Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Those Who Can't, Teach...

Retired Teacher Reveals He Was Illiterate Until Age 48.

But, John Corcoran still insists that he was an effective educator:

For 17 years Corcoran taught high school for the Oceanside School District. Relying on teacher's assistants for help and oral lesson plans, he said he did a great job at teaching his students.

"What I did was I created an oral and visual environment. There wasn't the written word in there. I always had two or three teacher's assistants in each class to do board work or read the bulletin," said Corcoran.

Wonder how Corcoran's former pupils feel about that "oral and visual" environment that he created. Wonder how many of them wound up in remedial education programs, because their teacher couldn't read.

Still, as a former teacher, there's something fishy about this story. Two or three teacher's assistants in each class? Oceanside must have been one wealthy school systemin Corcoran's day. And what about his annual evaluations? Didn't the principal or the observer notice something funny about Corcoran's lesson plans--or the fact that he never wrote anything on the board?

Then, there's the matter of the work assigned to his many assistants. Over the course of 17 years, you'd think that one or two would complain about having to do the teacher's job--on an aide's salary.

Sadly, Corcoran's tale may sound implausible, but it's hardly impossible. Public education in America has been in serious trouble for a long, long time, and we can only wonder how many other John Corcorans are still lurking in our classrooms.

In case you're wondering, the National Education Association remains adamantly opposed to teacher testing.


NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

I want to know how none of his students, or their parents, caught on. That seems strange to me.

SwampWoman said...

I don't know of any high school that has two or three teaching assistants per class. Most of them have one aide shared among five or six teachers. I was wondering about the lack of lesson plans, too, and who kept up with the gradebook?