Monday, August 16, 2010

I Quit!

Ok, not really. I don't usually quit anything; I'm too bloody stubborn for that. However, our teacher inservice training today made me want to throw up my arms and scream, "I QUIT!" and break out into my own rendition of "Take This Job and Shove It".

"Why?" you ask. Well, see, remember those weeks I was in Zambia? Remember all the schools I was blessed to observe and help? See, Africa gets under your skin and becomes a part of you. When I saw kids desperate just to learn to read their names and write their letters and numbers, it reminded me why I became a teacher in the first place: to help kids LEARN and be excited and passionate about discovery. In Zambia, school is a privilege. Here it's an obligatory nightmare of state standards and exams and lots of teachers who are flat out boring. In Zambia, a lot of teachers teach to have a job, just like here, but most of them still want to see their students be successful because they know education is the only way for their nation to continue to move forward. Honestly, if I hadn't been to Africa, I know this post would instead be talking about how great today's training was. I used to think all this stuff was fabulous and helping me be a better teacher, but Zambia taught me none of it matters without my own personal passion to see kids be successful, no matter the obstacles. So, keep that in mind.

Instead of filling our time with idea sharing amongst teachers (people actually IN the classroom on a daily basis) many school districts think philosophies, pedagogies, and numerous other big worded trainings are going to make our students brighter. This irritates the tar out of me because, regardless of our world ranking in education, I've seen what the vast majority of the world's students get on a daily basis, and we're eons ahead of them. And for those privileged with the money to go to school in that vast majority of the world, the successful ones who become the doctors, lawyers, business men and women, and teachers that continue to propel (albeit sometimes slowly) their nations towards a brighter future didn't become successful because of the most new-fangled study on educational techniques but because of the passion, drive, and encouragement of a teacher(s) who cared. THAT'S REALITY!

Hmm...So, I saw the same interest for discovery in my sweet Zambian kiddos as I do in my own kiddos. Whatever happened to simply supplying them with the tools to do what kids do best-discover?? Once the basic reading and writing and 'rithmetic concepts are down, get them curious and run with it. It works in huts with no electricity, it works in my 21st century state-of-the-art classroom, and it worked in Laura Ingalls Wilder's day, not to mention Ancient China.

So why the fuss? Why did I have to sit through three hours of hearing about 'fertilizing' good behavior in students, stopping teachers from 'leaking' out lectures, finger shaking, and 'the look' when bad behavior occurs, and 'resetting' students onto good behavior instead? COMPLETE WASTE!

No offense to anyone, honest, but let's get back to the basics! Let's appreciate what we have in this country and make use of it instead of trying to reinvent the wheel 500 different ways simply because we're in a new millennium with new technology. We all know those things are coming with us, and we're using them! But let me get on with being a teacher, my dream job, the thing I'm most passionate about (aside from Christ), and why my heart aches daily for Zambia.

So teachers, don't quit, even when you're tempted. Dig down deep and remember why you spent those four years studying and lesson planning in college. Fertilize your passion, leak out the fluff, reset your motivation, and TEACH! :)

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I don't even teach anymore, but this makes me want to give our education system a roundhouse kick to the piehole!

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