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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For people who have never taught a classclassroom in any school, especially public schools, it is easy for them to become classroom and education critics.

It is easy for politicians to be on the outside, look in and critique teachers.

For administrators who crawl through graduate school, somehow secure AP and principal licenses’, spend a year or two in the classroom and then move to the principal’s office, it is easy for them to flex the power in their tongue muscles instead of their brain mindmuscles.

There were two failed businessmen in a certain high school who managed to get that principal’s license and thanks to well placed godfathers stepped into the principal’s office in record time.literature

One made no secret that he was there for the pension and the health benefits.

The politicians are in la-la land. Politicians need no education to become elected officials and yet they become experts on education policy and teacher evaluation.

Administrators, in most cases, supervise teachers with more education and experience than they have and yet must show their power by harassing and berating teachers at every opportunity.stick-boy-and-girl

Yes, there are “bad” teachers, perhaps one in a hundred. There are also bad doctors; lawyers who are swindlers and most politicians are synonymous with crime, lobbying and get-rich-quick deals. Compared to these people one bad teacher is excusable.

It is time for the media and the politicians Breaktimeto give teachers a break and concentrate on improving the education system. We are not hurting teachers. They all have masters and higher degrees and can and will survive. The day is coming when we will wish these teachers were back in the classroom.

flagWe are denying our children their birth-right, jeopardizing the future of this country, and hastening the demise of our #1 status in the world.

Without an educated population this country has no future.

“No poor, rural, weak, or black flagperson should ever again have to bear the additional burden of being deprived of the opportunity for an education, a job, or simple justice.”                                    President Carter    

 

The year was 2009. The school was (is still) in Queens. The student body was 98% black kids.literature “This school could have been anywhere in the segregated south of the USA in the year 1954* or better still in Nigeria.”**

Mr. Governor, have you heard of Missionary schools in Africa? The white missionaries devoting their lives to enlightening, educating, emancipating the African kids of years ago?

Well, Mr. Governor, we have one right here in NYC / NYS. Some one collected approximately 3,000 black teenagers and put them classroomin this building and the missionaries are bending backwards to educate them.

Talk about racism and segregation! This is the real deal. All over this country politicians are condemning segregation, racism, hate, prejudice, discrimination; the church and civic leaders are marching their souls and soles out against these “WORDS” and trying to find equality and integration. Nothing changes!

Well, look no further. Why don’t you integrate some white kids into this black school? How about a charter school for these black kids? Mr. Governor, you have a lot of work to do. “Why in the heart of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic New York City is a school filled with all black kids?”** [I wrote to many people about this segregated school including the congressman, but no one replied.]mathematics

These kids are rotting away in this school (gang land, drug den) and no one seems to care.

“They need to get into the competition if they want to win the game.”**

Mr. Governor, I have the solution, you have the power to do the work. Start educating these kids and stop building private prisons for them.

Malcolm X said, “If you’re born in America with a black skin, you’re born in prison.”

Prove him wrong, Mr. Governor!  DSCN7910      

*Earl Warren: To separate [black children] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone…. We consider that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 {1954}

**Quotes taken from The Other Side of Teaching

 

 

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!

 

Everyone and his grand mum, especially the newspapers and the politicians, beat up on teachers. This is their daily chore! According to them teachers are stupid, unqualified, incompetent, too senior, and even over-paid.

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

“Teacher Appreciation” featured photo. Place unknown. Probably a Kindergarten or Special Education teacher insturcting a student. According to the US Census Bureau Facts for Features, as of 2004, there were 6.2 million teachers in the US and the 71% of which were women. The national average for annual salary for public elementary and secondary school teachers was $44,700; With the highest average of $54,300 in California and the lowest of $31,300 in South Dakota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Has The Times and the politicians ever taken into consideration that these stupid, unqualified, incompetent teachers are the same people who become assistant principals (APES), principals, and administrators in our school system? Has anyone ever questioned the qualification and intelligence of the top-down hierarchy that runs the school system?

There is a saying in school that when you can’t handle the classroom you become an AP.

Here are a few examples of AP intelligence, qualification, incompetence and stupidity:

I.                   AP Macaroni observed my class. He asked me to explain what I was doing. I told him that it was a Regents Prep class and I was teaching my students how to analyze and critique a piece of literature; how to think critically. He calmly announced that you are not there to teach them to think critically. You are there to get them to pass your class.

 II.                I suggested to AP Macaroni that we should start a writing program in our school, that we have many students who would benefit from such a program. AP Mac said that in this school we teach whole language. End of discussion.

III.             AP Fatso – who was AP Mac’s bosom buddy (inseparable) – slipped into his seat when he retired. At her first meeting she announced that she would maintain the status quo; that she would continue to use Mr. Mac’s agenda. Her reason? If it worked for him, it will work for her!

English: Diagram of technology-empowered profe...

English: Diagram of technology-empowered professional development for teachers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IV.              For Professional Development days AP Fatso sent her department to the museums – any museum they chose to go to. After the visit the teachers wrote a lesson plan, incorporated some aspect of the visit, submit it to her, and that was our professional development. This went on for three years.

 V.                AP Destroy was known as the yeller. She would yell at teachers in the hallway, the classroom, her office. I was teaching out of license and sent to her department. I asked her for department guidelines since I was teaching out and license and new to her department. She yelled at me – in the hallway- that you have been teaching longer than me, you have more experience than me, you should know what to do.

VI.        Another time I chose a book for my class and I asked AP Destroy for her opinion. She again yelled at me – in her office this time – that you are more educated than me; you shouldn’t ask me these questions.

These are the ass-kissers I worked under. Don’t get me started on AP Gasbag.

For more APES intelligence, qualification, incompetence and stupidity, please refer to The Other Side of Teaching. More of their stories are documented in that book.

We know how teachers get their jobs. How do APES and principals get their jobs?

When the press – The Times – politicians and other teacher bashers torture teachers, they are looking at the problem with a jaundiced view. Most of the time the press and the politicians have no idea what they are talking about.

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Instead of harassing and torturing teachers The Times should ask principals, APES and administrators what their qualifications are for their jobs and how they got their jobs.

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