Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ah, The Forum Again.

I don't think I've ever had students I've enjoyed as much as I'm enjoying this 'batch." Five classes, and so far, so good. In fact, so far, so GREAT.

Here's the thing with many of my students, the younger ones, I mean (under 35): when they were in elementary, and secondary (although not as much) they had teachers who were loving and kind and understanding and never assigned homework and really didn't force their fragile-egoed little students to do much of anything except sing and draw and scamper and play. Their classrooms were full of hugs and positive assertations and read-alouds about the holiday traditions of everycultureunderthesunexceptours, which is, as I understand it, the primary focus of education in America today. . . . They could put their names on their papers, or not, it really didn't matter. They could fill out a worksheet, or not. It was being given the CHOICE that was the important thing. Everyone was equally special. Everyone was equally gifted. Everyone was equally deserving of privileges.

Most of them washed out in high school. Most of my students got a GED, in fact, years later. I do have a handful of students with a high school diploma, although I'm wondering what it stands for as they are my lowest achievers.

So far, most of them are turning in their assignments. If this changes, I'll be sure to let you all know.

Oh, and in case you are curious as to what these students think of those smiling kind-hearted teachers down in lower elementary who never made a sweet little child do things if he didn't WANT to. . . . . they hate their guts.

"Why didn't she make me do the math sheets? I'm 32 years old and I don't even know my multiplication tables. "

"I wish she'd shown me how to label and organize my stuff. I still can't do it. I got into bad habits in fourth grade and it was just too easy to let them get worse. Nobody made me do it. Nobody MADE ME. Now, I can't make myself do it."

"Miss ______ told Mom not to force me to read because it might make me hate it. Hell, if somebody had forced me to read, maybe I could read better than a little kid NOW."

"This one recess, I'd been so bad in class, the teacher told me to go stand by the flagpole and watch the other kids play. I was so pissed, I took out my pocketknife and cut the rope and the flag fell. When the teacher yelled at me for tearing it up, another teacher reported her for being cruel to me and she was out for two weeks. When she came back, it was like I wasn't even there. I don't blame her. She was nice. I was an idiot, a little third-grade punk, and I deserved to miss my recess. I didn't realize that for fifteen years, but I realize it now. I'm sorry, Miss _________."

"If somebody had made me responsible for turning in my homework in fourth grade, maybe I'd have better work habits now. I've had sixteen jobs and I'm 35 years old, and her letting us all slide through taught me habits I still can't shake."

There were few expectations, no consequences, and nobody was better than anybody else. It was all about FEELINGS.

Bullshit Mahoney.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:01 PM | |


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