Being a teacher in the Tacoma School District, I read with deep interest Thomas Friedman’s column (TNT, 10-24) about China’s educational system and its secret to success over the last 10 years.
Friedman’s description of the progress of China’s educational system was both inspiring with possibilities and yet downright disheartening as I assessed our state and country’s “lots of talk, little action” approach to developing our educational system.
I teach at a school which has implemented many of the the strategies that Friedman says lead to high-performing schools. We have peer-to-peer training, professional learning communities, professional development and a school culture which prizes education and respects teachers. Unfortunately, much of this is piled on top of already full days and evenings.
This is what leads to the disheartening feeling as I look at my crowded classrooms where I barely have a minute to breath, much less spend the quality time it takes to develop a “meticulously planned” lesson. Many late days and weekend planning sessions are required compared to the time that Chinese teachers seem to have built into their day.
I hope for the day, but I don’t hold my breath, when “time” (spelled money) is spent to allow teachers the time for quality planning and parents take part in “parent training” as true partners in a child’s education. The secret is out.