What keeps me centred
Posted July 27, 2012on:
It is Friday and some more than others probably feel like they really need this weekend.
On most weeks it is my son who appreciates Fridays the most in my family. You might expect that of a child who goes to school, but if you delve into the reasons you begin to understand why.
As a parent, it saddens me to hear the same downbeat “Meh!” or “Boring!” response to the question “How was school today?” I might as well ask if the sea was still salty. The answers are so predictable.
Earlier this week he told that he experienced something new. I expected something positive but I was wrong. He told me that he almost feel asleep in class because the teacher droned on and on. Apparently, he was not the only one.
Yesterday he looked forward to a pottery enrichment class organized by the school. He was hoping to throw some clay on a wheel and make his own pencil holder or LEGO container.
Instead he was told to make an Angry Birds scene. When he said he wished to make a squarish bird, a teacher told him that he could only make a round or triangular one.
Angry Birds? How about two Angry Parents? Disappointed Child, Disappointed Parents. These are not fun games to play because everybody loses. (Actually, Angry Birds is fun while the other three are not!)
Some parents worry about their kids getting low grades. I worry about my son losing the joy of learning and having creativity and curiosity squeezed out of him.
I worry about teachers who stop being educators because they only care about grades and because they stop learning. I worry about them not questioning the status quo and not fighting for what is right.
When people visit my room, it is the first thing they comment on. I tell them that it serves as a reminder of why I chose to be in education and to be a teacher educator. Outside my office, I tell the preservice and inservice teachers who take my courses half-in-jest that I do not really care about them. I care about the kids that they affect.
One of my favourite quotes comes from a school vice-principal in Singapore. She said that we have 21st century learners being taught by 20th century teachers in 19th century classrooms.
I want those teachers to change their mindsets and their behaviours so that they are at least current and ideally future-oriented. I want them to be lead learners, change agents, and models of creativity and curiosity.
I like to tell teachers that if we do not reach them (our learners and their expectations), we will not be able to really teach them. So I teach them (teachers) so that they can reach them (our kids).