Looking at public schools through the lens of television

Here in the United States, a new television program premiered this week. I don’t know if there will be more episodes. My husband, who knew about it and recorded it, says it was the pilot, which makes me think there are other episodes coming. My daughter texted to see if I had watched it (I had not at the time of her text nor did I even know about it) as she had watched it on Hulu. So, we watched Abbott, a mockumentary on public schools.

Let me tell you, it is pretty right-on. Which, as my daughter noted, is very sad. But, there is humor scattered here and there, just like in a real school setting. You have to laugh or you will just sit in a puddle of tears and be angry all of the time.

As it ended on a bit of a high note, I had to say that there was more truth in the final solution to the episode’s problem than you would wish. I texted my daughter–If you want something for your class, go get it yourself. Go find someone in the community to provide it. And when you get so tired of doing that, retire.

14 responses to “Looking at public schools through the lens of television

  1. Thanks for the recommendation to watch that show. I’ll check it out! 🙂

  2. Wha is that ad from a urologist doing on your site? You should remove it.

  3. That does sound like a good TV show.

    • Yes, would love to hear your take on it.

      • I did student teaching k-12 in public schools, a term in a low-income middle school, taught Art 6-12 in a private prep school, subbed k-12 in all subjects, and English 10-12 for 29 years.

        My husband nailed it, the show is too real. (But I enjoyed watching.) A difference is that the principal would tend to treat teachers as the same age as their students. Honestly, this was noticeable when I was subbing. Half of public school teachers, on average, last less than four years before leaving the profession.

        I have known great teachers in every subject area. I have also known a few bad ones. I have known a few great administrators and some terrible ones.

        The Band teacher was the best teacher in the building when I left.

      • I taught for 21 years in the business department at a large inner city school with the most amazing teachers. We had our own office, secretary, and budget. We partnered with a large number of local businesses who provided support. Our marketing program had 19 field trips a year along with summer internships for students. We worked so hard to make it happen, but it was all on us. The district’s support was minimal.

      • That is impressive. I would think the district would be proud and supportive…

      • You know when we saw the district giving support? When they could use our program to say they were fulfilling certain expectations in school reform. Same thing in our own school. We got lots of kudos for meeting certain standards thereby allowing others to do less.

      • Yes, that’s what I saw too. I kept the Library open on Wednesdays for over twenty years (one year I was paid from a grant and joined by a math teacher) and that was on the District and school website. Mostly this was to ensure students had access to computers and me with questions. Only students thanked me.

  4. Every single time I’ve met and talked with a home schooled kid, teen, or graduate, they are leaps and bounds ahead of their public school peers.

    • That has been my experience… sometimes. Sometimes home schooling was a disaster for the family. Two extreme examples: One was a dancer who transferred to public school as a high school junior because she wanted a diploma, and she did fine. Another began earlier, graduated, went off to college, and never spoke to her parents again. She came home for her mother’s funeral. The dancer had lots of dance-friend peers; the other girl felt she’d been isolated and resented it.

      Very few parents have the time to devote to teaching their children full time, and fewer have the experience and knowledge to teach high school level classes. Calculous? Chemistry? Band? College level writing in MLA and APA form?

      In my experience, home-schooled students who entered public education once their educational needs were beyond what parents felt they could provide ran from highly sociable because they were used to communicating with adults to students with virtually no social skills at all.

      But you know I am biased since I have several degrees with Honors and a Masters in my subject area and taught in both private and public high schools as well as college. 😉

  5. While I have my own ideas about how to run an effective classroom, I also worked towards the students thinking for themselves, but the system seems cast against that concept. I understand, why parents, wanting to “fit in,” have their children “fit in,” go along with what is to them, the “norm.” My best work would be to ensure the basic skills to excellence, but then while teaching real history and science, getting the students to ask their own questions, for that is where the best can happen. But I also encourage them to take on hobbies, work where they can, and learn in a small business if possible. However, for each individual, a different direction may occur and lead where no teacher could ever have predicted. The parents are charged with teaching responsibility.

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