The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

Still Searching for Students’ Voices

on April 24, 2017

Today’s post is a supplement to my previous one, giving an explanation of why I –and you–need to hear the voices of students.  It was originally posted four months ago.  Readers, please consider asking students you know to tell you what school means to them: “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

P.S.  My hand is healing.  I will give it a few more days before I order it to write a full page.

Being elsewhere for the past two weeks has given me a new perspective on what should be included in this blog. Up until now I have focused on information about school practices in different places obtained from various news sources, accompanied by my reactions and suggestions. I have also argued for my own beliefs about education and described some of the practices in the schools I worked in or visited after retiring. From time to time, I have also posted essays written by other educators. Yet, important voices and crucial information have been missing entirely. Both readers and I need to know what students of all ages think about their schools today and what changes they would like to see happen.

Although some of the articles I’ve read contain quotes from students-almost always young ones-they are brief and formulaic, telling how much they love their teacher or their new commercial materials. Nowhere have I read what older students think about the Common Core Standards, high stakes testing, the curriculum, the amount of homework, class sizes, technology in the classroom, bullying, or the emphasis or being prepared for college and the workplace. These are the things all teachers, principals, and education decision makers need to know about and consider in making decisions about school structures and practices.

Although I have been and continue to be a supporter of teachers, students, and public schools, I really have no idea of what school life is like today. I retired from my principal’s job in 2000 and stopped supervising student teachers and visiting classrooms of teachers recommended to me in 2014. To do a good job with my chosen role of writing this blog two or three times a week, I need to hear more from the people who are living a good part of their everyday lives in schools today. That means not only students, but teachers, student teachers, aides, and other school employees or volunteers. Although I might ask a contributor for more information or some revision, I will respect the efforts, opinions and anonymity (if requested) of anyone who sends me a submission. Even If you have only a short comment to make, I will find a way to include it. Also, however, I retain the right to reject anything that seems inaccurate, disrespectful of others, or illegal.

Teachers and parents, please consider encouraging students to contribute to “The Treasure Hunter” or contributing yourself. Not only will you be helping to make my blog better and my life easier, but you will also be adding the voices that most need to be heard.

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