What Time Is It?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

What time is it begins what could be a needed discussion of the school system and school systems generally.  Each new school year the children are seated all shiny faces looking directly at this person who is to be the teacher for this school year. Be it a 6-year-old or 16-year-old the faces are all the same and each comes with an inside face we rarely get to see unless. It is the unless I want to share because of its importance and relevancy to the cost of educating children. 

There are very loud voices and necessary ones that the value of a school depends on the teacher, but it is that same teacher that faces those many personalities that is the key and often forgotten. Low pay we have all heard about. It is real and the measly five percent raise for teachers hardly demonstrates real support, but I can't linger here. Too many important factors and one that bothers me a great deal.  Have the readers ever seen how many administrators are drawing $100,000 salaries? That number, never static, is one of the areas that bothers this educator. That distance, and I am not meaning physical, adds to the frustrations of the teacher's role. "I need help" heard over and over again during my career, teachers asking for help. What kind of help is needed?  That list is a long one and for the brevity of this article I will mention just a few.

1.  She comes to school with an odor and the children have spoken to me about.

2.  He is unable to read the material I have on hand. I do not know what his reading difficulties are.

3.  There was some sort of fight in the home of ……. last night. Student appears very withdrawn today and he wants to fight others.

4.  She comes to school without lunch or lunch money... "I have been buying her lunch for the past week."

5.  The father, neighborhood children have said, has gone to jail.

This is just a small sample of every day.  Even high school teachers face the same concerns and where is the help? Oh, some will say to report to the school principal or the school social worker or the school psychologist.  All wonderful. One principal; one social worker and she/he has five other schools; ditto for the school psychologist. Help is needed for the classroom teacher every day and every teacher. There should be staff in every school designated to be the "helper" the teacher needs and I mean the teacher needs today, not next week. Possibly a ratio of one of these generalists for every three to four teachers in the elementary schools and lower ratios for the middle and high and I submit reasons for less in the upper grades. I will cite one. If that classroom teacher has support on a daily basis with regular feedback; relevant feedback, she/he can do the job of teaching. What is to stop the classroom teacher establishing throughout the school year a visitation plan for the home of every single child assigned? Oh boy, I can hear the cries of mercy now!  Let me share what that visit does to the teacher's credibility. The warmth, the caring,  extended to that family that may have that so difficult child. It is magical, believe me  I know. That plan I did every year.

If the school system would maintain the wealth of teacher value and support the teacher, the school principal would serve a different role (explained earlier) , assistant superintendent or even the superintendent of schools and all those high paying positions would be in the classrooms helping, serving. This is what will happen to test scores. Simply, they will go up. Schools will be talked about and proudly. Schools will finally serve both the child and the family and the entire community benefits. Maybe we could even erase poverty. What a concept don't you think?

Robert Brooks


Roy Exum: Memorial Day, 2020

Roy Exum: The Christians' Fault

Some Wonderful Things


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Opinion

Roy Exum: Memorial Day, 2020

There is an old Indian proverb that is perhaps my favorite when word reaches me than a man or a woman in uniform perished in combat. On this day where we honor those who died while defending our country’s freedom, I am always reminded, “Good men must die, but death cannot take their names.” Any one who has ever stood post, knows well of the huge risks, the God-wretched intangibles ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Christians' Fault

A Harvard Law professor, Elizabeth Bartholet, has clamored for the spotlight in recent weeks seeking to ban homeschooling. She claims there is little oversight for what homeschooled children are learning, that in many places the uneducated adults are not qualified to teach their children, and that with child abuse on the rise, the fact there are no “mandated reporters,” such as ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Adds Another 54 Coronavirus Cases; Tennessee Has 2 More Deaths

Hamilton County has added another 54 coronavirus cases, moving the total to 694, the local Health Department reported on Memorial Day. The county remains at 14 deaths. There have been seven confirmed cases at the Waddington North America Novolex plant on Quintus Loop in the Jersey Pike area. The plant, which had already planned to close for the Memorial Day weekend, conducted ... (click for more)

Summer Meal Locations At Schools To Open Tuesday

Summer meal pickup sites available at Hamilton County Schools will start food service on Tuesday. These sites will be open on Tuesdays and Friday each week from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Each Tuesday, families will be able to pick up three meals for each person at the sites. On Friday, families will receive four meals for each person in the family. The sites will continue to follow CDC ... (click for more)

Sports

Fulmer Issues Statement On SEC Decision To Allow Return To Activity By Student-Athletes

Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer provided the following response to the SEC decision to allow student-athletes to return to campuses: Southeastern Conference leadership on Friday voted to allow voluntary, in-person athletics activities on league campuses starting Monday, June 8. Each SEC institution will make localized decisions regarding when and how student-athletes ... (click for more)

Dan Fleser: Tennessee In Lock Step With New SEC Athletic Guidelines

KNOXVILLE – The Southeastern Conference will make its first move back toward the playing fields when it allows the resumption of voluntary in-person athletic activities on June 8 on campuses. Tennessee will be lockstep with this first step, which was approved via vote of the schools on Friday. “We’ll continue to follow the guidance from medical experts and health officials ... (click for more)