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Educating our children is the most important thing we can do!

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These were my beloved ‘kids’ all dressed up for their kindergarten graduation. When I taught at New Jerusalem in California, we had a complete graduation with caps and diplomas, and the kids sang nursery rhymes, which morphed into a Mother Goose dramatic production over the years. I would run into kids who were in high school, who would tell me, ‘I remember when I was the cat who played the fiddle. It was amazing the way they remembered those experiences. And I would argue that those experiences were every bit as important as their ‘test scores.’

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I loved teaching those little children and there was nothing more joyful than when they expressed wonder and mastery of the subject I was teaching them. It seems like classrooms have a certain feel no matter where you go. I have been out of the teaching profession for six years now, and sadly, I fear it seems much longer because of the enormous changes that have taken place. I remember one of the ‘buzz’ words when I was teaching was ‘realia.’ You taught the children by giving them real experiences. Somehow, it made a lot of sense, but now it seems to have been replaced with ‘testology.’

 

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We taught the children themes through the holidays, but now I believe holidays are not considered ‘politically correct’ whatever that means. I remember I retired relatively early because I didn’t like the direction the school system was headed. I had to ‘teach’ my kindergartners how to read and write and do math. While this was fine for those who were developmentally ready, for some, it was like putting a green banana in the oven and hoping it would ripen. I always felt Gesell, Erickson, and Piaget, child developmentalists from the seventies, were turning in their graves when I tried to force subjects on my kids that they weren’t ready for.

I had to test them, which was very traumatic for them. When they asked me questions, I told them I couldn’t help them. They didn’t understand that concept because I was their teacher and that was what I was there for, which pretty much made sense to me. I just hope that the educational system will put the teaching back into the hands of teachers who are trained to ‘teach’ and take it away from politicians who are trained to–well I’m not quite sure what some of them are trained to do! We could all fill in the blank like good students, I guess.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Bren

 

4 Responses to “Educating our children is the most important thing we can do!”

  1. As a speech pathologist working in the schools, I agree with many of your remarks. Depending on your site, testing has become an incredibly stressful event, between MAP testing and CRTs. I’m not opposed to testing that can be used to drive instruction (MAP, though it does close the computer lab for 1/4 of our school year, and the type of testing I do to qualify kiddos for SpEd support) but I do oppose testing that only serves to measure teacher effectiveness. In some schools, the stakes are so high that kids are throwing up, thinking they’ll be retained if they don’t “pass.” And while this doesn’t happen at my site, it happened at my daughter’s school (she was in a gifted program) to such an extent that I pulled her out.

    Good teaching is still good teaching. Realia continues to be important and encouraged; the importance of play is still discussed (at least in my Pre-K programs.) Some of the changes at the administrative level are INSANE, but, with enough creativity, even that can be gotten around. (I was going to say addressed, but that’s not really true. You get around bad policy, because to fight bad policy is like fighting the Borg–“Resistance is futile.” The top dogs–some of whom have never taught, and most of whom haven’t taught in years–don’t like to be told they’re wrong. But a decent site based administrator will watch what you’re doing and how you do it, listen to your rationale and view your research, and let you teach the way you want in spite of administrative dictates.)

    I still love my job. Eventually, the pendulum will swing the other way. But if the “run schools like a business” mentality continues, and the weakening of our public school system continues, it will definitely be awhile. Schools need funding. They need support. And they need talented teachers whose opinions are respected and valued. I fear that’s where we’re falling apart.

    That was a really long post. Sorry.

    M

    • Meggan, I enjoyed hearing your opinion. You are so right and administration that supports ‘sane’ teaching is so important. I know many friends who are teachers or administrators as well, and they definitely are creative in their teaching philosophies. I think the frustration comes from teaching in spite of educational policy from above, rather than have teaching policies that enhance teaching techniques. I love and bless you as a speech pathologist because I always appreciated when I sent children to the pathologists, they always took care of business. One of the best things about public education is that if your child has a learning disability, if educators are paying attention, it can be dealt with. Hmm… this does get lengthy, huh? I do hate that one of the first things to get cut in funding is education. Really??? How can anyone consider that unimportant? But the pendulum does swing full distance about every ten years. Thanks so much for your interesting comments.

  2. Shel says:

    Beautiful Bren.. love you friend.

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