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The Death of a Team » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The Death of a Team Society pays more attention to its sports teams than to its children. Today in L.A. the world shattering concern is whether to keep the Lakers’ roster intact or break it up and get new players. A great deal of thought is put into salary caps, locker room and court chemistry that it takes to put a winning team together.

There is also talk as to whether the U.S. Olympic team will have enough time to mold itself into a team. Teams are difficult to assemble and even more difficult to maintain. Egos, personalities, leadership and money all determine success.

I was fortunate that I came up through the ranks as a teacher. I started in the Los Angeles City Schools as a janitor or custodian as we preferred to be called. In order to get my credential I had to teach two years at a Yeshiva where I taught grades K-12 (all in one classroom) – I was the only goy, non-Jewish teacher. Once I got my credential I taught at a public junior high school for three years and then at a high school for five years. It was a great experience, it taught me how to teach.

In education classes we talked a lot about team teaching but in the schools very little of that went on. The only time that the teachers got together was in the smoking rooms where they complained about the students, rarely sharing their experiences or their teaching methods. They went to in-service classes but that was only to get service points that counted toward salary increments.

Through experience I found that a team at any level whether it be in sports, the schools or life itself is rare. So it seems stupid to break one up when successful especially in education where so many young lives are affected.

But this is exactly what is happening in the Tucson Unified School District where under the cover of night Superintendent of Schools John Pedicone and his gaggle of board members are dismantling a highly successful team in order to feed the mendacity, the whims and racist notions of state and local elected officials.

It is a team that has defied the rule in the education that Mexican American students cannot learn. More often than not they drop out of school at a rate of over fifty percent. In contrast, the TUSD Mexican American Studies students want to learn; they don’t want to be warehoused and parrot material so they can pass a test.

For mainstream teachers, rote memorization is a matter of survival. They must adhere to the reality of the wrongheaded standard that how the students perform on a test is the measure of the teachers’ effectiveness. How well the students do, determines whether they are doing a good or bad job and whether they keep their job.

This leads to an institutional racism where teachers and teacher unions excuse their performance with pretexts such as that the students are mostly minority and from poor communities – the terms “educationally and culturally” disadvantaged” have crept back into our vernacular. They say that it is not their fault; it is the students’ fault for being poor and Latino.

This is lamentable since what is wrong is the system itself and teachers should be fighting system not the students.

Before I get too far into the discussion I want to clarify what team teaching is. To begin with, there are very few Mr. or Miss Chips in education. Indeed, the popular teachers are often the worse teachers.

Team teaching is a strategy where teachers improve each other’s performance by sharing teaching experiences and strategies. Team members share a common purpose and feed off each other’s’ energy. The team works as a support network.

The team functions more like a kinship than a nuclear family. In Mesoamerica kinship units offered support especially for women in a household. (The Spaniards controlled the Indians and women forcing the nuclear family on them).

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: The Death of a Team » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

About mexika.org (947 Articles)
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