CTEL classes decrease quality of education

October 10, 2008 — by Brandon Yang

High school students are constantly faced with the challenge of balancing work, school, friends and family in their schedules. This is especially true for seniors at the start of the school year, when they become inundated with college applications. This fall, however, the seniors are not the only stressed group on campus.

Many teachers at Saratoga High are also juggling a more difficult balancing act this year, due to a change in the California Teachers of English Learners (CTEL) requirements.

Rather than forcing teachers to work towards fulfilling the CTEL requirements during this busy period of the year, the school should schedule classes during a calmer time, when the classes are less likely to overwhelm already over-worked teachers.

First semester is a busy time for teachers with the curriculum revisions and other changes that accompany any new school year, not to mention the daunting task of writing letters of recommendation for college-bound seniors, which makes the workload nearly unbearable. This amount of work combined with CTEL classes leaves instructors with little time to relax and prepare for the next week during the weekends.

The diminishing amount of rest and preparation negatively affects not only the teachers, but their students as well. Despite the fact that instructors have promised to make teaching their students a priority over these classes, the added workload will only hinder teachers and prevent them from teaching at their full potential. The extra stress placed on teachers by the new CTEL classes will also affect the time they can spend helping students.

Many teachers can tell when their students are exhausted and lack the energy to fully participate in the class; likewise, students can also perceive the teacher’s condition. Just as teachers prefer teaching active, eager students; students favor lively, zealous teachers. A tired, more easily irritated teacher cannot compare to an energetic, composed one. Requiring teachers to either take the tests or the classes involved with CTEL is decreasing the quality of the education given to students.

If these tests and classes are important enough to be forced upon the teachers, perhaps the schedule could be more flexible and allow the teachers to choose a relatively calm period of the year to take these classes. This gives them more time to prepare for both the lessons they are teaching and the lessons they will be taught. Such flexibility would benefit both students and teachers at Saratoga High.

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