On Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM, Paul Tanner <upprho@gmail.com> wrote:

<< SNIP >>
> In short, if you don't help design curriculum for your school, you're closer
> to a lazy-good-for-nothing than a teacher.  You should fight to get your
> real job back.
> Kirby

You make good points and of course I have meant overworked in terms of
teaching time load.

Yes, in some ways creating curriculum could be said to be harder work
than actually dealing with tons of disruptive kids and their parents.

If the curriculum is seen as a constant, something fixed, handed down, then there's no point talking about "curriculum crafting".

What a teacher should be doing, ideally, is role modeling a scholar, someone who studies, someone who bones up, trains, stays fit.  Continuously.

Adult education divisions of your local community colleges or universities are likely providing "career relevant" opportunities for teachers.

To what extent are teachers given opportunities to take courses, perhaps on-line.  What courses?

Is it that they're threatened with loss of certification or pay if they don't take these courses, or do they take them freely?

That is, with respect to the "disruptive kids and their parents"
remark, if you think that actually dealing with hard-to-deal-with kids
and their parents all of whom a teacher has to call and all of whom
are not particularly happy to hear negative things about their kids -
especially over and over again - is not supremely stressful: At one of
the secondary schools in which I taught, this school known in the
district as one of the more difficult schools in terms of much
classroom disruption, one of the teachers was actually granted sick
leave because of the supreme stress of trying to deal with so very
many kids so very out-of-control.

If one accepts as a premise that the curriculum is ridiculously out of date, then some level of disruption should be expected as a consequence.

But is it only students who start fighting "the system" if the curriculum is not keeping pace?

Teachers "fight" by giving up for the most part.  Because they're adults, they have the freedom to walk away, whereas kids tend to be penned in up to a certain age.

I mean, what would be the new hire five-year turn-over rate for those
who would be hired to create curriculum? Would it be as high as the
new teacher turnover rate in the US, as many as 50% or so gone  by the
time five years is up?

The classroom disruption problem I just talked about is of course not
the only reason for such high turnover, with the massive amounts of
time that it kills both during contracted work hours and after school
hours (teachers are expected to cal these parents even after school
hours). These other aspects would include such as the massive amounts
of both academic-based and discipline-based paperwork that follows
from having to deal with so many more kids kids these teachers in
these top-performing countries of Korea, Finland, and Japan have to
deal with. (If for example you teach only three one-hour courses per
day, it's quite a bit less of that type of paperwork than if you have
to teach five or six such courses per day.)

I've been pushing an attractive alternative lifestyle for a kind of itinerant teacher who travels in caravans.

The vans, outfitted with GIS / GPS, have a carnival-like aspect and are designed to inspire more hope and enthusiasm for the future.

The teachers would visit schools and set up in the parking lot or whatever.  

Like a fair.  Many interactive STEM exhibits, a museum of sorts (like OMSI here in Portland) but on wheels.

Kind of like those food trucks / vans but more about feeding minds and spirits.

Having options like this for teachers might excite them about their profession more as well. 

The visiting vans would serve a recruiting function as well.