Thursday, September 30, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

There is a big push to improve education in the United States.  The most recent idea is to get rid of tenure.  Now, if you have tenure, you can't be fired unless you are a pervert or something.  I had tenure and so did most of my colleagues.  Did it make us work less hard?  No, it did not.
Now, I know there are teachers who just skate by and don't work hard or try hard or like kids much.  Those people should never get tenure.  That is the fault of their supervisors who don't give honest reviews of their work.  Maybe they are afraid to but my guess is they are just being polite.
Being polite can get you into situations you don't want to be in--trust me, I've been there.  You may have too.  You can't be polite when you are critiquing a bad teacher.  A bad review might inspire a uninspired teacher to get on the ball.
Anyway, tenure isn't the problem anyway.
To me, the trouble is we don't respect childhood.  Historically speaking, we hardly ever have...think Child Labor.  We as a society(and ours is not the only one) want kids to grow up fast and be mature and carry their load as soon as possible.  We want kids to dress up like adults and act like one.  We want kids to study hard and learn even if they are only five and ALL research shows that children up to the age of 9 learn best through PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Did you hear that people???  I said PLAY.
Remember play?  It's that thing you did when you went outside and ran around and tagged your friends or tossed a ball around.  It's when you pretended to be a lion or a cowboy or Tarzan or Robin Hood or Barbie.  It's when you rode your bike and skated.  It's when you read a book that wasn't assigned or played a board game or your grandma taught you cards.
You can play in school and children will learn.  I know because I used to do it.  You can hide learning in play.  A kid can learn the alphabet in the sandbox as well as in a workbook.  Kids can learn to read  and everything while engaged in activities they think are play.
Remember what you liked best in school??  Bet it wasn't reading group or workbook.  I'll bet it was gym or art or music--those things that most resembled play.  That's because you learned by playing.  Yes,you did.
If you were lucky, your teachers recognized that and tried to make school fun.
School is not fun anymore.  I listen to my friends who are still teaching and all I hear about are scores on tests and scripted reading programs and everyone being expected to be on the same page in math on the same day.  Doesn't sound much like fun, does it?
Kids are getting in more trouble in school too.  Guess what I think?  They are showing us that they aren't ready for the roles being thrust upon them.  They are not ready to be little adults....and they shouldn't be.  They are children--even that sullen thirteen year old slouched in the last row of English class.  Children who need to be nurtured and respected and taught by all of us adults, not just the teachers in their lives.
All you experts who are trying to fix the education problem need to recognize the needs of kids to be respected and understood for who and what they are.
They need to learn how to make good choices, how to decide what is right or wrong if it seems like it could be both, how to express themselves verbally and in the written word.  These are the kids that are supposed to man up and pay our Social Security one day.   They may not want to and who could blame them??  As I see it, we haven't done them many favors.


Anonymous said...

Send this along to Pres. Obama. I say "Here, Here!" All the billions on testing and our kids are getting worse than the year before, or the last 10 yrs. Maybe the testing is telling us our system is failing--not that the kids aren't getting it. We need a whole big education overhaul and it won't start with spending money on testing. Spend it on new supplies, more teacher aides for kids who struggle. Don't test and tell them they have failed again. Tell them daily--Wow, now you are getting it!!! If learning can't be fun how can we expect kids to think that a job for 40 yrs. could possible be fun or challenging. We don't hold jobs by passing tests, we hold jobs by doing the work. come on government --so should kids. Bean

SUE said...

You are so right, Bean!