Tuesday, May 6, 2014
When I taught school, the kids were the thing. I spent time getting to know children and focusing on their needs and learning styles.
I worked hard to present concepts that my students would need not only in the classroom but in life. That included socialization and teamwork and responsibility. I think it's sad that a first grader in Ohio is expected to know where to put a comma in a dictated sentence they are writing rather than know how to get along with the kid in the next desk.
I worked in Kindergarten for many years. Sometimes I was the first person to say NO and mean it. Sometimes I was the first adult that a kid could trust to be there. Sometimes I was the person who fed them. I got to introduce my students to good literature and wonderful songs. We laughed and did silly things. We worked in teams and played in centers and guess what, THEY LEARNED.
It probably looked like chaos to some but it was organized chaos where children chose activities from the ones I presented and then went to it. At the time we called it taking ownership of the learning.
You know who has the ownership of the learning now? It's not teachers, it's sure not the kids, it is state government. The only way the state knows how to evaluate children is to give a test and another test and another test. Teachers are bogged down in paperwork and children are presented material that they are developmentally not ready for.
Everyone says that education is in a terrible place. Kids graduate from school unable to read. Well, I think I have the answer to that and it isn't a test. Let kids be kids when they are little. Stop forcing them to be little adults before their time. Let kids from Kindergarten to third grade have fun. Let them learn at their own pace. If we build a strong base of knowledge, the students will be able to thrive.
Now in Ohio, if you can't read at the 3rd grade level by the end of third grade, there you stay until you do. That seems so wrong to me. Why not extend the time kids spend in K-2? Let them grow. They'll learn I promise.
So, thanks teachers. I feel your pain and I am so proud to know that you never give up on your students or yourselves. Keep up the good work and keep praying for the golden years to come back.