Dept. of Education Teacher Survey: PLEASE READ! : LUSENET : Middle School Science : One Thread

The DOE has posted a short online survey for teachers regarding the city's restructuring efforts. Given the special needs of science teachers, I think we need to make a strong showing so that our voices are heard - and at the moment we aren't hearing much about science plans for next year.

The following question in particular seems to be an appropriate place to discuss the special needs of science teachers:

>>In addition to more resources, what do you need to increase your effectiveness as a teacher?<<

I will resist the urge to coach you on the responses, but perhaps this bulletin board forum would be a good place for you to post your ideas, and then all of us could include certain key points in our surveys.

Michael Gatton

-- Michael Gatton (, February 28, 2003


I would like to remind everyone to please fill out the DOE teacher survey. I would recommend mentioning the following concerns among others that Kelly talked about in her earlier post:

Issues related to improving science instruction:

-coherent curriculum (developmentally appropriate, challenging, engaging, keyed to NY State standards)

-appropriate materials (hands-on science as integral part of curriculum)

-adequate space (hands-on science requires appropriate space for materials & student work. There are safety as well as instructional concerns with inadequate space)

-programming (no science teacher should be running all over the building from room to room & floor to floor)

General concerns that affect instruction in all curriculum areas: -reduce class size!

-provide targeted & meaningful professional development (specifically matched to materials ands curriculum)

-reduce overcrowding in schools

I'm sure there are other points to be made, but these stand out in my mind when thinking about the everyday needs of science teachers. Please feel free to return to the Forum and add some suggestions of your own...

Here's the URL for the survey again:


-- Michael Gatton (, March 05, 2003.

I answered this survey a few weeks ago... I don't remember my responses exactly. Be careful to stay within the character limits, incidentally, as I lost my responses once when trying to go back and shorten them.

Incidentally, there is also a student survey on-line. Since most of my students lack access to the internet, I brought in a printed out copy of the questions and gave it to my students to do for homework one night. It was anonymous. Then I mailed all the responses that were at least presentably completed to the DOE. I never received a response, though.

These were some of my ideas, and I am really interested in what others think!

*Smaller schools, smaller class sizes. I've taught at both large & small schools and saw 165 students per day at my old school and only 60 (this year... next year I'll have slightly more) at my new school... it makes such a difference in teaching middle school (or any grade level) to be able to really work with each child, without "losing" any among the hundreds you see during a typical day.

*Good principals who care about quality instruction! And in reference to the recent NY Times article about recruiting principals from elsewhere vs. grooming quality people from within the system, I think the only sustainable way to build an administration that can get things done & done well is to seek the really good people within the organization and give them what they need to progress to new jobs & new levels.

* High-quality professional development. Those prof. devt. days that they took away were a good idea, but poorly implemented in many schools. I think a list of a hundred high-quality possible programs... speakers, consultants, etc. ... could be provided to principals to choose from when they provide professional devt. It would offer choice but also quality & some guidance for administrators. There are lots of ed profs out there who have good ideas that I'm sure they'd love to share with the public schools.

*When choosing new curriculum programs, provide the necessary professional development and TIME so that the programs really work! I see the schools trying new programs every 1-2 years (esp. reading & math) without really hecking their effectiveness or helping teachers buy into and understand them and get used to using them.

-- Kelly Vaughan (, March 02, 2003.

There is a very simple answer to this question...... Smaller classes! 30 students in a room makes for an impossible learning environment,especially if you're not dealing with advanced students.

-- tim kern (, March 06, 2003.

I think as a science teacher I need training on specific science activities that can be implemented in the classroom. Together with this training, materials to make these activities possible should be supplied. In addition, I personally think that different supply of textbooks for science should be distributed to the schools.

-- (, March 06, 2003.

Class size should be reduce. I teach 120 students and it is very hard to teach when I have 120 different personalities as well as levels to deal with. How can we really make a difference? Also, I believe that every teacher should and is entitle to their own room. It is very hard to carry materials around from room to room when I want to conduct an experiment.

-- Cecilia Peralta (, March 06, 2003.

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