A growing problem: It has become genuinely dangerous for a teacher to label garbage as the refuse that it is. The Charlotte Danielson framework, now used to evaluate all Illinois teachers, emphasizes the need for positive reinforcement at all times — or at least, that’s how it’s commonly interpreted. “Put-downs” of student work can seriously damage evaluations and can even threaten employment.
I’m allowed to say something like, “I really liked this part but the conclusion could be stronger. You want to include more detail,” when what I ought to say is, “You put no work into this and we both know it. The ending makes no sense at all.”
“You don’t want to discourage students,” teachers are told.
Eduhonesty: Excuse me, but obvious blow-off efforts need to be discouraged, and not in a sweet, supportive way. Students need to understand that they are not fooling anyone. I am certain that one reason so many students are cheating is that they have come to believe their teacher is only slightly more alert than your average rock. She’ll never notice, they say to themselves. It’s a reasonable conclusion to come to if you took 5 minutes to write an essay lacking any research or even basic logic and received back a paper that said, “Interesting ideas! You should work on connecting your paragraphs!” with a big, fat “B” across the top.