Category Archives: international education
Next year sees a change for me.
I’m off to teach at an international school in Singapore.
Nevertheless I found myself feeling restless.
Put simply I can hear planes.
Derp Stephanie, you say, your home and school are below a flight path of course you can hear planes.
As a wanderer I know it’s time to leave a place when I can hear planes. It’s a sign that life has become too familiar and too easy. The planes have been loud this year and despite a few trips, my wanderlust has returned with a vengeance and I found myself desperate to move overseas again.
I’m looking forward to joining a PYP school and teaching a different year group.
Of course change comes with a cost.
I will miss my awesome students and their families.
My fantabulous co-workers and also the amazing teachers I’ve had the pleasure of learning with from up and down the country these last 3 years. Despite the bad press this week I can name hundreds of amazing teachers out there doing amazing things in their classrooms every day. What’s even more fantastic is how generous you all are with your knowledge.
One of the delights of being online is that distance is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Though if I do make it to any New Zealand-based educamps in the next few years I am totally calling dibs on the chocolate fish!
Twitter was all a twitter this afternoon (yes when I was supposed to be finishing up work on my maths assignment) about a school district in the United States which from the next school year will be charging student teachers between $1200-$1500US a placement. Medford school district is looking to plug gaps in its budget and one of the ways it is seeking to do so is through asking student teachers to pony up with funds for practicums.
At first I thought to myself ZOMG how could do they do THAT? But then I am also paying for my practicum in so far as I get charged tuition fees by the university and my associate teachers get a small stipend back from the university. But my fees are about $6000NZ (to be honest I have no idea how much my diploma is, I just whacked it on the student loan) and according to the union contracts the payments for associate teachers are nominal.
The school district who instituted this policy has quickly found that the universities in the area have said thanks but no thanks to placing students in the district’s schools. For the time being other districts have said they won’t ask for payment for student teacher placements but I could see it becoming popular.
The story does make an odd juxtaposition that some school boards in America willing pay $5000 per hire for untrained teachers from the Teach For America the programme I mentioned previously while another school board is asking people who are putting in the time and energy to pay for the privilege.
Hopefully this idea won’t see the light of day in New Zealand.
Since it March 8 is International Women’s Day consider this:
- Worldwide for every 100 boys out-of-school there are 122 girls. The World Bank
- Girls still constitute 55% of the 75 million out-of-school children globally in 2006. The World Bank
- A girl growing up in Chad today has nearly the same chance of dying in childbirth as she has of attending secondary school.
- 2/3 of the world’s 875 million illiterate adults are women. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2005
- It is estimated that women constitute only slightly more than one-quarter of the world’s researchers. UNESCO
- Women earn only 10 percent of the world’s income and own less than one percent of property worldwide. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Women hold only 14% of the world’s parliamentary seats. Unifem
Yet according to the World Bank:
- Women with formal education tend are less likely to become pregnant at a very young age, tend to have fewer, better-spaced pregnancies, and seek pre- and post-natal care.
- It is estimated that an additional year of schooling for 1,000 women helps prevent two maternal deaths.
- The infants and children have higher survival rates and tend to be healthier and better nourished when their mothers have some form of formal education.
- Education is the most effective tool in reducing rates of HIV infection in girls.
- Each additional year of formal education completed by a mother translates into her children remaining in school for an additional one-third to one-half year.
That is why we need to keep educating our girls.
“Study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls” – Kofi Annan
Battle hymn of the Tiger Mother has gained world-wide attention and made the author of the Book, Yale law school professor Amy Chua, a household name. Chua argues that children on their own never want to work, and that western parents concerns over children’s self-esteem leads to a lack of academic progress for their children in comparison to their Asian counterparts:
“Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it.”
On her blog, author MayleeChai says that the debate about Asian versus western parenting styles is merely masking a wider social inequality that exists in America. Chua, Lee argues, has the money and connections to access the right schools and after-school tuition in order for their children to flourish:
“we are creating an entitled class (yes, they are smart, they go to good schools, they work hard, but they also have the opportunity to do so) and an underclass, who cannot get ahead no matter how hard they work because they simply do not have access to the best education, connections, and opportunities that the elite enjoy. This divide is dangerous.”
As if on cue came the story of Kelley Williams-Bola. The Ohio single mother was jailed for registering her two daughters at her father’s address daughters in order to get the girls zoned into a better-performing school district. By way of context it is useful to remember that schools in America suffer massive inequalities in funding. Williams-Bola worked as a teacher aid in the school district she was trying to get her kids out of. The district is highly impoverished and the school performance was sub-standard. Meanwhile the schools the girls were enrolled in, just a few kilometers away, were white middle-class schools with excellent academic performance.
What makes this case so gut wrenching awful is that Kelley Williams-Bola was just a few credits away from completing her education degree but likely won’t be able to teach due to her conviction.
But if you were looking for case studies in how culture shapes education, they are two very interesting examples.
President Obama’s State of the Union speech had a big focus on education including a new policy called ‘Race to the Top’ replacing the ideology of the No Child Left Behind Act.
However I know very little about American education to make any particularly informed comment so instead I leave you with this quote:
“To every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.”