Good-bye to the school assembly line

After teaching journalism for 27 years, Carol Richtsmeier is retiring from the education factory, she writes on her Bellringers blog.

For years now in my teaching career, I’ve felt like Lucy Ricardo working on the candy assembly line, but without the benefit of eating all that chocolate.

. . . Like Lucy, I have found myself working at warp speed, expected to churn out cookie-cutter children all wrapped up and ready to go as “lifelong learners,” “productive citizens” or whatever other education buzzword is trending at the time. This, of course, must occur in a “stimulating and challenging environment” and be packaged in a neat little box lined with a “better future.”

The Widget Effect study predicts public education won’t improve until administrators and policymakers quit viewing teachers as widgets.

Just because school feels like a factory, that doesn’t mean I have to act like a widget.

So I’ve tried to work harder and smarter, and eventually, that’s meant I’ve also worked longer hours. I’ve tried to do more, achieve more and be more until I’ve begun to feel like I belong in that Army recruiting commercial.

I’ve attended seminars, taught workshops and learned new things to bring to my classroom. I’ve embraced the latest technology, joined committees, mentored others and blogged religiously about my trials, tribulations and successes.

. . . Every year, I’ve struggled to show that somehow my work matters in my classroom and my student publications.

 No interchangeable widget here. No sirree, Missy. Not me.

For 27 years, “I’ve had the privilege of engaging in the education of hundreds of children,” Richtsmeier writes. “Because of them, I’ve become a better, stronger person – one who cannot and will not be unceremoniously reduced to a widget.”

She plans to .  . . Well, you’ll have to read Bellringers to find out.

Richtsmeier is the author of How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned in Professional Development.

Life’s a carnival

Bellringers is hosting the Hotter than a Habanero edition of the Education Buzz carnival.

Old Andrew writes about smart phone addiction in The Insanity of Allowing Phones In Class.

Use this form to submit a post by July 1 for next week’s Education Buzz.

Life’s a carnival

The Education Buzz Carnival has returned with “Wish Life Were A Beach,” hosted by Bellringers.

Miss Eyre writes on NYC Educator about the pros and cons of looping, teaching the same class for the second year.

Mamacita loves children’s books about kids who have adventures — not play dates organized and monitored by their mothers, TV and computer games.

Yes, bad things do happen to our children.

Some of those bad things are their lack of freedom, initiative, adventure, creativity, and self-made friends of all ages. Another bad thing is the inability of so many of them to even READ about these kids.

. . . No wonder so many of our kids are fat and stupid. Sheesh. Some of them have never breathed fresh air in their lives – they go from hermetically sealed homes to hermetically sealed schools, with the occasional jaunt to air-conditioned WalMarts and malls. I bet a lot of “allergies” are really just the body’s reaction to fresh air. It’s the lungs gasping and saying, “What IS this stuff?”

There are even DVDs playing the van “lest they have a moment to sit still, look around, notice things, and think,” Mamacita writes. She recommends Elizabeth Enright’s books.


Life’s a carnival

Bellringers is hosting the un-April Fools’ Education Buzz Carnival.

Michael Mazenko urges teachers to fear ‘No Fear Shakespeare‘ study guides.

Some fans are outraged that a black girl was cast to play a Hunger Games character they assumed was white. Philip at Writing to Comprehend discusses why readers might miss the race of a character described as having  “dark brown skin.”

Life’s a carnival

Bellringers has posted the Education Buzz carnival — and met the yearbook deadlines!

Steve Spangler showed off fun science on the Ellen DeGeneres Show yesterday. “In past appearances, he has made giant Elephant’s Toothpaste, blown hundreds of ping pong balls across the stage, walked across a pool of corn starch, laid Ellen across a bed of nails and shot smoke rings across the studio.”

 If I Had a Million Dollars is the theme of this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling, hosted by Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

Life’s a carnival

Bellringers is hosting the Numero Uno 2012 edition of the Education Buzz Carnival.

Nancy Flanagan of Teacher in a Strange Land contributes Re-Gifted: The Prickly Politics of the Academically Able.  “Are we cheating the gifted?” she asks. “Not any more than usual.”

January is “Get Organized Month,” writes Dee of Time4Learning, host of this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling.

Life’s a carnival

Bellringers is hosting The 12 Favorite Bloggers Christmas Edition of the Education Buzz Carnival.

10. Steve Spangler (just because he blows up things) 
And be sure to sing along to Richie’s Teacher’s Twelve Days of Christmas.

Submit here by New Year’s Eve (5 pm) to be included in the Jan. 4 carnival.

Teach Beside Me is hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling.

Life’s a carnival

Bellringers is hosting the smorgasbord edition of the Education Buzz carnival.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is in full swing Under the Golden Apple Tree.

Life’s a carnival

Bellringers is hosting the World Series edition of the Education Buzz carnival.

Teachers are discouraged from dreaming about what schools can be, writes Nancy Flanagan of Teacher in a Strange Land

Life’s a carnival

The Occupy Anything Edition of the Education Buzz carnival is up at Bellringers.

There’s no fix for the racial achievement gap “until you’re honest about what causes it,” writes Darren on Right on the Left Coast.