Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dehumanization of Education

I am a teacher because of the love I had for school.  I loved my teachers.  I loved having fun while learning. I loved the interaction with my peers.  I felt safe and successful at school...even when I made mistakes.

Politics and non-educators have changed our schools.  They have turned them into businesses focused only on numbers and status.  They have taken away the human component.  Instead of teachers focusing on the well-being of the children, we have teachers forced to shove massive amounts of information down the throats of children who actually need love and nurturing.  They have taken away the time to incorporate fun that kids need in order to develop a love for learning.  Instead of doing all we can for our kids, we are told not to touch them...They are children. They need hugs and pats on the back.  They need to know that it is okay to show affection and that there is an appropriate way to show it. 

The kids aren't the only ones affected by the decisions of these people who have never stepped into a classroom.  The teachers are being stifled.  They are feeling that their only purpose is to cram as much information into these children as possible.  The teachers are beginning to crack under the pressure.  They are criticized and made to feel that their opinions and professional knowledge are worth nothing.

These non-educators should step into a classroom.  They would see the child who dominates the class time with their rude insolent behavior.  They would see the child who crawls on the floor and cowers in the coat cubbies.  They would see the kids who come in without breakfast or clean clothes. They would see the kids who crave attention and stand as close to the teacher as possible.  They would see the tears and anxiety as the teacher plows through lessons.   

Then let's have these "experts" visit with parents who do not have a moment to spend with their kids but feel that it is all the teacher's fault when their child misbehaves or earns poor grades.  They should see the disrespectful manner in which some parents speak to the teachers...and that the teachers are instructed to "just take it".

The paperwork and class interruptions should be the next on their list of observations. They should see that while there is a planning time it is often taken away due to parent meetings,team meetings,assemblies,and paperwork. 

They should stay with the teachers until the teachers have completely stopped working for the day.  This would involve them heading home with the teacher and managing a household while continuing their work for school.

Maybe after a visit with the kids and teachers, they would see that they have it all wrong.  Schools are not all about numbers...schools are for the heart of the kids.  Schools are meant to instill a love of learning that will last for life. 
Until this happens, I fear that our schools will continue their journey of dehumanization.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lesson from a Flat Tire

Bags packed and in the car. Full gas tank. GPS set. You behind the wheel with thoughts of a glorious well-deserved vacation. The engine roars to life and you are off to bask in the sun, listen to the waves, and relax.

Cruising along. No traffic. Radio accompanying off tune singing. A jolt! Swerving…side of the road. You stare in amazement at the trail of rubber on the highway.

Pop the trunk open. Curse the directions written in another country’s language. Throw the directions to the side. You pull out the spare, tire iron, and jack. Determined to figure it out yourself you get to work.

Put the jack together. Place it under the car. Crunch! Wrong placement. Try again. A new hole emerges in the passenger door. Reposition the jack and raise the car.

Retrieve the spare. Deep breaths after carrying the spare up the hill. Make a mental note not to throw the spare in frustration. Lug nuts. Lefty-loosey righty-tighty. Kick the tire iron. Try the other left. Give thanks for karate lessons. Lug nuts off.

Pull off remainder of tire. Set it carefully on the side of the road. Spare on. Lug nuts missing. You lie down on the scorching asphalt and spy them halfway under the car. Shimmying on your stomach while cursing your travel clothing choice you finally wrap your scraped hand around them. Shimmy out. Lug nuts and tire iron. Righty-tighty.

Lower the car. Raise the car. Wipe the tears from your face. A second mental note is added: be careful of foot placement when lowering car. Lower the car.

Take apart the jack. Place jack and tire iron in the trunk alongside the tire that used to be. Glance back at the directions for additional words of rebuke. Notice the directions have flipped over with all the movement.

Chipped nails and scraped fingers form a fist. Sweat runs down your side. Steam rises from your head. A slew of words any sailor would be proud of spew from your snarling lips. You glare at the side of the directions unnoticed before. The English side of the directions.

Back in the car. Back on the road. Leaving the rubber behind, you are once again headed toward that glorious destination.

***Moral of the story: Always look at both sides before determining a course of action. It will save time, sweat, stress, tears, and possibly your manicure.