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Sallie Singleton

Professor Juergensen
EDU 407
December 1, 2015
Advocacy Plan
The topic of discussion I chose for my advocacy plan dealt with comparing and
contrasting private schools and public schools. From my own background attending
private schools, and the experience I have had the past three years in various public
schools I feel that I am capable of giving a justified comparison.
During my years at private school I felt that I was given opportunities to be not
only a student in the classroom, but a scholar as well. The difference being is that any
student can come into the classroom. They can sit and ignore what the teacher is saying,
waiting for that final bell to ring. Their work can be average and their attitude towards
learning can be subpar. A scholar is a student who has delved into his or her own
academic career. They come to school ready to learn and gain knowledge. A scholar
uses critical thinking skills and pushes the envelope of learning. They ask questions,
participate consistently, and embrace what is going on in the classroom.
I appreciate the creativity my teachers offered me in a private school. I realize
now that without the inventive activities, plays, and extracurricular, I wouldnt be the
scholar I am today.
Specifically speaking about the school I am in now, it is hard to watch students
come in everyday and not experience the type of learning and teaching I experienced.
Students who are homeless, without clothes, and food come to school everyday. These

students especially need to be given something to look forward to. They need to come to
school excited to learn and knowing there is something better out there. If they work
hard and learn they can be whomever they chose to be.
What I have learned about public schools is that teachers are stuck to a sort of
script. I have heard my teacher say it, other teachers say it at the school, and other
teachers from other schools say it as well. Last year I had a teacher ask me about going
to a private liberal arts school and what it did for me. I discussed with her how being
required to perform in plays each year and having so many creative project-based
teaching assignments really helped me to develop my own critical thinking skills. I was
not given tons of worksheets by my teacher or asked to memorize information. I had to
discover my own understanding.
What I see in the classroom now is worksheet after worksheet. Teachers have to
follow strict guidelines of what to teach and examples of how to teach it. If teachers were
given the chance to be more creative they could have a better chance at catering to each
child.
I feel as if there are various methods to solving this dilemma of student learning.
The first method would be to eliminate the whole idea of scripting a lesson. Let teachers
have creativity to teach lessons. If teachers are stuck to what and how they can teach,
how can they teach? Just like students need to use critical thinking skills and be creative,
so do teachers. How can we constrain our teachers and not let them flourish in their own
creative minds. States have their own discretion when it comes to education, so I feel as
if it would take a lot of effort and time to convert public schools to the same teaching
system as private schools.

My second method would be to have teachers assessed during unannounced


observations. Too many times have I seen teachers know beforehand when they are
being assessed and go on to add things to their classroom, perfect their lessons, and
discuss with students how their behavior should be during the observation. I truly believe
that teachers do not need to be aware of when they are being observed. It defeats the
purpose of really seeing how the teacher is in the classroom and if the students are
learning. Teachers need to be seen when they dont know they are being seen.
Administration should not be the only ones observing the teachers as well. Third parties
should be involved in this. This way there are no biased opinions. If teachers are not up
to par they should be on a form of probation. They must improve and will have another
observation in the future.
I know there can be the excuse of needing these teachers, or all the good
teachers are gone. However, this is not a valid statement. Some people may not be born
with the ability to teach, but if given the proper instruction, experience, creativity, and
critique they have the ability to be great teachers. We are not born with all the knowledge
and experience of the world. We were born as clean slates waiting for knowledge and
experience to be written on us. This concept does not change as we get older. Our
yearning for knowledge does not falter. We must raise expectations, we must expect
more from not only our students, but our teachers as well.
For my first method I feel as if it would stagger for some states. This method is
an umbrella for various policies dealing with education. I feel as if we would have to
work towards it. It is such a vast concept to change for teachers, some who have been in
public schools for many years may need to refresh with classes. I also think that some

states and schools may be against it. There are districts out there that support the way
public schools are run. If everyone had the same opinion on how schools should function
we would not have all of these different schools. I think this method would be something
to set as a goal rather than to start off.
With my second method I feel as if it is more reasonable. I know that private and
public schools do require their teachers to be observed. I believe the difference is the
procedure they take to observe and assess their teachers. From my experience in private
schools the administration and parents can come in randomly or whenever they chose for
an unscheduled visit to entail, assess teachers. In a situation right now, the teachers are
required to complete a technology-based module. Switching over to the public school I
am in, I have seen the teachers discussing when different people from the district are
coming. They started hanging different work on the walls and adding standards around
their classroom. I think all this does is teach people how to pretend being an effective
teacher.
Instead, the district officials or whomever they decide needs to observe the
teachers, need to show up unannounced and walk through the schools and classrooms.
This in no way is saying that all teachers are ineffective, but rather there are teachers who
need help. The best way to help anyone is to see what he or she is struggling in. We tell
our students all the time to not cheat, keep your eyes on your own paper, and do your
own work. But what we arent realizing is we are doing the same thing. When it is time
for us to be graded on our work as teachers, we have the open-book, help your
neighbor policy. We cannot know what a student needs help in if they are just collecting

the answers from someone else. Just like we dont know what a teacher needs help in if
we are only viewing them when they know we are looking.
Our students need us. We cannot let them fail. There are too many things
working against them as we speak. We have to be the best teachers we can be. Some
students may just show up to school to get something to eat for that day. Make them
want to come to school because they know they are walking into a classroom where there
is someone who cares. There is someone who wants them to be something. Teachers
need that support and resource to be able to do that. You cannot challenge the mindset of
someone when you are not given the ability to do so. Our teachers need more freedom.
They need the ability to foster that knowledge in a child. By being constrained, they
cannot. I wholeheartedly believe that if teachers were given the freedom to teach the way
they chose, and what they chose, so many students would benefit.
Teachers could have more of a differentiated instruction. Instead of teaching to a
few groups of students, they could teach to each individual child. No matter what the
background, every, single student, on the face of this Earth, has the right to an excellent
education. Money, neighborhoods, or skin color should never play a part in how a
student is taught.
Through my comparing and contrasting of private and public schools I have found
that the contrasts outweigh the comparisons. The reason being is that the downfalls in
public schools, are what most help students in private schools become successful. The
most important aspect of this that I realized is support for teachers. The more we support
our teacher and give them the freedom and resources that they need, they can better help
our students.

The next step to solving this problem lies in two participants, the teachers and the
parents. I believe that more parents of students in public schools, as well as teachers in
public schools need to advocate for a more efficient teaching environment. We must
stand up together to make change. I believe that change is best, and change is needed.
Scripts are written from ones perspective. Every student and teacher has their own
script, let them write it for themselves.