About Randy Miller

Randy R. Miller is a social studies teacher at Charter High School located in Camden, NJ. Randy has 5 years collective experience in both K-12 and higher education as a fundraiser, program coordinator and student advisor. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of MORE, Inc., which empowers urban youth and young adults holistically through education and mentoring using practical strategies for real life application. Randy received both his bachelor of arts degree (2005) and master’s degree in public policy and administration (2008) from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Week 6/17 – 6/21

courtesy NEANH

courtesy NEANH

There are so many problems with schooling in the United States. I don’t claim to have the answers to help all of the schools in the entire nation, but I certainly know of some ideas that can help my school. At the end of the day, all problems and all solutions revolve around the students. Why, because the job of a school is to educate kids and so the kids are the nucleus of the education system.  Dealing with teacher and administrator turnover every year can make keeping the students the focus difficult.

Quite frankly, many adults don’t know what to do with them; the students, that is. This is because many of the adults don’t know what the hell they are doing. Some of the adults – teachers and administrators – cannot teach, cannot lead, cannot implement anything, cannot strategically plan, cannot build and maintain relationships and they certainly cannot inspire people. Some of the adults cannot take the pressures imposed on their work by the politics of education, the various issues surrounding the education of diverse students and also the over-dependence placed upon them by all constituencies as a professional when they’re good at what they do. But it is the latter group of individuals who eventually decide to leave the profession altogether and that is sad because generally it is from this pool of individuals that you find the folks who actually care and can actually contribute to the instruction and character building of our students. Unfortunately in many places, what is left behind are the people who are either mediocre or inept while added are a high number of inexperienced and poorly trained “teachers” to replace the good ones who have left.

Moment of the Week

Here is a penny for your thoughts: the most important person in an organization is not the president or lead executive;  it is the secretary / administrative assistant / office manager. That individual will take care of you when you need it so make sure that you are good to these individuals. I had a conversation with the office manager in my building, and she informed me that we’d be losing a number of teachers at the end of the year; some were leaving and some were being let go. It looks like we’ll have a new school year with fresh faces that may or may not be good teachers; who may or may not like kids. All I know is that for most schools in the state, and it is probably like this throughout the country, most jobs for the next year are filled by June. My school district just gets going in June with bringing in teachers in for interviews and sample lessons. Sure, people apply all the time and certainly folks are interviewed throughout the year, but the mass hirings happen in July. Our faculty roster probably won’t be filled until early August. Our students will have to get used to new teachers and unfortunately many of our students are too use to having to get use to new teachers. I myself have actually gotten use to the fact that the turnover at our school is rough every year. I simply hope that we don’t lose individuals within the school year – although that happens too.

Lesson of the Week

I am a big time sports fan, especially professional football and professional basketball. Every year, win or lose, there are some new faces and some teammates and coaches have left for new places. However, it is the responsibility of those who remain on the team to carry on and continue the goal of winning during the next season. The same is true for the faculty and staff at a school. There may be changes from year to year but we have to strive towards the same goal – producing healthy (mind, body and spirit) and empowered students; ready for the world that awaits them. So we must remain steadfast and do our best to work with the resources we have. We ask all of our students to the best with what they have – whether it is much or a little; we stress that hard work will carry them the rest of the way. As educators, we must follow that same expectation and same truth.

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