[Original date posted: 11/16/2011]
I had hoped today would bring a fresh, new outlook and new ideas to plow ahead in my academic endeavors. But to no avail. I started working on my readings for class this week and just became overwhelmed all over again.
Here’s what’s in my head right now:
I understand that kids have been taught poorly for the past 10-20 years (on the whole and with millions of exceptions but I am speaking specifically to test-driven curriculum and rigid scripted lessons that teachers are mandated to use) and we are now seeing the effects of that in our daily lives. Yes I do believe teachers can make a tremendous difference in this. We can use culturally relevant pedagogy, we can encourage (even insist on) critical thinking and critical reading, we can utilize all the layers of multicultural education, we can teach children to be active and engaged citizens and we can have fully inclusive classrooms. But what’s the point?
What I mean is, I keep hearing about teachers and administrators doing what they have been taught is the CORRECT way to teach or to run a school and what happens? Best case scenario: they get reprimanded by administrators. Worst case scenario: they get fired. I just read about a principal who is suspended and possibly fired because he refused to utilize the high-stakes testing that research has PROVEN is a totally inaccurate way to assess students when it is taken as a number on its own and not in context or with other data. I also just read about a teacher who was suspended for showing Daily Show clips to a classroom.
Of course there’s two sides to every story and I know nothing is as simple as right and wrong. But I can’t help but wonder, “what’s the point of learning theses amazing techniques of teaching children when in many cases I will not be allowed to use those strategies without getting in trouble?”
Again, my apologies for the negativity. I’m imagining this is an important part of my development as a teacher. I am NOT giving up, I would never want to convey that message. I am merely sharing my intense frustration over the overwhelming challenges I will be facing.