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Critical Teaching

In a world where Education has constantly been the subject of change and ridicule, schools fight for the time and opportunity to teach students the new standards and benchmarks creatively.

There has been such an influx of political interruption within the public schools over the past six years. If you really take a look at what has happened through that time period, you might be a
mazed. Is there any room left for students to investigate, or extend their lessons? Are lessons open-ended enough to go off on a tangent and study something closely related?

h federal education plans being adopted over the past few years, teachers have had to narrow the "roads" they lead their students down. Many teachers are submitting themselves to defeat, and simply teaching toward the tests. This is something that I hope most teachers WILL NOT do. Keep that spark of creativity in your blood. Be the light that inspires your students to want to learn more.

Push the envelope... and foster a desire in their souls that drives them to ask questions: "Why?" "What's the difference?" "How come?" "Does this even matter?"

To teach is not only to present them with the information so that they may learn. To teach is to instill in them a passion for greater knowledge.

Teachers- we need to begin to teach our students critically. The future doctors, lawyers, and teachers shouldn't merely accept things as fact, but need to learn to question why things are the way they are. If they disagree with something, they can make a difference.

Critical teaching, in my own perception, is educating students to prepare them for real life. Another key aspect of critical teaching is presenting tasks to students, and asking them to become activists in some form. The most important concept of all is when students begin to question:


What can you do in your classroom?

You can relate things easily to the real world, in all subject areas.

They may ask, "Why am I doing this?" Let your response be, "This is a skill that will help you when you're on your

Write letters, assign p
rojects, build things... these are all ways to teach critically. Let students be active and involved in classwork.

The children are the future. Don't allow them to accept everything as fact. Challenge them to ask questions, and seek greater things. By allowing them to think critically, who knows what great things are in store for the world?



"If one doesn't respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others." -Ayn Rand

I would have to begin by saying that I really don't agree with the cartoon, but I thought that it provided a topic that I discuss in my classroom, and hopefully is discussed at home as well. That being - RESPECT.

We talk about respecting other people a lot in school, and a great deal of little chats that I have with my sixth graders are about respect. We may be talking about respecting the feelings of another student. We might focus on just respecting elders, or people of authority. My class has heard me talk about other areas of respect, including respecting ones property, space, possessions, family, time, differences, and SELF.

What exactly are we looking at doing when we have these discussions? I call them little chats, because it gives a different "feel" to the room when I say it. "OK, it's time for a little chat." I ask questions, they ask questions, and we discuss the importance of respecting others, and ourselves.

And that is where I think it all begins. We need to respect ourselves first, in order to respect other people. Which is why I am pretty much nothing like the teacher in the cartoon. I have a lot of self pride, and I'm proud to say that I'm a teacher. I feel that I play a relevant role in my community, and do a good job in my profession. I respect myself, and I respect others.

What makes life difficult is when you run into people that don't have any respect. I can picture Rodney Dangerfield saying "I don't get any respect." Well, they need to begin with themselves, and work from there. It just seems to snowball though. They begin by not respecting themselves. Maybe they've had tough luck finding a job, or are unable to stop some sort of addiction, which happens all the time. That doesn't mean you're worthless, but some people take that kind of situation too hard. They lose respect for themselves, and with it, they lose respect for other people. They begin to blame others for things. They disrespect other people, and this just makes things so much worse.

That is one thing that I don't tolerate in my classroom at all. I will not allow someone to disrespect another person, especially me. And to be honest, I can tell if someone respects me or not. If they respect me, then they most likely will receive that same respect from me back. If they don't respect me, I'm not going to respect them.

So, to combat disrespect, we talk about ways to show respect:
  • Complimenting other people.
  • Showing empathy and understanding.
  • Addressing people when being talked to.
  • Removing hats when in public buildings.
  • Apologizing when necessary.
  • Saying "Thank You" and "You're Welcome"
  • Being prepared, and alert.
Among many other things...

"They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them."- Mahatma Gandhi


School Excuses


These are actual excuse notes teachers have
received, spelling mistakes included.

-My son is under a doctor's care and should not
take P.E. today. Please execute him.

-Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was
sick and I had her shot.

-Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent
on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.

-Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is

-Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days.
Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his

-John has been absent because he had two
teeth taken out of his face.

-Carlos was absent yesterday because he was
playing football. He was hurt in the growing

-Megan could not come to school today because
she has been bothered by very close veins.

-Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre
in his side.

-Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has
very loose vowels.

-Please excuse Tommy for being absent
yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.

-Irving was absent yesterday because he missed
his bust.

-Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his
father's fault.

-I kept Billie home because she had to go
Christmas shopping because I don't know what
size she wear.

-Please excuse Jennifer for missing school
yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off
the porch, and when we found it Monday, we
thought it was Sunday.

-Sally won't be in school a week from Friday.
We have to attend her funeral.

My daughter was absent yesterday because she
was tired. She spent a weekend with the

-Please excuse Jason for being absent
yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed

-Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday.
She was in bed with gramps.

-Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having
a gangover.

-Please excuse Burma, she has been sick and
under the doctor.