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Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

Posted November 10, 2010 7:23 AM

Teachers — especially good ones — are important to the future of our children's education. We do what we can to provide them with the tools and support to get their job done. A recent highly publicized case in London saw a junior college teacher fired after a review found him "incompetent." His main failure had little to do with his teaching ability or his relationship with students; it was his lack of providing consistent and timely paperwork. Is this a valid reason for firing a teacher? Is paperwork becoming more important than human interaction?

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#1

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 8:20 AM

My brother got pushed out of teaching because he wouldn't waste his time writing lesson plans with childish lists of equipment required and suchlike...Oooh, I must remember a pencil and paper.
He was lucky as his early retirement meant he had more time before his premature death at 61.
The number of pupils and ex pupils at his funeral spoke volumes.

Does the paperwork add value? If the answer is no then don't do it, every person doing useful work is burdened by umpteen non productive people auditing and rating them. It's the beurocrats who should be fired.
If only the head teachers (principals) had the balls to stand up to this tyrany in the first place we wouldn't be in this downward spiral of reduced standards with paperwork which tries to 'prove' the opposite.
Del

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#6
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 10:19 AM

If only the head teachers (principals) had the balls to stand up to this Unfortunately in the first place we wouldn't be in this downward spiral of reduced standards with paperwork which tries to 'prove' the opposite.

Unfortunately, they are part of the bureaucracy. Much of their jobs (at least in our school district) is making sure that paperwork is in order so the school can maintain accreditation. It goes something like this.

  • For the school to get government funding, it needs to be accredited by an agency.
  • Accreditation (like ISO certification) is 95+% paperwork.
  • The principal's principal job is to keep funding coming to the school.
  • Since funding has more to do with paperwork than performance, the principal is more bureaucrat than head teacher (in fact, the principal spends very little time in or near classrooms).

It's an odd fact about bureaucracies -- non-productive work pays better than productivity. In schools, the farther one is from the classroom, the more money one earns. As long schools are funded by top down bureaucracies, bureaucracy will be served. This is one of the reasons I like the USA school choice movement. Under this model, a school's funding is driven by parents wanting their children to be in the school. This would shift the focus from providing documents to accreditation agencies toward providing quality to the students. In trial runs, allowing parents to use vouchers to pay for their children's education at the school of their choice has produced superior outcomes. Predicatbly, the bureaucracy rejects the programs anyway. To do otherwise would be to lose their funding and control.

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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 6:04 AM

The solution is not vouchers to go someplace else. The solution is to make all schools perform to the level of the voucher schools. Why don't all students deserve the same level of education as the precious few?

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 8:06 AM

Vouchers aren't for a special few. A true voucher program would be available to everyone and they could choose which school would provide the best level of education for their kids.

Introduce competition into the educational mix and we would see a dramatic increase in the level of competancy, of both the teachers and the students.

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#17
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 10:06 AM

Guest, it's like Guest said. The vouchers would be given to all families with eligible students. So the "precious few" are all students in the districts that adopt the voucher system. They are precious, but they aren't really all that few. In fact, one pilot study in Washington D.C. included almost exclusively underprivileged children, testing the program with those who most need help.

The solution is to make all schools perform to the level of the voucher schools.

Where the voucher programs have been piloted, letting the parents choose which school to entrust with their children is the key to boosting performance. The current system provides funding to any school that completes the accreditation paperwork, regardless of how the school performs. The voucher program means that schools which do not perform will lose funding because parents will not spend their voucher money on a poorly performing school. Tying funding to performance will boost performance. Currently, funding is tied to paperwork, and so the paperwork flourishes.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 11:19 AM

The voucher system is just another level of bureaucracy, piled on top of a failed accreditation system.

A voucher system also widens the gap between children of parents who are engaged in their education & those children whose parents aren't engaged.

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#23
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 12:37 PM

"A voucher system also widens the gap between children of parents who are engaged in their education & those children whose parents aren't engaged."

Garth --This seems to be what a majority of Americans want. It really gets to the root of what our society is all about. Thems that have and thems that want.

Why on earth should teachers be filling out forms? Either on paper or on a computer. They should be teaching. If the bureaucrats who are sucking away a third to half of the educational resources can't figure out how to take measures without interfering with what they are measuring then be gone with them all.

Or look at it from a controls standpoint. The feedback loops are way to long in somecases extending across time zones and budget years and so tangled that no one can keep track of them. And way to slow. Bottom line all the dollars to run the schools should never leave the county, much less the state. Even better they should remain in the school district.

If the citizens want to starve their schools so be it. They will feel the pain in short order. Make all school operational data especially detailed financials a matter of public record easily available via computer links. Prohibit all employment contracts. Either you are an elected official or are an employee at will of the school system. Make the school board recall process simple and quick. A vote of confidence kind of thing. That will put a fast end to local curruption.

This idea of sending tax dollars to the federal govenment so they can send turn around and send them back discounted by 50% of their original value may make sense in situations of extreme inequality or genuine disaster. But not as a general way of doing business as it has become.

Maybe the answer will come when each student has a personal electronic educational assistant. Measures of student performance will be cheap and easy as data analysis systems mature. Accomplishments each day would be rewarded with freebies from the school vending machines. (Researchers into animal behavior are well aware of that methodology; and they are really all little animals up to about the age of 30.) And the great part is the computers the kids are connected to would eliminate any need for the teachers to fill out forms.

Ed Weldon

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 12:57 PM

I'm still not quite sure whether you agree or not :D

you have outlined a reasonable course of action, that can be implemented incrementally

the future is a kindle/Ipad like device [cheat sheet] that will be synced with both the school & the students home data base.

there is the opportunity to have access to world class lectures at all levels electronically, with flesh & blood teachers being able to give individual students much more personal individual attention.

the problem is that the bureaucracies are much more focused on sustaining themselves than actual improving, so resources squandered instead of maximized.

social structures & organizations have not kept pace with technological improvements

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#27
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 1:46 PM

Garth -- All human societal structures soon develop capability for sustaining and even growing themselves. Or they fall to the rules put forth by Mr. Darwin. And they are all subject to the ravages of occasional disruptive events that interrupt the flow of their sources of sustenance.

So it is with our educational systems. The disruptive event is in the gathering stages as we enter a new decade. It is driven by waves of instability in world standards of living (both upward and downward depending on location) together with the rapid growth of information technology. Too many of our educational system entities have sucked too much of the economic "blood" out of their hosts, forgetting that these hosts are their customers rather than a wellspring of endless flowing treasure.

Let's take a look at California.

We are the World's 7th largest economy. 50% of the state's $100 billion plus annual budget goes to education. Another 10% goes to prisons in large measure there due to failures of an education system that is rated near the bottom of our nation's states in performance. Still more goes to people who are unemployed because they lack working skills in current demand. Now the folks who watch the state government budget say that we face a $25 billion per year revenue shortfall in the rest of this decade.

This is one of those Duhhhh moments we are in. How can anyone say with a straight face that education in California is going to remain immune from the necessary cuts in appropriations required by the looming fiscal crisis? We face a disruptive event and the end of this decade will see a totally new education system in California. A radical change is coming. And it won't be pretty for the current staff of employees, excepting perhaps our primary school classroom teachers. Likely they will have few forms to fill out their skills and service to our children to valuable to squander with such frivolities.

Ed Weldon

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#25
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 1:29 PM

Maximum GA! I can't fathom why this was marked off topic.

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#28
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 1:48 PM

A voucher system also widens the gap between children of parents who are engaged in their education & those children whose parents aren't engaged... the haves and have nots, as Ed put it.

Garthh and Ed, I appreciate your sense of social justice, but I'll have to ask you for your data for this assertion. Parental involvement is definitely a key to academic success for students, and it tends to be correlated with socioeconomic status. Public school programs aimed at increasing parental involvement (requiring parental review of student performance via signing weekly grade reports) have had little to no impact on improving the lot of "less advantaged" students.

In pilot runs of voucher programs, students from "less advantaged" socioeconomic demographics have been the ones who have most benefited from the programs.

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#29
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 3:19 PM

Brazil has had some success with it's 'bolsa familia' programs, which reward parents for making sure their kids show up at school, turn in their homework, etc.. We will probably never close the gap between students from families with motivated parents, but we might narrow it a bit. I'm sure there are those who would object to such a program as being 'an expensive, socialist intrusion into private family matters', but the problem is so acute that perhaps pragmatism should triumph over ideology. Poorly educated people with little or nothing to contribute to our economy are not a private matter - in or out of prison they are non-productive overhead.

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#30
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 5:10 PM

social justice has nothing to do with it.

parents who are more involved with raising their children in all ways, end up being the parents of citizens who are on the whole more productive

I don't have any data, this is just something I have observed

I've seen a fair number of children from well to do families weren't worth a damn & the opposite case

Programs aimed at increasing parental involvement [going through the motions] is not the same thing as actual involvement.

vouchers are a band aid not a solution

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#21
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 11:36 AM

And what happens when everyone has vouchers and they all want to go to just 2 or 3 of the schools. Now you have a bureaucratic problem of infrastructure that no one wants to use because the teachers are incompetent, versus vastly excessive demands on a very small portion of the infrastructure and personnel. Really this is a program that creates a kind of capitalistic driven teaching system in theory, which is good because it forces us away froma a socialistic system of just paying teachers for being there and increasing it for years of service and credentials to teach the least competent portion of society. However, if the system grow to large across much of the population there will be corruption to track ont he vouchers, schools popping up that try to teach crazy irrational stuff for select cult members (think Northeastern Arizona), and other issues that would require controls and substantial bureaucratic oversight as the scale grows. Also, as we were discussing the other day, sometimes parents don't like the teachers even if their children are learning a lot and like their teachers. A significant number of parents don't want to meet with teachers to discuss their children, or when they do meet don't like feeling less competent, and thus want teacher more in line with their intellectual level and comprehension. So you also have to worry about teaching becoming more political as the teachers have to court the ignorant parents, particularly the really ignorant wealthier ones like real estate agents and such. Thus you could stifle some children because their parents are innane, self-centers, and vain, beliving that the teachers are their to serve them and not the welfare of their children. Then there are the parents that believe athletics is more important application of school resources than science education, and there are a lot of those. This could lead to many schools like a number of colleges in some states where they will do anything to get the best football players, they keep their academics minimal and invest highly in sports programs, or become diploma mills. This would be similar to colleges in that you essentially have a voucher system for colleges through Pell grants and loans. To augment this however, they require students cover some costs of schooling on top of the voucher system, at least then they don't totally waste the education as some of the cost is out of pocket. However, athletes pay essentially nothing out of pocket and actually get paid under the table quite frequently. so even with the vouicher system you would need substantial controls through bureaucracy to limit excesses, and corruption developing over time. On the plus side you would intrigue more lawyers to become involved in the system as it becomes more like a free-market system.

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#22
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 12:01 PM

Years ago my wife and I had a run in with the elementary school our oldest son was attending, and after several nasty rounds decided to pull him out. Our school district had an open enrollment policy so we transfered him to a school in a neighboring town about 10 miles away. His supposed behavior problems vanished at the new school, and as a bonus we had plenty of time for an early morning chat.

But this was not a 'voucher' program. As I understand the lingo, vouchers are intended to help pay tuition at private schools, and were in the recent past (here in the USA) a very hot political issue. I think the correct term for moving a student from one public school to another is an intradistrict transfer.

This is a small point, but schools generally aren't improving much (if at all), and the 'voucher' issue is likely to surface again as a political hot-button issue. When that debate begins again it would be best if the waters were not already muddied by conflicting terminology. I think that 'open enrollment/intradistrict transfers are a good idea that should be part of the toolkit for fixing our public schools. I have a lot of doubts about vouchers.

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#26
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 1:37 PM

You are correct that intra- and inter-district transfers are not the same as voucher programs, though they do increase a parent's say in their child's education and give some degree of school accountability to the people being served by the school. Transferring from one public school to another allows parents to "vote with their feet." It has an indirect impact on school funding as the federal funds a school receives are semi-related to enrollment at the school.

A voucher program gives parents two additional levers. Vouchers permit parents to choose directly which school gets the federal funds allocated for their childrens' education, and it boradens their selection of schools to include private as well as public institutions. To use a political analogy, vouchers give the voter a direct say in budget matters, and they increase the number of parties listed on the balot.

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#2

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 8:52 AM

Leaving out the issue on justification of the paper work,

An effective teacher should go for well prepared lesson plans, monographs, printed text matter with relevant diagrams., demonstration tools and other possible teaching aids. confined to the syllabus.

Vague oral lecturing on class can lead to diversions.

This is aimed at best ensurance of a teacher's basic inputs to students, then only student seminars and other developments can be pursued.

Well defined, precisely framed, simplified lesson presentations are pride possessions of all good teachers.

Certainly one got to spend time in good preparations, the fruit is, lack of daily botherations on what to present for the day.

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#4
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 9:32 AM

The stuff you cite will not produce an effective teacher without aptitude, enthusiasm and experience.
Paperwork is no substitute for these.
The worst teachers are those who merely hand out work sheets.
An effective lesson plan could easilly be just a list of 3 or 4 key points as an aide memoire.
Del

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#16
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 9:16 AM

Del and Ed, Greetings to both of you. The paper work the O.P is referring seems to be connected with record keeping procedures like the ISO formats, class records, result analysis, deviations etc involving lot of postmortem actiivities just to satisfy the audit teams of certifying agencies perhaps. I do agree that many certifications are of paper value only. For E,g most of the ISO 14000 certified companies never follow any compliances. The certificate looks good on the wall a good paper value for image building.

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#19
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 10:34 AM

The paper work is not specified - it is left up to your imagination. Before forming an opinion one way or the other some additional detail is really necessary.

Example - One of the states recently lost something like 400 million dollars in federal assistance because forms were not followed - not a teacher problem but paperwork.

I fully agree with you about ISO.

ISO 9000 is a joke as it can be easily gamed with full knowledge of the auditor if a company so wishes.

ISO 14000 is nothing more than a set of goals and a complete joke.

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#31
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 3:37 AM

Hi Russ123,

I see a lot of active interaction of your posts and views in CR4. Nice of joining you. One thing I have found strange in most of the teachers.

*They are ready to leave home as soon a official hours for students are over.

*Most of the people are scared about making mistakes and perform routine works with fear of being punished or with a notion -"somebody may ask[ISO auditors]"

*Responsibility and quality improvement in our work is a culture and systems are meant for uniform adherence by one and all concerned with institutions or organizations.

* Procrastinations or evading procedures can pose wrong impression about a teacher, since you are setting a wrong example before the students.

It is all about how one works with involvement, given any job for that matter, image building in organizations.

Most teachers are scared of risk taking, limiting their own confidence levels.

Other than that Teaching is the best profession giving good deal of freedom and varieties of activities, all up to the teacher's priorities and job perceptions.

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#12
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 12:25 AM

s.udhayamarthandan -- Lesson plans certainly have value. ..... To the teacher as a reference which he/she uses as necessary to aid in teaching.

The best teacher I ever encountered taught senior math in my high school. He used no lesson plans. Each day he came into the classroom, handed back the homework or corrected tests, picked up the textbook and at that point decided what he was going to teach today. In a few minutes some of the worst badasses in the senior class became entranced and submerged in the wonder of mathematics.

To the extent that the lesson plan must be distributed to others, especially organizational superiors, it becomes a bludgeon that drives the educational process into a numbing mediocrity. It aids the growth of the cancerous bureaucracy that sucks resources out of the classroom as a hoard of leaches sucks blood out of their host. It enables them to impose a uniformity at the lowest common denominator that insures everyone gets an equal education; however inadequate. It forces the teaching of subject matter that is driven by broad and fickle political forces rather than the subjects that students need to learn for their life's needs and the work they will do.

This equality of education has some noble motives in the face of a history of minority discrimination in the USA. But the accomplishment is far smaller than it should be as witness the current USA unemployment statistics. In place of great accomplishment our education system is facing an open rebellion by taxpayers fed up with the costs of it all in spite of rapidly worsening performance. And ridiculous rules continue to drive some of the most gifted teachers out of primary and secondary schools.

Ed Weldon

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#3

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 9:09 AM

I'm shocked by this. First, that a teacher got himself fired. That's a rare accomplishment, since improper contact with a student wasn't involved. Also shocking since it involved paperwork. The 'paperwork' required is such a joke; his refusal to submit it must have been a deliberate protest. (Unless it was the students' grades he was mucking with, in which case he should be fired since those are of ultimate importance for many reasons.)

My wife taught in public schools for 10 years (before she suffered burn out). Her experience was: You submit the required paperwork the first year -- lesson plans, etc., which (if you are a new teacher) can be 'borrowed' from another teacher and modified slightly to match your own class. Then for each following submission you simply re-submit the same paperwork with only slight changes, usually to account for the latest politically correct fad such as nutrition, recycling, global warming, Katrina survivors, etc., that you will incorporate into the class's activities. It's all BS and has little to do with actual teaching.

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#5

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 10:06 AM

Actually, the OP is designed to solicit a certain type of reply from a reader.

It would be far more interesting if there was a link to a news source concerning the individual involved. Then we could have an idea of what was really behind the sacking.

A good teacher is something no one wants to waste!

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#7
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 10:29 AM

the OP is designed to solicit a certain type of reply from a reader... It would be far more interesting if there was a link to a news source... Then we could have an idea of what was really...

If I understand the implication, you are assuming that news sources do not write to solicit a certain type of response from a reader. Optimism? Naïveté?

News sources are professional gossips. Bloggers are armature gossips. Both write to solicit a particular response by hinting at what really happened.

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#8
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 11:11 AM

Generally you are correct though the reporters I appreciate hold a bit higher standard - they at least get a few facts mixed in with the BS.

Bloggers are the worst as there is generally zero editorial control.

Used to like to compare the news between BBC and CNN - two slightly different views Now with CNN International out of London and most of the reporters being BBC castoffs we have BBC1 & BBC2.

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#13
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 2:50 AM

When ever you have unsigned work, it is much easier to leave the job undone

I tried to search a couple of different way & didn't come up with anything

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#9

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 10:38 PM

I have many teacher friends and the common feedback from them is that they are bogged down by admin work and numerous meetings which actually take away time for actual teaching which they would have liked to focus more on.

In the initial 1-2 years of their career they would have to spend a lot of time on the lesson plans, but subsequently as earlier post pointed out, they just recycle the lesson plans.

Then again, in my schooldays, I do not recall my teachers having to do so much admin work, and yet we still benefited greatly from them. Sometimes, it is the preparation of "high tech stuff" like powerpoint slides etc that kills a lot of time. Whiteboard/chalkboard worked well for our days :) but I guess parents had concern about respiratory problems - but aren't we perfectly ok? :)

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#10

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/10/2010 11:01 PM

This is interest since teachers often fail students for "incompetent" paperwork.

If you've ever had a mathematically correct paper returned for being too messy, you'd be applauding this action. Ffej

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#11

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 12:10 AM

This reminds me of a story about filling out a yearly form that, among other things, asked for the classroom dimensions. After writing in the same numbers for several years, the teacher decided to have some fun. One year she made the room the size of a postage stamp, the next year the size of Pluto's orbit.

Apparently no one ever reads that crap, but still people have to fill it out.

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#18

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/11/2010 10:16 AM

No. I don´t think a teacher should be fired over paperwork.

I do believe that teachers must be graded based on performance (students and faculty). I also believe that teachers should do some planning. People who teach without plans are either very talented and have alot of experience or don´t know anything about the subject.

Aside from this, being a teacher is about passion. It is about wanting to give out a few pointers that have been learned through practice to people who want to make it in the real world.

I always admire those teachers who have one degree or no degree, but alot of real world experience, rather than those who have 20 degrees (PhD, Masters of the universe or whatever else exists).

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#35
In reply to #18

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 11:43 AM

So should the students receive a bad grade over paperwork? Aren't homework, tests, and quizzes just paperwork to document demonstrable knowledge in the subject. What if the paperwork were the submittal forms with the students final grades, and he continuously forgot to turn it in at the end of terms, should he be fired then. What if the school will lose a few million $ in State or Federal funds because the paperwork was not provided. Maybe he shouldn't be fired, but rather place all the teachers under a contract that requires they receive payments upon completions of specified stages of their work progeress following their submittal of all required documentation of work, and a request for progress payment. I bet if they couldn't get paid until they submitted their paperwork, they would submit their paperwork.

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#39
In reply to #35

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 1:55 PM

That is a whole other issue. If you don´t do the paperwork and leave in the air, for example, your students grades, then the teacher should be reprimended. If this is done continously, a couple of semesters, then he should not get an extention on his/her contract, and yes, possibly get fired. But if the paperwork we are talking about is procedures, and questionaires, why should the teacher neglect his real work to fill out forms?

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#40
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 1:59 PM

FYI, all college professors have degrees, typically at least a Masters degree. It is only in non-degreed technical programs, training programs and some cases primary education that you could ever find a teacher without at least a bachelors degree in something.

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#47
In reply to #40

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/13/2010 11:56 AM

To what question are you answering to? I never said that teachers did not have degrees. Are you trying to make me look stupid? Read and understand the messages before you post.

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#32

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 9:44 AM

Whether or not this lack of paperwork is a valid reason for firing a teacher can not be determined without more information concerning the type of paperwork in question. Some kinds of paperwork are important for various reasons, including performance-rating, performance improvement, etc. It is unreasonable to expect that all communication in this day and age be done face to face, and even if it was, paperwork would still be necessary to provide a record of the interaction. It really isn't usually that big of an issue to complete if you just accept it as part of the job.

That said, sometimes there is paperwork requested that is really unnecessary and / or takes longer than it should have to. In these cases, the right answer is to point this out to the powers that be, along with more suitable alternatives, and to work together with them to change the system for the better.

I also find it interesting that in many of the replies to this post, people are referring to teachers from their past who were fantastic without paperwork or planning. These are a precious few and are special people. Many teachers, especially those who are new to the profession, do need the formal lesson plans and documentation to allow them to do their job properly now, and to gain the experience to allow them to develop into better teachers who don't need the paperwork anymore.

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#33
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 9:52 AM

GA

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#34

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 11:32 AM

It's policy. If they let this teacher get away with it then all the teachers will try to get away with it. It had to be enforced regardless of how well the teacher was relating with the students. If they didn't and the teaching standards in that school started falling then allowing that one teacher to get away with it could be the root of the cause.

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#36
In reply to #34

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 11:48 AM

Yea, Janissaries! Club them into silent submission. That is real leadership.

What perfect role models they will be for our children ......... EW

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#37
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 12:31 PM

No you don't understand and we're probably not getting the full story in the article. I'm willing to bet the teacher was counseled several times before dismissal occured.

Policies have to be enforced or they just come and go like a fad. I'm sure that School district followed an admiistrative process before firing the teacher.

There's a reason why the idea of lesson plans were brought about. If this guy wasn't made to provide a lesson plan then how can that teacher be properly evaluated in providing a proper education? By who's standards are they refering too when they say he was doing a good job teaching the kids? How can the school district know what that teacher is teaching in that class if they have no documentation to reference too?

I am speaking from a Quality Control perspective. They have Standard Operating Procedures, if that one teacher doesn't want to follow SOP then that teacher needed to be gotten rid of.

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#38
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 1:42 PM

First, It is more likely you will find 100 (far more highly educated) Doctors, Physicists, Chemists or Engineers fired before 1 teacher. However, I understood this was a junior college professor not a public school teacher, which presents a large difference in workign experience in the field being taught and actual level of education, but also means less bureaucracy in termination for non-compliance to standards (many of which severely impactthe finances and education of others). How do you know the "paperwork" wasn't required to demonstrate the students passed the class. Imagine being the parent who has to find out that his kid won't graduate because the school has not docuemntation that he ever passed this class, or that the documentation was too late for him to graduate on time. Obviously, I think most preople would agree that students should not graduate with out proper completion of course work, and that administration should verify completion before allowing a student to graduate. How would you do that if the teacher doesn't turn in the documentation. What about the forms to document work for people such as TAs and RAs, I know they don't want to be waiting to get paid on this guy (plus it is against the law to delay reimbursement for work too long). Or how do you verify student eligibility for things like athletics, Athletics eligibility requires you demonstrate the student is passing and keep the records, or they are automatically deemed ineligible. Student athletes become ineligible and they can lose scholarship. Similarly academic scholarships frequently require documentation to verify the student are remain eligible for the scholarships. The odds of a teacher getting fired, even in a college are extremely low, unless they are part-time professors in which case they just won't have any courses to teach next term (not really fired). You know this guy had a number of warnings and meetings on the subject and just refused to do it, and we all know there is not that much paperwork involved in a college professors position, mainly they have payroll issues for their TAs and RAs, eleigibility forms for athletes, end of term grades, and such.

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#43
In reply to #38

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 3:14 PM

I don't know if you're arguing with me or agreeing. Much of your information is irrelevant to the topic.

The level of education for a college teacher and a grade school teacher is the pretty much the same. They all are supposed to have a teaching credential.

Whether it is a college or grade schoo, they still have standard procedures to follow. This article is about a teacher, regardless of what level the teacher is teaching, not taking care of his own paperwork, nothing to do with the students work. No lesson plan is no lesson plan. Teachers are salaried and really don't get to shut the work off when they get home like a machine shop or construction worker. They come home and do their lesson plans and grade homework. This teacher was most likely shutting it off as soon as he was out the classroom and not taking care of his own homework.

I am aware of this because I have a Step Mother that taught English in High School and an Uncle that taught Psychology at Shippensburg State College, I witnessed what both had to do when they got home.

"The job isn't finished until the paper work is done" doesn't just apply to what you do in the bathroom.

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 8:08 PM

Actually no that is incorrect. This is where at least little higher educational experience tends to be quite helpful in understanding the difference. Universities operate much more similarly to private primary schools. Professors do not have to be credentialed as teachers through the State.

College professors have to hold a pHd to be tenured, plus typically some form of professional licensure, they do not have to be credentialed as teachers. College professors are educated in the fields they teach, not in teaching per se. Primary school teachers have to be credentialed by a State board and only need to hold a bachelors of arts degree in the subject of teaching (liberal studies in most california campuses is the term for that field of study). Primary school teacher do not have to have the amount of education that even a technical degree'd major with a bachelors degree must have. to receive a degree to teach chemistry for instance in high school requires far less education in chemistry that a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. To teach in a University you must hold at least a masters degree in chemistry to teach part time, and a doctorate in chemistry to teach full time and be published. The difference is significant. College professors actually have to be substantially competent in their field, primary school teachers just have to be able to graduate with the minimal requirements the State setforth for for all majors in general to graduate, plus some extra teaching classes specialized solely to teachers. As an example, A number of years back I was attending a physical chemistry class and noticed a class prior to mine full of women (unlike physical chemistry) and the Dean of Physics at Cal Poly was teaching the class, so i asked about it and he told me it was one of the two optional astronomy requirements for science teaching majors. Well I needed a astronomy requuirement as a science major and asked if i could take that to fulfill my requirement next quarter and i was told a definite no, that it would not qualify for any science majors requirements (so I had to take an advanced elective in cosmology with a bunch of senior physic majors or wait a year). Teaching majors, except those in mathematical, typically have a minimum requirement for precalculus to graduate, even business majors have to take a years calculus. There is a huge difference between the expectations for a college professors level of education and that of a teacher in the US. Because of many of these differences, and the fact that school teacher represent paraprofessional mass labor versus professors being non-unionized professionals, the bureaucratic expectations tend to differ. Also Teachers are paid differently than professors, part of professors contracts require they maintain their professional status, do research and publish professional article or they can lose thier positions. Teacher have no such requirements, and the schools must pay them for any professional training.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/13/2010 10:23 AM

Good Answer. I rated you as being on topic.

I think each University or College has different criteria for a degree because I have a BSBA and I never took a calculus class, not even pre-calculus. Algebra, Statistics and a couple accounting classes is all I had to take.

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#48
In reply to #46

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/15/2010 11:28 AM

Now the Universities themselves have to be credentialed programs. Take for instance Fresno Pacific University, it is not credentialed, and a number of States keep it on a list if invalid degrees. there are a bunch of those colleges in California, Colorado, and I believe the new place for scam universities is Idaho. Precalculus is the minimum California General Education Math concepts requirement to graduate with a degree. I would definitely check into your colleges credentials, if you never took any precalculus or above.

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#41

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 2:24 PM

OK ... I think you guys are mad at me now. That's good. I have one more thing to add before I take off for the weekend.

I believe that we have grown the "communist government" model in our primary public education system for about the last 50 years. It has deteriorated from a shining success to a miserable failure. It was nothing like that when I went to school (1950's)

Interesting to note it took the world about the same amount of time to decide that such a system didn't work in the running of national governments. The difference in our "nationalized" public education system is that the central government has allowed the existence of an insurgency, the teachers' unions. Rather than greatly improve the situation the unions simply put another burden on an already inefficient system. It is sort of like if the dissenters in communist Russia would have been given low level good paying government jobs rather than being sent to the gulags.

But we've got to face it realistically. The national education system is too complex to be managed from a central entity through layers of control. It simply must be divested and allow control to go back to a local level where it can be managed effectively. We are smart enough to treat our commercial enterprises that way and the result is evident in the economic power of the USA. It is time to do that with public education.

Paperwork is the outward scab that hides the infection underneath. We can spend more years seeking wonder drugs to effect a cure. But eventually the thing must be lanced and drained and the healing begin lest the body be sent on a path to its death.

Ed Weldon

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#42
In reply to #41

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 2:38 PM

This really morphed from a poorly written lead about a teacher being fired for we don't really know to to a general rant about everything.

1) What there is at present does not work!

2) Local school boards have proven to not be up to the job on many fronts from racism to trying to include religion in science and everything else. The Texas school book publishing disaster comes to mind whenever I think of schools.

3) We had lousy teachers 50 years past as I remember from being in school at that time - far more teachers that I don't care to remember than the few exceptional teachers that I will always think well of.

My kids ended up going to a private religious school in Union County, NC due to the poor state of the public schools. At graduation I had to sit and listen to the goofball speakers yap about abortion and all and I hated being around that bunch. Didn't do too much damage to the kids though I don't think. Less than the public schools would have!

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#49
In reply to #41

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/15/2010 11:49 AM

You want to scare the president or congressmen of the US, Iran or North Korea testing a nuclear bomb and a ICBM delivery system is nothing compared to the possibility that one of the two major teachers unions may be slightly unhappy with them anytime within two years prior to next election. Techers unions represent one of , if not the two, most consistently politically influential lobbying groups in the US, and the main goal of all union leadership is to increase the total member dues received while remaining in charge. To increase total dues received you can charge more per person, or get more people working (competent or not). this is the underlying problem with such unionization is it tends to try and get more people in the workforce at any cost, exept their own. When these unions represent puublic agency services, there are no profit based controls on them, as the elected officials depend on the unions for their support and re-election campaign funds. Get more union members working, means more money for the union bosses, who can then pay more for the election of chosen representatives and advertisement to sell their false image to the public. As we all know budgets don't mean all that much in government, except that they don't pay their bills until they sign one. They can spend as much as they want, even if they can not pay for it. If schools had to oeprate more like private schools, or even colleges, where competence and finances have to make sense, they would be much more strongly motivated to retain the most competent people and control the numbers of teachers to maximize their budgets. Of course the down side to this is that science and engineering courses tend to be expensive due to limitations on space and specialized facilities, so there is a risk of, like a number of State Universities have tried to do, the schools trying to cut back on the hard sciences, Physics and Chemistry, and offer something less facilities demanding.

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#45

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/12/2010 11:48 PM

Can anyone actually confirm this story?

this is the typical mode of some of the bloggers

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#50

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

11/15/2010 2:09 PM

Everybody look!!

Our hero OT sprinkler paid a vist over here.

Ed Weldon (I go more than you do.....)

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#51

Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

01/20/2011 12:19 AM

I'd Like to know what kind of paperwork they are referring to.

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#52
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Re: Should Teachers Be Fired Over Paperwork?

01/20/2011 12:36 AM

Darn, I was just thinking of the same question.

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