We Are Heart Surgeons

Heart surgeons in the Northeast started working together via the internet some years ago to improve techniques and deaths went down dramatically. In DPS, teachers are doing active collaboration to improve how they teach kids languages.

Young teachers and teachers new to the district are trained by Diana heavily all year. Gains and changes are expected from teachers who receive TCI training over time, and Diana visits classrooms regularly.

Some teachers cry. They say how much they want to do it but just can’t. It must be awful. I’m sure that Diana feels badly about her unwavering honesty with these teachers, but what is she to do? Think of the heart surgeons – if they don’t get up to speed with current best practices, people die.

In the same way, we cause a kind of mental language death (because limited to the conscious mind where languages cannot be learned) in our kids when we teach them using techniques and materials that exist only because of the power and influence of a few who feel entitled to power and influence.

In medicine, I am certain that the bad surgeons are dumped back into general practice. Can we make that happen in teaching or are we going to allow what has been happening for many long decades to continue unchecked?

If you are new and drowning in this work, call out. We send life rafts every day. Look at some of the discussion here over recent years. Is there a better, more devoted and frankly super-intelligent collection of teachers in any profession these days?

I don’t think so. I think that this group, though small, is, well, how should I say it? The only word that comes into mind is badass.



5 thoughts on “We Are Heart Surgeons”

  1. Interestingly, the research on schools where administrators (or other supervisors) can “hire and fire” at will indicates that what happens is, young teachers leave. This is one of the big problems with charter schools. There are a few reasons for this:

    — a principal with a “vision” (read: “I know what’s best”) will inevitably end up having major conflicts with many staff members, most of whom will have more– and more recent– experience with specific subjects than the principal does.

    — newer teachers who have enough stress already and who have their classrooms policed by Adminz On Accountability Missionz burn out/leave due to added stress.

    — the end result of accountability Measurez for teachers– as for kids– is that work gets narrowed to something simple, shallow, stupid and reducible to mere Numberz.

    So while I in principle think, ya, ya don’t teach well, ya get booted, I’m not sure how this would actually work in the real world. What is the road to Hell paved with again?

    1. yes! yes! Good thing, Chris, is that many charter schools are unionizing now. At least they are in Chicago. My current school is a charter that is connected through a management network to 13 other charters in the city. We are busy negotiating a contract to unionize. It’s gonna happen and I’m super excited about being a part of it.

  2. I so want to move to Denver now. Receiving actual training for TCI that I don’t have to spend grant-writing time or personal money for? I’m there.

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