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In Support of Teachers Supporting Students:


A Proposal to Make American Education Great Again
By: Dax Fulton
Smith
Salt Lake Community College

here truly is nothing as important as the future. The future, as they say,
belongs to the younger generations for they will be the ones to take over
where we leave off. So why is it that we dont prepare them for their

roles as guardians of the planet and our future? As it so happens to be, schools and
academies were created in order to support this younger generation in hopes of
providing them with the necessary knowledge to build the future! However, the

effectiveness of these elementary education systems has not always been the most
effective. Somewhere and somehow the foundation for all higher learning is lost
within 12 years of constant teaching. Maybe we can blame the student. Maybe we
can blame the administrators. Maybe we can blame the parents. There are many
different factors that add into the system of issues; but there are only small
changes that have a chance of truly improving the system. This article will discuss
what very might be the best option to improve elementary education. There needs
to be greater and easier involvement between teachers and students. This solution
involves increased coordination between teachers of different grades in order to
develop a student to the best of his/her abilities.

One of the most difficult challenges to teachers is the Summer Break. Winter
break and spring break have a similar effect of reverse learning on a students
mind. So were a student to have a living record that were accessible to all their
teachers then progress could be more accurately measured and one teacher could
pick up right where the other left off. To demonstrate the system, lets imagine that
little Johnny just graduated the 2nd grade. He struggled with reading but picked
up math and basic science concepts really easily. Of course his teacher would have
noted this in his online record and possibly could have discussed this with his
parents during parent teacher conferences. In addition, the teacher could go to the
grade level team of other teachers and sought outside opinions and or solutions to
help Johnny. Then when Johnny enters 3rd grade, his teacher(s) would be able to
know what he learned and where he would be academically. This pattern would be
able to even continue until high school where his teachers would be able to expand
and place him in classes where similar minded students would benefit and blossom
from specialized instruction.
In his best selling book In Praise of American Educators and How They Can Become

Even Better, Dr. Richard DuFour exclaims that there is a greater need for
effective teaching for effective schools than we have ever had in this country.
Those in higher educational administration have offered other solutions under
certain assumptions. They assume that teachers arent sufficiently motivated and
that they are always able to teach their students effectively. Of course this is
hardly ever the case. To be a teacher requires a huge amount of love and
motivation to help students learn, they certainly arent there because of the

paycheck. With todays growing diversity of students and the amount of attention
required by each student, every teacher is not able to create or deliver content in
the way that each student needs. These assumptions set by administrators around
the country could be overcome with a system of grade to grade continuation and
support amongst teachers. Effective teaching needs to be had in this country.
Each grade of teachers is an important unit within any school. It would be rude to
state that they dont work together, because obviously teachers communicate and
already work together to a degree. What we need is stronger support and exchange
of information between these teachers. Starting from grade to grade interactions,
again, while it does happen, a fifth grade teacher is hardly ever going to ask the
fourth grade teacher or third grade teacher of a student how a student learned in
their class. Maybe teachers exclaim just how different students act in each grade,
but it is difficult to drastically change how and what a student has learned. In order
to improve this, as mentioned before, there could be a living record of a student
and their progress. In addition, the constant support of the teachers from each
other is essential to their success. If teachers could be paid for a few extra hours
each week, they would be able to have weekly meetings dedicated to talking about
their students. They could also address the unique problems that a teacher might
be having and could receive praise, support and encouragement from their fellow
teachers. In addition, only 1-2 hours a week could be used to update the records of
their students and ask how each is doing. The constant pondering of students
progress is actually something that most educators do in their heads, but there
appear to be few who write down these thoughts. This time for team collaboration

and individual student examination could benefit the learning needed and
received by every student.
This system is something that obviously requires a bit of time and training
to implement. According to iste.org, personalized learning focuses on learning as
a result of what the learner is doing. A student does many different things
throughout his or her career as a student, but will always show patterns of
learning. When a student signs for classes as a kindergartener, in addition to their
electronic records such as vaccinations and address, an electronic version
outlining student progress is created. It is here that trained and informed teachers
can briefly explain how the student is doing from year to year. Technology as it
can be meaningfully used in this situation gives the teachers the ability to expand
personalized learning not just for a year, but for the many years someone is in a
school system. As are most programs implemented, this system of Teacher to
Teacher to Student interaction would start at the kindergarten level and then year
by year expand to the higher grades. Each teacher by year would receive training
on how to use the system as well as time to practice with their own grade level
teachers. If a teacher would not wish to participate, they would be treated like any
other teacher who doesnt wish to follow school policy or principle. However it
cant be emphasized enough that enhancing these interactions between those
involved in learning will only benefit the overall goal of teaching a student.
Being an American teacher is a role that is greatly underappreciated and
undervalued in society today. With increased international competition and a
widely growing variety of mental and learning disabilities, American educators

have more pressure placed on them than ever before. What society needs to realize
is that the teachers are usually excellent people, but the system is flawed. With an
improved system that includes a personalized student record and assisted
collaboration between teachers, they are benefitted and aided in their desires and
abilities to help students learn. Because when students genuinely learn, they are
happier with them selves, their test grades will naturally improve and our society
as a whole would improve. There is no space for error here. The American educator
is already great, we just need to help them with a great system and habilitate great
student learning. If we follow this proposal set forth, we can assuredly move
forward and achieve more educational success than the United States has seen in
decades!

Sources
Basye, Dale. "Personalized vs. Differentiated vs. Individualized Learning."ISTE. N.p., 5 Aug.
2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.

DuFour, Richard. In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better.
N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.