-maniac politicians like you.
  2. booksWhen you make teacher tenure/effectiveness contingent upon the number of passing students, you end up with grade-fixing. Principals and APs do not want their schools to “look bad” so they help their teachers to fix the grades. I know. Been there, done that!
  3. The students are the forgotten people. Stop the money, kick the teachers desksaround, and who is really concerned about the welfare of the kids, their education, their future? Teachers are their best hope!
  4. Hey Gov! Doesn’t it bother you that charter schools actively select the students they accept in their ivory towers? They must have a GPA of 80%? 2013-01-28_09-16-34_256What is the fate of the special needs kids? Immigrant kids? Minority Kids?
  5. You kill public education Mr. Gov. and you kill America – land of opportunity. (To be continued.)

Your present attitude to teachers and your policies in education are shocking, but inconsequential to teachers because the people you are hurting are the children in our public schools – they are our future.

Your second term is showing your true colours. Happy to report I did not vote for you!

 

In days gone-by TV used to be the babysitter. Today electronics are the new child-care provider.mind

Looking back, TV was not so bad since it was only used at home.

Today electronics are entertaining, occupying kids’ minds everywhere – on buses, planes, trains, in car baby-seats, in stores, in supermarkets, in parks, and at home.

A simple question:  When do parents talk to their kids?

                  When do they hug them?

                  When do they read to them?

                   When do they sit on the floor and play games with them?smudge-chalk-girls

                    When do they teach them stuff – like manners?

What effect do round the clock electronic games have on those little eyes? How long before they need glasses? And violence? How often do they kill the bad guys, take hostages, or look at a good fight?

The children of today are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. Characters are formed in their formative years. What kind of leaders will these children make to lead tomorrow’s world?

If children have no imagination and no creative juices running in their veins what will happenballoon-boy to art and music, space programs and philosophy? Can we live without art and music, science and philosophy?

For parents, placing a “toy” in the hands of an infant and leaving him to mind himself is the easy way out. At the end of the day we are back to that famous line … “ a mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

Vultures: Self Publishers are like vultures!Success Starts Here They prey on the poor and hopeful writers who dream of seeing their words in print. They are really high tech cyber criminals with no face and no name and a new way to empty trusting pockets.

Like so many “foolish” people around the globe I would like to be a published writer. In the past it was difficult. Perhaps half of 1% of what was ever written got published. Even Dickens and Elliot began by publishing their own manuscripts.

Today we have self publishing. The cost is high, the anxiety leads to depression, and the lack of marketing skills lead to rejection and heartbreak.literature

After years of toiling over that MS and spending hard earned (sometimes borrowed) money to self publish and not being able to get a return on your labour and investment – well it is disillusioning, especially if you believe in the subject you have so carefully developed.

What is amazing about the publishing industry is that a movie star or a politician or a ball player could write trash about their sex life, war mongering, drug habits, or absolute tripe and they buy and publish such drivel.DSC_5394

To publish a book on educating parents and the public about the state of American education would not be of interest to publishers. And yet every publishing house has swindlers / salesmen preying on writers to self publish so they can make money.

These swindlers, these vultures, are merciless in their campaign to get one’s money to self publish.

Yes, I fell into the trap – and lost some retirement funds.

 

 

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