Miss Marple said we are all alloted three score and ten years, and like Miss Marple I shall soon be overdrawn.
Now, having lived 70 years, I will use this blog to record my observations and try to answer the question, "Is the hokey-pokey really what it's all about?
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
BACK TO SCHOOL
taught elementary school, middle school, high school and been a principal.It has been seven years since I have been in
remember their school years with less than found emotions.Children come from homes with various levels
of stability that truly represents a cross section of the community: wealthy
homes; stable homes with enrichments; single parent homes; families living in
poverty; homes with violent parents, drug and alcohol addicted parents… The
list is as varying as the community itself.
It is safe
to say that no two children are experiencing the same home life and same life
pressures.They come into school with different
degrees of abilities, advantages, emotional stability and attitudes.
Adding to this, in the classroom we try to fit
them into a one-size-fits-all-mold – a homogeneous curriculum dictated by
educational bureaucrats and mandated by politicians.
children have to deal with the social pressures inflicted by their peers - often
cruel and sometimes violent.
We have all
been there – we have all lived through it.No wonder we have conflicted feelings about school.
knowledge of school come from their experience as a student – from a child’s
perspective.Nine months a year the parent’s responsibility
is to make sure their kids get off to school.Many parents cannot tell you the name of their children’s teachers, or
even recognize them in passing – much less understand the function and
dysfunction of the local education environment.
a complex bureaucracy and does not necessarily have the actual education of the
students as its top priority.
are strictly political animals; they know nothing of the actual culture,
educational standards taught, teachers or classroom conditions in the schools
they supervise.They serve at the
pleasure of the school boards that hire and can fire them.They are 99% politicians and 1%
educators.Their primary concern is
keeping their job by keeping the school board happy – and much of it is smoke
are mainly site administrators.They
are responsible for the school budget, physical plant, teachers, support staff,
safety and welfare of the children; and to insure that some type of coordinated
schedule, in line with state standards, is maintained.Principals are the minions of the
Superintendents.Their tenure – their
jobs – depend on covering the Superintendents ass; and they exist knowing that no
one has their back.The Superintendent
will sacrifice a principal in a New York minute if a site problem reaches the
attention of the school board.
there are the teachers.I have often
wondered why anyone would make a career of teaching.
true educators in the school system are the teachers.Teachers
come to school each morning tasked with teaching a bloated curriculum aimed at
preparing the students to pass some arbitrary, politically required test.The only purpose these test serve are to give
politicians bragging rights that they are fixing failing schools.
classroom the teachers deal with disruptive and rude students, students with no
interest in learning, and special needs students that are ‘mainstreamed’ into
the regular classroom.
Even with these
difficulties teachers still care about most of their students, and do their
best to actually present educational material tailored to each child’s
underpaid and underappreciated.They are
the whipping post of politicians.It always burns my ass to hear some parent harping
on and on about their child’s teacher.To become a teacher requires a minimum of four years schooling plus
internships.Teachers have to pass a
rigorous test to become certified, and then teachers are constantly, formally
evaluated including classroom observations.In order to recertify on a state mandated schedule teachers are required
to complete a number of college level continuing education classes.Many teachers have Masters Degrees and
above; whereas the only qualification for being a parent is the ability to
little patience for people that complain about their public schools.Perhaps we should close all public schools
and fund only home schooling programs – you chose to have them – you stay home
and teach them.A few years of parents
dealing 24/7/365 with their children would either result in a dramatic decrease
in the national birth rate or a renewed appreciation for the public school