The Best Policy
In response to the article “Buyer Beware,” I would like to offer my encouragement to Nicholas Thacher, the teacher who told his colleagues at a professional development conference that teachers should admit to students when they can’t answer a question.
Well, I say, Bully for you. What good student-teacher relationship can be built on deceit? It creates a false image that students will recognize as a front and will eventually do more harm than good. Honesty is the best policy in dealing with students and gaining their respect. For many kids who have no stable role models, an honest teacher they can trust will be invaluable. We as educators don’t need to build more walls than already exist between us and our students.
Inside The NEA
As a 31-year member of the National Education Association, was deeply insulted by the repetition of the pejorative phrase “union insider” in describing our new president, Bob Chase (“NEA Elects New President.”)
The phrase implies that Bob’s opponent was a feisty outsider challenging an entrenched hierarchy. His opponent, however, is as much an “insider” as Bob--or for that matter any of the NEA presidential candidates for at least the past 20 years.
More important, though, is the implication that Bob Chase is a person who has lived off the fat of the NEA land, garnering undeserved benefits from some position “inside” the establishment. In fact, Bob began in the classroom, where he was a gifted and respected educator. As a full-time teacher, he spent years serving his students not only in the classroom but also as an advocate in the Connecticut legislature, public forums, and professional development arenas.
Bob Chase is “inside” the NEA because his years of dedicated service to education and educators have taught him what the NEA stands for, what its members want, and what it must do to move into the new millennium. No one who does not have such knowledge could--or should--lead the NEA.
I admire Bob as I admire few of my peers. He stands for the values that I stand for as a teacher, as a member of the group that provides for the next generation, and as a human being.
Amity Education Association
North Haven, Connecticut
I have just read your article “Paradise Lost.” I applaud you. How sad for the children that so many schools have lost sight of what a developmental appropriate kindergarten classroom should be--a place where opportunities for children to explore, test hypotheses, interact, and ask questions are provided in a safe, nurturing, and exciting arena.
Early Childhood Center
Henry Barnard School
New Rochelle, New York
A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 1996 edition of Teacher as Letters