The diary of a mad publi.., p.1
The Diary of a Mad Public School Teacher, page 1
THE DIARY OF A
DAVID A. HANCOCK MA
Copyright © 2017 by David A. Hancock MA.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2017910954
ISBN: Hardcover 978-1-5434-3641-9
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.
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Rev. date: 07/20/2017
Teaching Philosophy And Style
American Students Can Hold Their Own With The Japanese
Politicians, Money Can’t Make Bored Kids Learn
George W. Bush Is No “Education” President
Science Teacher Free To Experiment With Ideas
Republicans Prove Point
Medicate To Educate
Brain Drugs Hazardous
Teachers Can’t Educate Kids Who Refuse To Learn
Improving Instruction Isn’t Enough
Students Need More Than Miracles
Opposite Of Progress
American Public Schools Dehumanize, Inhibit Kids
Letters To The Editor Superintendent Excels
Teachers Teach Kids—Administrators Don’t
Schools Become Prisons, But Learning Not Priority
Teachers Shun Public Schools
A Last Word On Reform? Don’t Bet On It
Can’t Predict Success
Letters Homework’s Problem
The Book That Ignited The Great Homework Debate: The End Of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, And Limits Learning
Letters Teachers’ Boycotts Might End Proficiency Testing
Education Spending On Decline
Blame Students, Not Teachers, For Low Scores
Tests That Fail Schools And Students
Testing For Humanity
If We Had Proficiencies In Phys-Ed, Youth Will Fail
Letters Computers In Classroom Not Answer To Education
Even Einstein Couldn’t Fix State Science Test Woes
Public Schools Mission: Serve All, Not Chosen Few
Sports Fans Pay, Taxpayers Don’t
Bus Parents Too
Letters To The Editor Schools Reflect Society
Write On Preschool Levies
Noblest Of Professions
Write On Homeschooling Advantages
The Plain Dealer: Letter To The Editor
It’s Up To You
Outside “Experts” Know Nothing About Education
Students Must Be Responsible
Poor Expectations Explain A Lot
Behavior Shows What Kids Learn At Home, Not School
Teachers Should Teach, Not Be Social Workers
The Brain Behind Bush’s Speeches Is Not His Own
Students, Not Teachers, Hold Key To Learning Process
It’s That Time Of Year
Minority Achievement Must Be Studied Locally
Answers Aren’t So Good
Kids Who Choose Not To Learn May Have Right Idea
Teacher Says Many Of His Students Learn And Excel
Leave No Child Behind
Look Around: Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Letters To The Editor Fallacies Of Negotiation
Mysteries Of Sexuality
Usa Has Had Addiction To War From Its First Days
Letters To The Editor Goodness, Righteousness
Letters To The Editor Iraq “Experts” Exposed
Common Sense On Hiatus
Letters To The Editor Voting Is Just A Game
Thoughts About Destiny
Politicians And Diapers
Laughter Happens Too
Faith Needs No Proof
Warning. Warning, Warning
A City Says No To Drones
Of Religion And War
Watch For False Alternatives
Delusions Deserve Scorn
Football Proficiency Law
Letters To The Editor Wit And Wisdom To Ponder
Further Reading List
I dedicate this collection of letters to the editor to all the students of my teaching and counseling practices as well as to those who are just beginning with their career in teaching and education.
This book is also dedicated to my twenty-thousand-plus students and my inspiring favorite high school teachers—Nancy Lansdowne Knowlton (English) and Hal Burbach (biology/zoology).
A Gadfly Teacher Monologues
Hancock completed his student teaching in biology at his alma mater in 1968 (a very enlightening experience).
Hancock was also a student in Burbach’s health education class at Kent State University (1966–67).
Nancy and Hal proved Henry Adams, who said, “A teacher affects eternity - You can never tell where his/her influence stops.”
Book Title Ideas
White Teacher—Black Students Diabolical
(Letters from an ADHD Mad Public School Teacher)
(Being a White Face in a Black Place)
This book is about being a white male teacher in a school of black students with many itinerant students.
DAVID A. HANCOCK, MA
Howland High School Warren, Ohio (1964)
BS Education, biological science / life science 7–12
Health Education 7–12, Kent State University (1968)
MA, John Carroll University (1988)
Educational psychology, school counseling, science education, and professional teaching (1974)
Teacher 7–12—biology, life science, nature study, health; Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools (1969–2003)
Adjunct professor: education / educational psychology / student-teacher college supervisor / mentor, professional development seminars
Lakeland Community College (1982–1903); Kirtland, Ohio
John Carroll University (1974–1988)
Baldwin Wallace University (2000–2005)
Lake Erie College (’04, ’05, ’06); Painesville, Ohio
Brandeis University (1989, 1990, 1995); Waltham, Massachusetts
Favorite Teachers / TV-8 Teachers of the Week / Funniest Teacher / Most Influential Teacher
Several of Mr. Hancock’s students are doctors, nurses, and teachers. One of Mr. Hancock’s students performed gallbladder surgery (anesthesiologist), which reminded him of Henry Adams.
A teacher affects eternity—you can never tell where his/her influence stops.
Teaching Philosophy and Style
After thirty-five years of multicultural-classroom teaching experience, I have learned that “we are what we teach.” Teaching is a twenty-four-hour-a-day position. We are not teachers just for the time we spend in the classroom or just for the days we spend in school. We are teachers after school, on weekends, and throughout our lives. I entered this profession willingly because I believe in education, and I believe in children, and I believe in the future in which those children will be a part of. If we project that belief in our personal lives, our students cannot help but learn that lesson well. Each of us has within that spark of compassion and concern and love that drove us into teaching in the first place. Each of us can fan that spark into a flame that will warm our classrooms and nurture our students now and in the future.
Also, for me, the hope lies in teaching itself—the hard work requiring ingenuity, patience, and a focus on what is effective with students. At its core, it is not mechanical or technological. I have always thought of myself as a teacher/counselor the way other people think of themselves as gardeners, painters, composers, and poets. I am a craftsperson of learning, working to refine what I do with students for success. I do my best to model my teaching philosophy and style to reflect the writings of William Glasser, Howard Gardner, Herbert Kohl, Neil Postman, Judith Carducci, John Dewey, John Holt, and Charles Silberman.
I constantly keep in mind the indelible words of William Arthur Ward, “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the great teacher inspires,” and H. G. Wells, “The future is a race between education and catastrophe.”
Yes, we are what we teach, and that can be magnificent!
David A. Hancock
Letters from a Mad Public School Teacher is intrepid, irascible, cantankerous, provocative, satirical, passionate, thought-provoking, bitingly witty, ironic, sarcastic, iconoclastic, and enhanced with demagoguery.
What is wrong with education? What can be done about it? You just found out. Now you know!
“In years to come, your students may forget what you taught them. But they will always remember how you made them feel.”
Also, the following elicited personal and professional reflection:
As a teacher, I have come to the conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or deescalated and a child humanized or de-humanized. (Haim Ginott)
American Students Can Hold Their Own with the Japanese
Let’s set the record straight before we compare Japanese education to American education.
First, we need to understand that the Japanese value harmony, obedience, and conformity (“Youths Ignore Future as the Japanese Worry,” Aug. 22). We value pluralism, independence, individualism, and creativity. Japan is a hierarchical society. We favor local control. The Japanese are a homogeneous population. We are heterogeneous.
Statistics show that the Japanese graduate 90 percent from high school compared to our 78 percent. However, more of our students go to college (60 percent to 30 percent). Higher education in Japan is generally conceded to be inferior to that in the United States. The college years are often referred to as a “four-year vacation.”
In the United States, students seem to come into their own at the college level. We may not move as fast, but we go further. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901. Since then, Japan has received only six. When we compare the hundreds of Nobel prizes won by Americans, we have a good index of the positive effects of our educational system. So let’s relax on the proficiency test scores.
Also, at the present time, France is experiencing a “brain drain” of talented young entrepreneurs who are feeling the country’s bureaucratized hierarchical, anti-innovation culture according to Global Trends 2005.
As David Elkind, professor of child development at Tufts University and author of The Hurried Child and All Grown Up and No Place to Go, states so well, “All our problems in American education arise because we are not sufficiently American, not because we are insufficiently Japanese. Our classrooms are not as individualized, and our curriculums are not as flexible, as our values of individualism and self-reliance demand. True educational reform will only come about when we make our education appropriate to children’s individual growth rates and levels of mental development.”
David A. Hancock
First letter to editor from Hancock (June 1990) after twenty-one years of teaching!
Politicians, Money Can’t Make Bored Kids Learn
To the editor:
Oh no, not again. More “edu-blather,” demagoguery, empty rhetoric, and ad infinitum from politicians, pundits, and “standardistos” about education reform legislation.
Some of the highlights stated were that states would be forced to set annual goals for schools to raise student achievement, would have to achieve proficiency in twelve years, and the worst schools would face staffing overhauls.
First, we can’t force an increase in student achievement, just as we can’t force humans to increase positive health habits when they choose not to. Second, we can’t force proficiency in twelve years. Can we force a cure for certain diseases? Third, how about student overhauls?
I have observed in my thirty-four years as a public school classroom teacher that it’s not ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but rather ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and ICCLA (insouciant couldn’t-care-less attitude) from the obstinate cantankerous recalcitrants.
This is something that private / parochial schools do not experience (usually) because if students exhibit behavioral disorders, they are transferred to their neighborhood public school. Remember, private and parochial schools practice first-degree segregation.
To all our critics, let us remember that “no curricular over-haul, no instructional innovation, no change in school organization, no toughening of standards, no rethinking of teacher training or compensation will succeed if students do not come to school interested in and committed to learning,” as stated by Laurence Goldberg.
However, it’s very difficult if the physical building has any savage inequalities (poor heating, no soap or toilet paper—the appalling Afghanistan cave atmosphere, etc.) or Saddam spider holes.
Before we know it, obstetricians are going to start placing a practice proficiency test in the neonate’s crib that will probably cause SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Caution—this is a “no-spin zone” letter from the H factor.
David A. Hancock
Hancock is a science teacher at Monticello Middle School.
Public or private, among larger school districts, Cleveland has the highest rate in the state of students enrolled in private schools. An estimated 39 percent of the children living in the district who attend a private school in grades K–5 enrolled in private schools. Here is other Greater Cleveland
Lowest Percentage in Private Schools
George W. Bush is No “Education” President
To the editor:
So President George W. Bush said that he will be our education president. I didn’t think too much about this until I read Is Our Children Learning? The Case Against GWB [sic] by Paul Begala.
GWB asked this question on January 11, 2000, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from “Perspectives” (Newsweek, March 5, 2001): “You teach a child to read, and he or she will be able to pass a literacy test.” It’s quite evident that you do not need good grammar to be president.
Here are some other enlightening observations: “Higher education is not my priority” (San Antonio Express-News, March 22, 1998). “Dubya went to Andover, Yale, and Harvard as a beneficiary of affirmative action for the overprivileged children for the eastern elite aristocracy,” according to Begala. As Begala points out, a review of the record reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram indicates that Texas’s most important school reforms took root long before W moved into the governor’s mansion. Even Bush aides say that his predecessors (Ann Richards and Mark White, Democrats) are more responsible for improvements in Texas education. It is interesting to note that the University of Texas at Austin turned W down for admission.
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