Interested in hosting a Thirty One Party? Contact my friend:

Monday, August 20, 2012

My thoughts on criticism of education

I've given this a lot of thought today and here is my answer as a teacher to all those who decide to go around saying that our schools are worthless, only teaching conformity, rote memorization, that truth only comes from authority, only rewarding conformity, and punishing noncompliance. Take your child out of school both public, private, and charter.

Teach every single subject to your child yourself. Make sure that your child can pass the state mandated tests, because they will check on you. Make sure that you yourself are the expert on each subject taught, and that you can answer all questions your child might have about said subjects. Make sure that you can teach said subjects every day so that your child is always learning, and not just sitting in front of the computer or television. Make sure the environment is stimulating with pictures, posters, art, interactive stations as they relate to each given subject. Make sure that you have all of the tools necessary to work with your child should they have a learning disorder or speech disorder.

The moment your child states that 1+1=3, not 2 praise him for being a nonconformist. The moment your child questions why you asked them to read for 15 minutes praise them for questioning your authority and let them do what they wish to do. The moment they say they don’t want to memorize their sight words or periodic table praise them for knowing that memorization serves no purpose. When your child begins to conform to grammar rules, reading rules, and math rules punish them for being a conformist. Tell them that only those who do no conform to any given rules, laws, theories, or what not are successful. When your child who suffers from a speech disorder mumbles that they do not wish to know how to speak to be understood tell them it is ok because it does not matter, it would be conforming to speak to be understood.

I’ve been an educator for twelve years now and though I may still make my own mistakes in grammar, math, and many subjects I still value education. I realize and have realized since day one that our public, private, and charter education system is still lacking in many areas. I do however know from personal experience that there are many wonderful educators in their various subjects at various levels of education. It is very easy to criticize. I find it sad when I read statements as I mentioned at the start of this note. It is a sad reflection on society in general. It is also a true slap in the face to some of the best educators that exist or have existed. The best educators I have had were those who taught me to think for myself, and most of them do teach that way. The best were also those who taught me the value in the subject they taught. It’s funny because some of the people complaining about the education system are those who on the other hand state that we should be scientific thinkers, etc. How on earth than can you state that memorization is not necessary? There are some scientific basics that just do not go away. Laws of Physics though tested, pushed, explored, still have a foundation that must be memorized in order to go forward. There is a tremendous amount of mathematics involved in science and even if you believe it is a conformist attitude of nothing but useless memorization it does pay to remember what the formula HCl stands for before you decide to test it by drinking it.

The very system accused of creating a group of mindless drones is the very system that has educated those persons who have made great strides and changes in our world; Dr. Martin Luther King Junior to Bruce Lee. Yes, the education system in the United States has many flaws, and do not be naive to think that educators do not see them or do not care. We care that funds are pulled each year making it more difficult to teach our given subject. We care that older persons in the community do not care anymore because their children are long gone so they fight us on taxes. We care that people criticize us daily. We care that children’s minds are being polluted by the media and politics. We care enough that we actually work daily to teach those children in our charge how to think critically and how to question. We also care enough that we teach them why said subjects exists, how they exist, and how they work. It does not happen all in one year though, and most schools are not year round. Typically teachers must, as a service to their students; work on reviewing what was learned the previous year so we can set up the stage to acquire new information. Most adults know that if you do not use something you lose it. It does not matter what the skill is, I have personally heard this from many adults in many fields. So educators do care enough to review things we have already gone over so as not to punish our children.

Education is a difficult profession just like any other, but it is often the one most criticized. My solution is that if you are not willing to help work to make education a better place than you simply remove yourself from it in all areas of your life. Remove your student from school because it will take care of the overcrowding that leads to teacher/student ratios being horrible. Do not complain when you realize how difficult teaching your child actually is, and if you really don’t like it then take you and your child off the grid so we as a society do not have to deal with the ignorance and plain out stupidity that is going to occur without any sort of education. In regards to the child with a speech issue (and I include this because as a SPED teacher I love and respect my speech pathologists because I am not skilled in that area), do not complain when your child cannot obtain work and has to live with you for the rest of their life because no one can understand the words that come out of their mouth. If you really feel that education is worthless then stop participating all together. This means if you teach or are taught in anything that you stop it immediately and stop conforming.

Does this sound absolutely preposterous to you? Does the idea of giving up your swim, aerobic, karate, knitting, work related education, and so forth sound ludicrous to you? Does it sound silly to say that holding your breath under water stupid and conformist and you won’t do it because it’s a “rule”? This is what the people who speak out about education sound like though. The people who say that education/schools are worthless, only teaching conformity, rote memorization, that truth only comes from authority, only rewarding conformity, and punishing noncompliance sound like the simpleton who decides he is going to be a nonconformist and prove that he can breathe underwater like a fish (without the aid of dive equipment) and dies doing so.

Thank you to all of the educators in the world who strive daily to bring the best to their students.