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And now for something entirely different… May 17, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, Educational Ranting, General Ranting, News and politics.
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Sorry loyal readers, I have no words of wisdom tonight,  just a question.   Where do they lose it?  I spent the last few hours video-taping a Kindergarten graduation, 5 and 6-year-old smiling faces walking across a stage like it is the most important thing in the world.   You could tell that each one of them wanted to be exactly where they were.  They were interested and engaged (the goal of every teacher for every student) and yet I know that in just 12 short years, when it is time to do it for real, fully 3/4’s of these bright eager little faces will be completely disinterested and likely even vigorously opposed to education.  Where do they lose it?

What causes a few kids to blossom in the educational system and a good deal more to completely withdraw from it.  I am assuming that the small rural high school I teach at is not so different from the thousands of others that cover the back-roads of America.  Is it this way everywhere.  Too many kids start off eager and interested and end up sullen and resentful of the time that they spend in school and I want to know WHEN it happens.  I have filmed this same graduation now for 3 years and the kids each year aren’t that different.  I have seen 5 classes of seniors graduate and I find that the pattern holds true every year.  If anyone has a suggestion I would like to hear it.  I know we talk about testing and engagement and edu-tainment but honestly I have seen nothing that I consider useful.

The floor is now open.  Anyone have an opinion?  -nite all.

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Comments»

1. Mad Maudie - May 18, 2012

Just a thought, but I wonder if it starts at about the time when kids stop seeing themselves (their work) in the classroom. School stops being their space, and it starts becoming a space that doesn’t belong to them and that they don’t enjoy, but that they have to go to five days a week anyhow.

It’s late, and I’m tired, but I’ll try to make sense here. When we’re in kindergarten, our teachers and parents hang up and proudly display everything we do, right? When we look around the class, we see things we made, so there’s a part of us there in the room. Then, we come home and see things we did at school posted to the refrigerator. All of these things combine to make us feel like the class is part of us, and that we are part of it, just as much as we are part of our homes and families. We feel a a certain sense of ownership, I believe.

Then, at some point, the classroom walls become less about what we did or made and become more about either (a) the teacher (b) the subject matter (c) the school or (d) some combination of the three, but there is less of us, ourselves, the further up we go. Suddently, school isn’t just an extension of home anymore, and it’s no longer an extension of us as individuals. It’s no longer a space we helped create; it’s now a space that we’re forced to fit into.

Sorry if i made no sense. It’s late, and I’m tired. 🙂

2. regan222 - May 19, 2012

I think you have at least part of it. The parents, at some point, stop approving. By their actions or words or whatever, they demonstrate to a lot of kids that what the kids are doing is not important like it was when we hung up everything on the refrigerator door and made much of it. Some parents keep that going and it shows with their kids. I fear that those parents are getting more rare by the day. Most parents are too busy with their own lives. Having kids is a afterthought in the marriage, a desperate attempt to hold the marriage together and give their empty lives meaning, OR, worse yet, an accident that caused the marriage in the first place. Planned Parenthood is becoming the biggest oxymoron statement ever. No one does it anymore. I am also sleepy and that’s when I tend to take on a bitter tone that I don’t mean to but it bothers me. I have been out of school for more than 30 years now and I am appalled at how many kids today don’t care a bit about it. The parents only care if I call and bug them OR at the end of the six weeks reporting period when Jr. brings home an “F”. People have been calling for teacher accountability forever. I think we should call for parent accountability. Make people fiscally and morally responsible for the way their kids turn out since they are the ones in control in the end anyhow. Government, schools, the “system”, peer pressure, and all that can be beaten by good parents. People should become parents on purpose, not by accident or as an after-thought. Maybe there should be a standardized test when people reach high school graduation and anyone who fails gets a quick trip to the clinic and has to leave a few body parts. Anyhow, thanks for your comments. Sorry mine were so grumpy. Have a great weekend.

3. Mad Maudie - May 21, 2012

No need to apologize for grumpiness! I’m a crank from way back when. 🙂 i think you put lard in rhe skillet with this one; your reply was spot on! Too bad “parent accountability” is a mere thing of dreams. I see kids all the time who have such great potential, but they don’t end up doing much with it because they don’t get support at home, and while we, as teachers, do have an impact our students, the bottom line is that mom and dad (or the lack thereof) have more. I hope you have a great week ahead of you!


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