First and foremost, I am not a “teacher” in the sense you most might remember or recognize ; 4 years of college, student teaching, find a job, finish masters then hope for tenure. I've known real teachers that updated their lesson plans, innovated and were on the cutting edge of their area. Then again I’ve known “teachers” that relied on the lesson plans of others and did the minimum or worse, didn’t understand what they were supposed to impart to the fresh minds in front of them.
I spent 20+ years in law enforcement and during that time obtained a 2 year degree in criminal justice, became a police officer, went to basic police school ( 6 months) and went on the road. After 15 years I went to Instructor Development School, (2 weeks) to be able to present in academies and develop curriculum. Might sound a bit sparse to some but in other’s eyes I have a PHD in my field that you could never get in any institution. My total law enforcement training and course work spans years. Since then I’ve trained young officers in areas of police sciences such as street survival, commercial vehicle interdiction and enforcement, accident reconstruction (years of progressive courses there) and other areas too numerous to mention because of the ever changing trends. So much for the groundwork…. Here’s the meat… To be able to function in Society as a productive member there are a few simple thoughts from someone who has gotten a perspective from scenarios most of you hope you never see; a gun in your face, delivering the news that someone is not coming home or placing someone under arrest……Here are some simple facts of life based on my experience:
1. Parents: Be a parent to your child. You can’t be their friend, it’s not in the job description, love them to death but give them someone to respect. There are times when your child’s best interest isn’t what they want to hear or do. Too bad. They will get over it if you take the time to tell them the truth. The truth is stark and simple and in most cases but hard to hear. Contrary to what most would like to tell you, not everyone can be President or Bill Gates. One or two parent families can raise amazing people, you just have to be able to say “no” and care about passing grades. You gave birth to them now act like they matter. If you don’t provide a family, they will find it in a gang.
2. Children preschool to high school : Be polite, listen to your parents, respect them and pay attention. Avoid the “popular” trends when you think they are trouble.Learn all you can, graduate and keep on learning even if it isn’t in college. Put yourself out there and work for it. You will succeed.
3. Colleges give degrees based on information that is way out of date. That being said, never believe the adage “ those who can’t do teach”. Business and tech changes at the speed of light and lots of very successful people never went to or graduated from college and are more than capable of teaching you some amazing life/job lessons. Some of the biggest criminals had degrees or were politicians. Don’t sell your soul down a road where you can’t see road signs or directions.
4. I’m not going to be popular for this. Tenure in any profession should be abolished. Your position should be based on your effectiveness, not time served.
5. Last but not least; Charter schools should be private schools, not state funded. Don’t take funding away from public schools to support schools for profit. If you don’t think they are, you should have been in Albany this last week. 500 busses from “charter” schools filled with students and teachers on a “civic” field trip looking for funding from NYS. If you need money then why did you buy thousands of hats and t-shirts, have a catered lunch and pay for Ashanti to have a concert for you? How do you even justify all these teachers and students skipping school? Better still; Mr. Kittredge, why won’t you tell the people of the state of NY how much was spent on this “field trip”? I’m thinking that money would be better spent on bettering the NYS schools that most people send our children to. And better yet; when the finish high school their community college was free…..
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