Saturday, September 10, 2005

Actually, no. Some children SHOULD be left behind.

I'm not sure what category my blog would be put in, because it depends on my mood and what I'm focused on at the moment.

My blog doesn't really fit into any one category; it has as many as my mind has tangents. And as many people already know, I tend to go off on tangents.

But seriously, most people learn more and better things on the tangents than they did with the carefully prepared lesson. Tangents show us how to connect our thoughts to various topics, and to connect one topic to another, and isn't much of education about connections? I think it is.

Often it is an education blog. That's what I do, after all. That's what all teachers do. We influence.

You thought I was going to say "We teach" didn't you. No. We influence. By influencing, a person can be more of a real teacher than a person who sits behind a desk and spouts knowledge for students to write down in a notebook, or who specializes, sometimes unknowingly, in showing kids all the things they don't know and can't do instead of focusing on what they DO know and Can do and enlarging upon those. Everyone influences for good or for bad, and we are all teachers in that respect. Teachers who are boring are, to their shame, sometimes the most influential of all, for they turn the mind off and don't always show us how to turn it back on.

On Comedy Central, a person has his turn on stage, says his/her piece, gets applause, and exits so another person can have his/her turn. A standup routine might last fifteen minutes. If it's a tour gig, maybe two hours. He/she gets paid whether the audience likes the routine or not. If enough audiences don't like the routine, the standup doesn't get any more gigs until he/she greatly improves the routine. Which is exactly as it should be.

A teacher is on stage all day. A teacher does five, six, seven, even eight routines daily. The audience is sometimes hostile. Standup isn't easy, and it takes stamina. A person without that stamina and that ability to influence for good and that talent for holding a person's interest, is the worst kind of influential. I firmly believe in tenure, but I also firmly believe that if enough consistent tales are passed around about a teacher, then something needs to be done and done quickly.

Most people who have the most power have never been in a classroom on the other side of the desk. Most people who have power don't know anything at all about the audiences we strive to influence. Some of the influencers in charge haven't had a workable sentient thought about who they are influencing and why in YEARS. The only difference they have made is that they have made many things more difficult, many things more unattainable, and many things ridiculous.

And while it is true that many things about young people are silly, they should never be made ridiculous.

(The young people who idolize Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are an exception to the above.)

Teachers don't have very many good things to say about NCLB, and many of them are too frightened of losing their jobs to speak out. Teachers who tended to go the extra mile, to go out of their way to help a kid, to be that person who can be depended on in an undependable world, to take a few risks if it meant helping a child. . . . those teachers don't last long. It's far safer to sit behind a desk all day and spout knowledge so a child can write it down. IF the child can write. Administrators far prefer the knowledge-spouting types, because they have no comprehension of the other kind. Sigh. Oh believe me, I know this to be true.

No Child Left Behind is one of the most negative influences that has come 'round the Blarney Circuit for a long, long time. I'm sure it looked good on paper to some rich old white man somewhere who lives in a gilded cage and hasn't picked up a pencil in fifty years, but to those of us who have dedicated our lives to influencing kids in positive ways, NCLB is nothing but a big unfunny joke that is ruining the lives of students everywhere.

And nobody says it better than this guy. I found this link over at The Endless Faculty Meeting, which is one of the better edblogs out there in the 'sphere.

I swear to you, this article tells it like it is, and how it should be everywhere, far better than any article I've ever read about this subject. Finally, someone has the courage to speak up and tell us right to our faces that SOME CHILDREN SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND. There. I've said it. Some children should be left behind.

Run, don't walk, over to this article. It's one of the best pieces of writing I've read in a long time. A reaaaaaallllly long time.

A really, really long time.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 8:48 PM | |


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