A post from Wes Freyer got me anxious again… He made me think about something that I am trying so hard to NOT think about: The education my own children are receiving in our public schools and the teaching methods some of their teachers use to “cover” content.
After one year of teaching in a public school, I have a small glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors. I have now been teaching at a private school for 4 years. My three daughters go to three different Public Schools in the district where we live.
Wes Freyer writes about his frustration with the education of his own children, which I understand only too well.
Today, in our parent conferences, I asked my daughter’s teacher if there were opportunities for her class to work on extended projects, projects that in the end would have a purpose beyond the grade and the classroom. Projects that, to quote Marco again, would “have wings.” The response I got was this: with all of the objectives that must be met for the state tests coming up in the spring, there just isn’t time for it. When I asked my son’s teacher whether she had read his blog, her answer was that blogs were blocked at school and so, no, she hadn’t.
Darren Kuropatwa on his blog A Difference was frustrated with the attitude of his childrens’ teachers as well:
My own children are sitting in classes that are not making these global connections. I’d like to help those teachers join the conversation but I can’t; we teach in the same school division … they don’t seem to want my help. The offer is intimidating and creates barriers I would like to avoid. Sure, my kids (and my nieces) have blogs. They know dad is connected globally. They hear me get excited about their projects and the dynamic tools they could use to make powerful artifacts. “But that’s not what the teacher wants” they say. K12 Online is a beginning … there’s still a long way to go to get my own children educated.
I commented on his post about my own frustrations.
I feel exactly the same way as a teacher and parent of three daughters (1 in Middle School and 2 in High School). I went to three different open houses, sat through almost 15 different teachers and was impressed with 1 (!!!). That one teacher talked about her passion for her subject and how she planned on passing that on to our children. You could see her eyes sparkle when she talked about her classes. ALL the others had nothing else to say, but how they tested, what they behavioral rules were and what the students could expect as a consequence if they broke those rules. They talked for 5-7 minutes about “houskeeping” items, such as where the basket was to turn in late work etc. Most of the time they ran out of things to say. I increasingly grew frustrated and the same words that you used to describe your feelings “Who will teach my children the real sense of learning?”. I am working so hard to open the world and learning up to my own students, but my own children are being left behind with short sighted, over-worked, lost their direction, non- passionate kind of teachers.
After all three open houses were over, I sat down with my three girls and expressed to the my concerns. I told them that their job was to go to school and “hand in” what each teacher expected of them so they could get the grade, the credits, the diploma. The real learning would have to be up to them though and I would do anything possible at home to support them, by making sure that I shared the things that I am passionate about with them. We also sacrifice a lot, compared to some of their friends who seem to go to Disney World every other week and buy homecoming dresses worth hundreds of dollars. All so I am able to take my children to visit friends and family around the world during the summer months. Priorities for us is to make sure they see other cultures and experience real learning.