Friday, January 31, 2014

As teachers we must adjust to the ever changing politically driven educational mandates...

"Are our politicians ready to consider that it is our culture that is failing and that that failure is now showing up in our schools?" Robert John Meehan

"As teachers we must adjust to the ever changing
politically driven educational mandates but still hold to the unchanging  principles that every child can and will succeed." Robert John Meehan

"To narrow down our curriculum and focus to just what is “on the test” can take away the inquiry, passion, and joy of learning." Robert John Meehan

"Nothing that the political ed reformist mandate can match the results of a dedicated teacher in a SUPPORTIVE school environment." Robert John Meehan

"Most teachers can come to a general consensus that our plates are full. Working smarter, longer and harder isn't always enough." Robert John Meehan

"Why else would a teacher take a crappy salary, really long hours and enduring stress to teach children unless they really loved to do it?" Robert John Meehan

"Did you have a favorite teacher because he or she was able to prepare you for a multiple choice test or because he/she inspired you?" Robert John Meehan

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Monday, January 20, 2014

A Simple Matter...

By Robert John Meehan

 My pencil is on the floor
Just what am I to do
I'll not get it with my feet
As the other children do

The test has already started
I'm in danger of falling behind
If only a fellow student
Would return it in ample time

My palms are now sweating
My frustration's beginning to show
No talking is permitted
Thus my pencil lies below

If my eyes were to wander
For a helping hand to find
Would my teacher be believing
Or would questions of cheating be defined

As I squirm anxiously in my seat
There's sweat forming on my brow
I wantingly glance beneath me
Believing I'll  retrieve it yet somehow

A commotion I could make
But others I would distract
Or an illness I could fake
With a slim chance the test retake

I glance up at the clock
With feelings of dismal shock
Wishing in my predicament
My teacher soon takes stock

I hesitatingly raise my hand
As a tear trickles down my cheek
Hoping and praying all along
That my teacher's eyes and mine do meet

But much to my dismay
She's still  looking another way
With hopes of finishing diminishing
I'll need find yet another way

I swallow a gulp of air
In hopes of clearing my throat
In need of my teacher's attention
To questions with answers yet unwrote

In fear of promoting a commotion
I begrudgingly bury my head
Any hopes of a successful solution
Are lost in my feelings of dread

With a tap on my shoulder from behind me
And a tug on my chair's brake release
My teacher's whispering voice reminds me
My wheelchair's brake to release 

With a smile and a nod to assure me
To put my worst expectations to rest
My teacher returns me my pencil
And on I continue my test  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Good teachers have to care about the student as much as they do the lesson...

"A well prepared and engaging teacher is a catalyst… a spark that creates the desire to learn in our students." Robert John Meehan

"When we pursue excellence, we gain a deeper understanding of our purpose as teachers." Robert John Meehan

"Good teachers have to care about the student as much as they do the lesson." Robert John Meehan

"If we really want to improve our ed system, we need to listen to educators not businessmen who want to sell something as a magic bullet." Robert John Meehan

"If we want to help children learn and develop, it is important that we don't drag or pull them - just walk with them." Robert John Meehan

"Too many young Americans over-value sports, clothes, and cosmetics, and under-value learning. America needs a culture change." Robert John Meehan

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Chasing test scores is not the same as building and nurturing a culture of learning...


"A key to growing as a teacher is to keep company mainly with colleagues who uplift you, whose presence inspire you and whose dedication drives you." Robert John Meehan

"One teacher with a desire to teach the least desired children is equal to a force of 100 corporate ed reformers who have only a passing interest in them." Robert John Meehan

"A gifted teacher is not only prepared to meet the needs of today's student, but is also prepared to see the tomorrow in every student." Robert John Meehan

"Chasing test scores is not the same as building and nurturing a culture of learning."
Robert John Meehan

"Children are born addicted to learning. High-stakes assessments are drumming the love of learning out of kids." Robert John Meehan

"I choose to believe that teaching the least desired is the most noble choice of all." Robert John Meehan

"Be a reflective teacher. Honestly look at what you do from time to time. Evaluate the purpose of your role as a teacher." Robert John Meehan 

Alas, The King was naked!

   Several years ago I attended a meeting at a church that was set up to show the congregation the value of sending their children to their private church run school. After 30 minutes of bashing the public schools, the headmaster put up an overhead display of the school's standardized test scores. It showed the test scores for each grade level starting from the first grade. He so proudly pointed out that the test scores of the school's first graders were average when compared to the public schools. In each successive year following, the test scores continued their upward climb above and beyond the public school scores as the children progressed through the church school. The congregation stood in unison with a resounding chorus of "Amen". The headmaster then went on to pridefully announce that every senior in their high school graduating class would be attending college after graduation. He boasted "What public school can boast of such a marvelous achievement?". The congregation left that meeting singing the praises of how wonderful their school must be to have produced such an outstanding crop of graduating seniors! The public schools be damned.
    Alas, The King was naked!  No one noticed the numbers or perhaps they just weren't intelligent enough to see past all the positive emphasis put on the end results.What the congregation failed to notice was that their typical first grade enrollment was between 55 and 60 students. Their senior graduating class was composed of 6 students! Yes, 6 students! One could only reason that during the coarse of the previous 12 years, 54 students were weeded out and sent packing back to the public schools! Any public school could also boast that all of their seniors were going on to study in college under those same circumstances!
    Private and charter schools do get positive results. Be mindful that their success is overwhelmingly attributed to what they can exclude. Too often it comes down to who they exclude. I have often wondered what would happen if each public school teacher were permitted to pick any two students out of their own classroom and send them to a local private/charter school. These teachers could easily bring the private/charter schools to their knees by simply deciding on sending their two most challenging students. The private/charter schools couldn't survive if mandated to accept and retain this influx of challenging children. In all honesty, the majority of the teachers that I have known over the past 40 years would choose their two most deserving children if they had the opportunity. I choose to believe that teaching the least desired is the most noble choice of all. All the teacher bashing and blaming the public schools for all our social problems is pointless. Do I support school choice? Absolutely! Do I support the establishment of schools that are free of government mandates and restrictions? YES! Children must come first. I just expect more honesty in the debate as to why private/charter is better. Authentic educational reform movements seek to win converts. Fraudulent educational reform movements seek to punish or denigrate those that question their integrity.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Robert John Meehan's...PLAY

By Robert John Meehan 
Main occupation of children enhanced
Life's mode of learning given a chance

Best done when not eating sleeping or complying
Interfering rejecting ridiculing or denying

Watching and imitating interacting with some
Acquiring language...Relating Will Come

Opportunities for development and emotional skill
Experiences with language and feelings that thrill

Motivation creation exploration to invest
A child's development and intellect to test

Whether parallel play in a solitary way
Or social play in a complimentary way

Play is its own reward throughout life
Imagination expression...Life Without Strife

Reprinted from:
Copyrighted 1993-2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Never be satisfied with how much you can instill in a student...


"Teachers embrace accountability when it comes with the equivalent authority in decision-making." Robert John Meehan

"The reason the ed reformers keep going at the teacher is that the real issues affecting education are too expensive and too daunting." Robert John Meehan

"Although we may not have much control over the culture outside our walls, we can set expectations that uphold a higher standard." Robert John Meehan

"When 50% of teachers leave within the first five years, it is clear that the principle solution does not lie in training more teachers." Robert John Meehan

"Never be satisfied with how much you can instill in a student: it all pales in comparison to the futures they face." Robert John Meehan

"An effective teacher is still the single most important school factor in a high-quality education." Robert John Meehan

Affluent parents are getting the schools they want...

"Affluent parents are getting the schools they want. The question is whether they’ll support the schools that help other peoples’ children." Robert John Meehan

"Emulate those teachers that instilled the sense of wonder and curiosity that inspired you."
Robert John Meehan

"Many ed reformers have foolishly accepted at face value that teachers in lower income schools are less effective. They couldn't be more wrong." Robert John Meehan

"Competition in education, by design, is intended to "leave children behind." Competition, by design, creates winners and losers." Robert John Meehan

"A teacher has to be ON every moment of the day, despite his/her’s actual state of mind." Robert John Meehan

"Our vision of teaching often becomes blurred by the restraints of standardized tests, administrative burdens, parental complaints and lack of support." Robert John Meehan 

Friday, January 10, 2014


By Robert John Meehan

An inveigled law impossible to define
Or a ratiocination barring sensations sublime
Now be it a resolution
Benumbing meaningful hugs
While our reassuring arms are brazenly shackled
As if we were thugs
No longer a caring a closeness
Dare be perceived
Nor a lasting acceptance possibly believed
A new forbiddance of sharing souls
Now mandated by the court
By a purblind law demanding
Denying hugs now be tort
Thus relegating a closeness a bonding forbiddingly conceived
Dare a bad touch to a child be mistakenly perceived
Henceforth a comforting shield from unannounced harm
Is now regulated by law... to a securing glance
Or meaningless words of charm
Now be it... a warm welcoming smile dissolves undiscovered
With only chance eye contact diminishing hope it's discovered
No longer a child shall a teacher's caring soul to greet
Nor the disclosure of our soul's selflessness without sharing hugs when we meet
A law regulating human hugs
They would deceivingly bestow
A hug at arm's length...
Is no way to greet a child we know

Reprinted from:

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A January Fear...

 A January Fear
By Robert John Meehan

A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
My class is all here
Down to each little sneer
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
Those cute little creatures
Have nothing to fear
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
Still knowing that teacher's
Not entirely here
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
Each little tear
Makes it perfectly clear
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
A day off is coming
And hopefully near
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
It's harder and harder
Maintaining my leer
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
Perhaps my behavior's
becoming quite queer
A sick day a sick day
I'll not make it all year
Perhaps in the morning
I'll call in and with fear
Alas, I can hear my principle jeer
With a resigning smirk easy to hear

Reprinted from:


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