Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Truth About Schools

I became a teacher, because I believed that education was the great equalizer for all individuals from all sorts of walks to life. I believed that you might have a bad life, because you might have had a bad education.


If students are lucky, they will have one or two teachers a year that they will really connect with.

If teachers are lucky, they will have a handful of kids a year that they will really connect with.

(Class size is one factor.)

If you do the math, in high school at least, I see my students for less than an hour a day. (Going back to class size, this means that after a beginning of class introduction and end of class closing, I could talk to each student for about one minute a day - but wait - I have to teach stuff too, so that's not actually how a teacher's life goes.) How could I have naively believed that education could defeat every other sucky thing going on in a kid's life? Yes, students spend 7 hours a day in school and yes, that's a lot of time. But where are students for the other 17 hours of the day? Yes, many students spend an additional 2 or 3 hours in extracurriculars, but still, where are they for the other 14 hours of the day? It's arithmetic. We simply cannot expect to win over the majority of kids who have unpleasant things going on the other ~2/3 of the day.

Yes, we can be the difference for some students. But we cannot for the others. It is just impossible. And it sucks, but that doesn't change the situation.

The biggest difference maker, I think, now having taught for 4.5 years, is having parents that want to have you and raise you the best they can. So don't have kids if you don't want an 18 year  lifetime commitment, don't have kids because of societal pressure, and don't have kids if you're not convinced you can make them your biggest priority.

Because then we all pay the price.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Just a Thought

I teach the way I was taught and the way I learn. I think it's hard not to, because I don't have a full grasp of what it's like to be a certain type of learner that is not my type of learner (and how could I?). At the same time, I try to make myself available for one-on-one help for students who don't easily learn the way I teach. I think that's all we can do. I'm sure there are teachers who are better than me at teaching to multiple learning profiles. However, I also think it's impossible - IMPOSSIBLE - for us to be expected to be five people at once or create five different activities for a concept, etc. We're asked to be flexible, and sometimes I am, so students should learn to be, too. Otherwise they're gonna run into obstacles they're not ready for outside of our padded walls.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Shit You Hear in Schools #1

Some of our failing students have 0's for some of their assignments. It has been suggested that some of our failing students have 0's for some of their assignments, because we teachers might have forgotten to update their grades after they submitted late work.