Teachers: YOU work hard enough.
YOU are not what’s wrong with education. I don’t want to say it is the kids, because kids are only reflections of our culture’s combined psyche. It is everyone’s fault, but the solution is not harder-working teachers. Parents and administrators don’t think you’re a good teacher until you’re a martyr for the profession, and NO teacher gets paid enough for that.
As members of the same culture, it’s everyone’s fault. Trying to solve the problem by making teachers work harder is like putting out a fire in the basement by flooding the upstairs bathtub. Eventually it might work, but there are better ways…
That said, kids sometimes frighten me.
They don’t frighten me in a physical sense. Intellectually, they frighten me. They make me fear the world in twenty years. Today’s children remind me of the Eloi (from The Time Machine) a race of lazy simpletons blissfully unaware Morlocks harvested them for food. If we don’t prepare them for the Morlocks of the world, our nation and culture will have an entire generation of narcissistic, lazy…Uh-oh. Too late.
I wish I was wrong. I want to believe modern trends in education beget real improvements, but they’re not. Think of all professional development meetings you’ve sat through. How many stuck with you?
Schools have changed and although parents and communities want to insist it’s about the children, it isn’t. Schools have become a community status symbol, a way for the entire town to park a Beamer in their driveway. There’s no other reason for the educational extravagance. Do teachers need massive, LED movie projectors? Bose sound systems? iPads for every child? Portable laptop labs? Marble floors?
Why the poorly-utilized educational technology?
One city is bragging to the other city, no different than a child showing off a new toy and loving the flash of jealousy on another kid’s face. Then towns that cannot afford the extravagance waste money trying to keep up with the Jones’ and neglect areas of real importance.
With a class of reasonably-obedient children, a teacher ONLY needs textbooks, desks, a whiteboard and fifty minutes. I would go so far as to add a television with PowerPoint, but that’s because I love using visuals. With the too-permissive parenting and pathological sheltering of children today, we spend billions in taxes preparing our children for disappointment.
Kids need to skin their knees. Kids need to be told when they’re doing something stupid (don’t say they ARE stupid, just doing something stupid. Huge difference). We are doing them no favors.
What qualifies me to give this advice?
Ten years of teaching, and I can count on both hands how many times I have sent kids to the principal’s office. My room is quiet, my kids listen to me and they learn. I am not bragging. There are very few things I can do well. For example, I can’t dribble a basketball worth a damn.
But I can control a class.