Tag Archives: students

The California Teacher Tenure Lawsuit: What You Need to Know

California Teacher Tenure Lawsuit and You

I have seen education change a lot in the past decade and the California Teacher Tenure Lawsuit is one of the more drastic changes I have seen. A good deal of the information is new and many questions are unanswered. I present three sides of the equation from three composite figures: Johnny Student, Mr. and Mrs. Doe, and Miss Jane. These, of course, are not real names but they do represent a good portion of Orange County’s population. (READ: Teacher tenure ruling in California)

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Johnny Student

Why revoking tenure is good for Johnny:

Johnny has been struggling in school for many years. His teachers just don’t get his learning style and his grades are suffering. His teacher, Miss B, has only been teaching for 2 years but she is a fantastic, talented, hardworking teacher and Johnny really clicks with her. Unfortunately, Miss B has been laid off because of seniority regulations and Johnny continues to struggle. If the tenure laws are revoked, Johnny could continue to blossom and thrive academically with Miss B.

Why revoking tenure is bad for Johnny:

Miss B, Johnny’s excellent teacher, is concerned that she might get fired if her students’ test scores aren’t high enough. Johnny has been struggling for a few years and so his test scores are a bit low. If Miss B had tenure, she could focus on helping Johnny thrive academically without fear of losing her job. With potential new laws, Miss B is concerned about her livelihood and gives more of her time to the higher scoring students so that her class average is acceptable and Johnny begins to fall through the cracks (in this case, Johnny will need a private Orange County tutor from TutorNerds to receive the attention he deserves).

Mr. and Mrs. Doe

Why revoking tenure is good for Mr. and Mrs. Doe:

The Doe’s have been asking for help from their daughter’s teacher, Mr. G, for several months. Mr. G seems to never be available and their daughter is not doing well. It doesn’t really make sense because she has done so well for the first several years of school. No matter what they do, Mr. G is never available and doesn’t seem to be doing a good job at all so the Doe’s file a complaint with the school. It turns out that Mr. G has several previous complaints but he cannot be fired because of his tenure. The potential new laws can change all that. Mr. G is given points of improvement that he must comply with or he will be let go. The Does’ daughter’s education is back on track.

Why revoking tenure is bad for Mr. and Mrs. Doe:

Mr. A, the does’ daughter’s great new teacher, has some bad news. He wants to tell the Doe’s that their daughter is struggling with grades and behavior. He has some ideas that he thinks will help her and he would like to share them with the Does. Unfortunately, Mr. A doesn’t feel comfortable discussing anything negative with parents out of concern that he will receive too many complaints. His students’ scores are high enough so he sticks to basic teaching methods. After a few years, Mr. A is frustrated because he can’t reach out to many of the students that he wants to and he resigns to another profession. The Doe’s daughter is reassigned to Mr. G’s class for next year.

Miss Jane

Why revoking tenure is good for Miss Jane:

Miss Jane is new to teaching. She gives every day her heart and soul. She won teacher of the year her very first year of full time teaching. All of her students love her and her students’ parents think that she is the best thing to happen to 21st was the last one hired, she could lose her job any given Friday. Many other, less enthusiastic, teachers will get to stay if the layoffs come just because of tenure and seniority. With the potential new law, Miss Jane can stop worrying and focus on her job.

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A few years later, Miss Jane starts to get distracted by other things in life and her quality of teaching begins to slide. She remembers that her job is on the line and so she keeps on task, makes extra time for her students and regains her top notch teaching skills.

Why revoking tenure is bad for Miss Jane:

Miss Jane is currently in college deciding on a major. Her older student colleagues tell her how easy it is to get fired as a teacher. Miss Jane compares the median salary for several professions and decides to go into another field. Her potential students never meet her nor do they benefit from her care and expertise.

Facts and Opinions about teaching in California

Fact:

Median salary for an elementary school teacher in Irvine, CA = $59,078

Median real estate and relocation director salary in Irvine, CA = $151,915

Median police patrol officer salary in Irvine, CA = $57,441

Median salary for a chief technology officer in Irvine, CA = $218,863

Median salary for a hotel manager in Irvine, CA = $109,178

Source: Salary.com

Opinion (but it’s really a question): Thousands of new, and potentially good or bad, college students need to declare a major in their junior year. Without tenure and seniority, how many will choose to go into teaching?

Opinion (but it should be a fact): Children deserve a free, high quality and equal opportunity education in the state of California.

Opinion (but it should be a fact): Teachers deserve to focus on their students and not worry about job security AND teachers who are truly unskilled and refuse to improve should look for another profession.

At the end of the day, we don’t really know yet if this is a bad or good thing. Like many things in life, it may be a mixed blessing. I recommend that parents stay informed, stay up to date and help their children stay academically strong by working with the teacher, learning how their children learn and providing support at home. (Read: More information on the teacher tenure lawsuit)

We’ll have to wait and see…

tutor logo Reaching for the Common Core Standards at an Early AgeAll blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Orange County parents and students, listen up! Beat the summer slowdown with a private, in-home tutor. We work around your schedule so you can stay sharp while having fun in the sun. Read: 10 Reasons You Need a Summer Tutor. What are you waiting for? Call us.

Kindness Clubs for Kids | TutorNerds

A Positive Social Experience For Your Child

We could all benefit from a little kindness, don’t you think? What if we told you parents, through organization and involvement, could help bolster kindness in schools? Now that we have your attention, Orange County, read on to learn more.

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Many elementary and middle schools already have a Kindness Club in place. If so, inquire with the principal or AP at your child’s school. His or her teacher may also have connections to school clubs. These clubs have popped up throughout southern California, and across the country, as a positive response to bullying and other social issues at schools. If your local school is not currently participating in a Kindness Club, now would be a great time to suggest it to the principal or school district or even start your own. If your little one attends a private school, you could arrange for an after school gathering through the PTA.

Many children who participate in such a club starting at an early age can benefit from so many positive social experiences. For example, they will be less likely to stand by while bullying occurs, be less likely to be bullied themselves and potentially stop them from becoming a bully. One local club is called “It’s Cool to be Kind”, this is such a great name because it sets the precedence that indeed it is cool to be a nice person and, alternatively, it’s not at all cool to be mean or cruel.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) suggests a few ways you and your kid can participate in kindness at school. For instance, make T-shirts together as a group so that your kid can show his or her commitment to be kind, or organize food or clothing drives to help less fortunate children.

One thing that I really enjoyed doing with the children at school was completing a group art project. Kids can get a bit nervous about letting a classmate finish a picture that they had already started, and we had to work through a lot of normal social issues during these projects. It forced the kids to learn how to share; how to ask for the materials nicely and how to give compliments to each others’ finished projects. A great way to help them share is to put out only enough materials for ¾ of the students participating. This way, they can practice asking for things nicely and saying “please” and “thank you”.

If art isn’t your thing, baking projects can be tons of fun for young kids to work on together. Plus, at the end there are a couple dozen good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies to share. Cooking projects can also lead to school bake sales where the money earned can be donated to a good cause or to purchasing T-shirt supplies for the club.

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Another great activity for the kids to do with their clubs is to visit an animal shelter – check out the city of Irvine, CA, Animal Shelter page. The Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Pennsylvania allows kids 6-13 to visit the cats in their shelter and read to them. You may have already seen the adorable YouTube video, so why not do something similar right here in Orange County? Also, if you happen to have a high-schooler at home, many of these activities can count as volunteer hours towards graduation and college admission.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation recommends that you keep it simple. One of the main points is to realize how easy it is to just be nice to somebody, whether they are a friend or not.

Below is a list of ideas to help your kids get started with kindness. Some come our private Orange County tutors at TutorNerds and some from RAK:

1– Give out candy or fruit to all your teachers (don’t leave anyone out).

2- Leave a “thank you” note for your school’s custodian since s/he cleans up every night

3 – Encourage your child to say phrases like “great effort” or “good job” at all sport activities for young kids.

4 – Help an older person to cross the street (this helps kids understand how important it is to take care of our elders) as well as thanking US military service men and woman and veterans for their services.

5 – Work on lending a helping hand. This could be a small gesture such as giving a piece of paper to a classmate who has just run out or a very big thing like volunteering at your local homeless  shelter.

6 – Hold the door open for someone who has their hands full.

7 – Do a project together. This could be something similar to the art and baking projects mentioned above or something very simple like having the kids make a snack together or help each other fit all of those books into their back pack at the end of the school day.

8 –  Form a study group. If your little one excels in English, find a study buddy who excels in math and let them help each other out.

9 – Have the kids do a small cleaning project together. Taking on responsibility together can be a great start to kindness in general.

10 – Create a star chart (or heart chart or smile chart) and reward your kid with a small gift or treat when they reach a goal. I recommend starting with 10 stars for K-2nd older kids.

Another really important way to help those little guys learn to be kind to others is for them to be kind to themselves. High school aged teens have so much to go through with AP classes, SAT prep and college applications. So, it makes it even more important for younger children to learn how to pace themselves and be able to give themselves little breaks in between tasks. Many children will be more likely to participate in a sport or academic activity if they know it’s okay to fail, as long as they can learn from that experience, and do a better job next time. Being kind to one’s self makes it easier to help out others.

Whatever you decide to do, or whichever club your kid decides to join, kindness can be integrated into any activity. A simple nice word or small gesture can make a huge difference at the end of the day!

Working with over 1,500 Orange County students to achieve success has been a great pleasure to us at TutorNerds. Our college educated private Irvine tutors know the importance of a simple “thank you.” Working one-on-one with a mature, kind tutor sets a great standard for your student. Contact us today for your TutorNerds summer tutor.

tutor logo California State Common Core Standards |TutorNerds All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional, in Orange County, CA, or other relevant blogger? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations.

Attention all Orange County, CA, high school students grades 9-12: Enter our essay contest for a chance to win $500! The deadline is quickly approaching.

Online Study Tools: Khan Academy | TutorNerds

Give Math and Science a Chance with Khan Academy

Math and Science; you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Students can breeze through memorization of formulas and chemicals or they’re completely frozen with “physics fear.” When working with kids and adults, tutors strive for more than explaining a subject better. The reward comes when students begin to enjoy the topic. We all have tricks up our sleeve, and many of those can be accessed right at home. Here I share with you one of my favorite websites that work to make math and science a little more manageable.

There’s a good chance you’ve run across a Khan Academy video before. The site has been growing rapidly since 2008, gaining notoriety lately as they continue to make it easier to learn for free. What started as a Sal Khan’s attempt at supplementing his cousin’s math instruction from afar, Khan Academy now actively assists students in primarily math and science subjects all across the globe. This site is perfect for students struggling with math concepts or visualizing tough physics.

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The format is simple: Sal, the Founder, talks about a subject in the simplest terms you’ve ever heard, and shows his work via a computer tablet. He explains, “I teach the way that I wish I was taught. The lectures are coming from me, an actual human being who is fascinated by the world around him.” It seems too simple to be effective, but it works.

Once you complete a video you have the chance to practice what you’ve just learned with exercises. Even if you’re still struggling, hints within the exercises help to ensure you’ll eventually get it. Beyond just visiting the site for a quick answer, Khan Academy tracks students as they learn. With a quick sign up process, students can follow their learning as they progress. It’s not necessary, but it’s helpful and fun to see how much you’re improving.

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Since the site is still growing, some topics may be missing. But rest assured their team of young, innovative educators is always working on new content, so check back often. Regardless, the next time you’re stuck on a problem or dreading that chemistry homework, take a quick visit to Khan Academy for a little extra help.

tutor logo Emotional IQ vs. Intellectual IQ | by TutorNerds All blog entries are written by Tutor Nerds. Are you an education professional? If so, email us at info@tutornerds.com for guest blogging and collaborations. We want to make this the best free education resource in SoCal, so feel free to suggest what you would like to see us post about.

Orange County parents and students, listen up! Beat the summer slowdown with a private, in-home tutor. We work around your schedule so you can stay sharp while having fun in the sun. Read: 10 Reasons You Need a Summer Tutor. What are you waiting for? Call us.

 Emotional IQ vs. Intellectual IQ | by TutorNerds Teach.com