Date: Oct 2, 2012 8:00 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: US teachers are overworked and underpaid

On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 4:04 PM, Paul Tanner <> wrote:

>>> Again: I read that teachers in Japan have it like teachers of
>>> community colleges in the US. About 15 hours per week or so of being
>>> in front of a classroom (vs. 30 for the US teachers), but with
>>> different says of the week having different teaching loads, where they
>>> have much, much more on-campus time in the week than US teachers for
>>> planning and collaborating with other teachers.

>> Yeah, US teachers don't collaborate. They barely know what's going on
>> around them.

> By the authority of personal experience, I can tell you that their
> just is no time for it.
> Again: Do the math.

Yes, we're in agreement. It's not part of the current design that US
teachers should band together and write curriculum collaboratively.
That's a completely alien concept. Hence you have lists such as this
where factions side with various big publishers, like Saxon or
Singapore, and just assume a compliant teacher body, paid to transmit
what's in the books and little more.

But then remember the Japanese style of management for car companies
was different too. Executives had desks next to lines people, walked
the floor, took feedback. Americans are into pyramid hierarchies,
several levels of management, VPs "all the way down" to associates.
You've got "chief this" and "chief that" (CEO, CTO, CIO, CFO, CSO... a
game is to find a middle letter you *can't* make a part of

> Better yet: Get a public school teaching job to see what's it's like
> to be a sardine stuffed in a can in terms of time during contracted
> hours for anything other than being in front of a class.


I agree with that William Bennett guy, wrote a pamphlet under Reagan
for the USG, casino math guy (one of our four divisions, in heuristics
for teachers). You know the guy I mean? 'Nation at Risk' wasn't it?
Anyway he said if the nation were under attack, it'd be no less
devastating. It was like America was taking a pounding and the Army
couldn't fight back. Everyone was waiting for superman but he never
came. So now what. We're agreeing: it's looking pretty bleak.

> Lunch time is when you can collaborate or whatever? Forget it! You
> have only a half hour after the bell rings to RUSH to the place where
> you eat, WOLF down your food as fast as you can, and then RUSH back to
> your classroom to get there before the bell rings for the next class
> you have to teach.
> Do all this to those teachers in high-scoring countries like Japan,
> Korea, Finland, and France and watch the international scores of their
> students collapse.

Not just that, watch teachers in those countries fight back and topple
their own governments. "You're trying to make us like Americans but
their system is quasi-hell" -- you can see them in the streets.

I think the prospect of becoming more like America is sufficiently
terrifying to most countries to keep their schools in better shape.
Americans are an example to the world of how to do it wrong. "Don't
be like them" is the basic theme of the day, and it's quite
instructive. Finland is probably doing a better job precisely because
so many mistakes are being learned from, as committed by so many
less-than-brilliant (poorly educated) USAers and their crippled
culture (a descending spiral? Any way to pull out? Stay tuned.
Maybe superman will come?).