For the past two years, I have written a culminating post on education practices and ideas that need to be retired. I am pleased to report that the 2017 and 2018 articles have been read and shared over 50,000 times by educators around the world. So, without further ado, here are five educational practices and ideas we need to retire in 2019.
- Pretending that teacher salaries aren’t important
We’ve all heard the phrase “I didn’t get into teaching for the money”. While this is true, teachers also didn’t sign up for a life of financial hardship when they earned their credential. Over the past few years, stories have been popping up about cities building housing for teachers. While some celebrate this idea, it doesn’t solve the bigger issue: Teachers can’t afford to live on their salaries alone. A professional with a four-year degree should not have to live in city-provided housing. Too many teachers take on a second or even third job to pay the bills. Considering that enrollment into credentialing programs are at historic lows, we must consider the bigger problem. Teachers simply don’t make enough money.
- Traditional Science Fairs
Science fairs have been a staple in science classrooms for decades. However, due to lack of resources and time, schools across the country have resulted to having students complete projects at home. As a result of this change, I have seen some amazing projects. I also can spot a parent project when I see it. Science Fair projects can be dynamic learning experiences. However, students should complete them at school where they can collaborate with their peers to build, test, and record their results. I’m not interested in what parents can build. I want to see what the kids can do.
- Having Teachers Sign in and Out
To be honest, I’m not sure why schools do this at all. I’ve asked a few administrators at schools where this practice is in place as to why this is done. The only answer I got was, “This is how we’ve always done it”. Having teachers sign in and out serves no purpose other than upsetting professionals. Teachers sometimes need to leave campus during their prep or lunchtime to run an errand to pick up supplies. However, there is nothing wrong with wanting a proper lunch or taking care of an important personal matter from time to time. We wouldn’t think twice about other professionals taking care of something during the day. Why should teachers be any different?
- Perfect Attendance Awards
First off, I was never the recipient of a perfect attendance award. In some schools, students are recognized for being at school each and every day during the school year. This is an impressive feat. However, we all know that schools are excellent incubators for germs. Children get sick. While we want all of our students at school every day, we also want them to stay home if they aren’t feeling well. We think this way for two reasons: 1. We want them to rest up so that they can return to school quickly. 2. We don’t want them to get other kids sick. By rewarding kids who come to school sick to earn an award not only puts them at risk for being sick for a longer period, it also exposes other students to their germs.
- Constant Fundraising
Parents are constantly bombarded for money for the child’s school. As a parent, my children bring home at least one fundraising flyer per month. Each. Many of these fundraisers attach an incentive for students in the form of toys. Children focus on the toys, rather than the fundraising. As a parent, I have been frustrated with this process, as I did not want to donate that amount needed for my child to get the prize they wanted, considering that I had just donated money the month prior. I don’t mind donating, but please don’t use my child as a fundraising tactic.
Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.principalsdesk.org.