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Urban Education - Essay Example

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In the essay “Urban Education” the author looks at urban education, which is usually tightly linked with the issues of social and economic diversity. These factors are often associated with poor academic achievements of students in some districts…
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Urban Education
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Urban education is usually tightly linked with the issues of social and economic diversity. These factors are often associated with poor academic achievements of students in some districts. Numerous reforms have been undertaken and various programs have been tried in the sphere of urban education in the past decades. Much has been said and written of the changes the US education is undergoing. However, as I see it, the major point here is to understand that those are not social or economic diversity, educational reforms or other objective conditions that influence excellence in urban education. Those are teachers.
Teachers are central for excellence of students. There are no poor students, there are bad teachers. A good teacher is able to see the potential of every student and help develop that potential. A good teacher considers intellectual, physical, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions of students’ human experience, enhancing students’ social interactions and belief in democracy and other ideal of the US. A good teacher is always a leader. Such a professional becomes a caring mother (or father) for his students, creating comfortable and favorable conditions for the development of each of them. He effectively communicates with parents and community and inspires colleagues to be flexible, to recognize talents and hidden resources of their students and adopt an individual approach. A teacher should be a leader able to encourage others to be creative. Such a leader can organize a thoughtful change process in his school, facing everybody’s needs and aims. A teacher who is a leader educates through all his life, influencing his students, colleagues, parents, and community. As we can see the reforms are to take place not in the sphere of urban education, but in the minds of educators themselves. Then one sees wonders of urban education, when students from the poorest districts show results much better than those from prestigious schools, when students become valuable citizens and realized personalities.
There has always been need in teachers–leaders, able to inspire and educate others. The fact is that that the profession has always been undervalued. Teachers are underpaid. They are not listened to even in cases when decisions directly concern their needs and work. Teachers are restricted in decision making, designing curriculum, selecting textbooks, establishing disciplines, or choosing their colleagues. How can teachers, deprived of democracy, teach their student to believe in its values? The top-down organization of most of schools hinders their functioning. Principals are not able to cope with the amount of work to be done, especially in crisis. All the stakeholders become affected by the wrong perceptions of the teacher in this country.
Teachers as leaders can do much in finding ways out of the problems faced by urban education. Teachers-leaders are active participants of every aspect of urban education, starting from the classroom and ending with the highest administrative decisions. Aware of the existing problems, only teachers can find the best solutions. Teachers as leaders can participate in development of curriculum standards, run various committees, collect assessment data and conduct school improvement initiatives, serve as chairs at different levels or be union leaders, participate in task forces, and play the most active role during school crisis serving as a substitute, responding to teacher’s instructional needs, etc. I would like to be a thinking and active teacher, able to inspire and change, ready to take on responsibility and lead. Excellence in the urban education can be achieved due to teachers who are real leaders aware of the fact that everything depends on them, and not on the diversity, reforms, programs and the like. Read More
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