Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the trouble with education...

is every child is different. There is no right way or wrong way when it gets down to it, because every situation differs and no day is ever the same. All the theory in the world doesn't make up for good old instinct and the ability to read each child in the situation. And because of that we're never really sure (or at least I'm never really sure) if what we're doing is right or not.

Sometimes it would be nice to have a formula. If you do a, b, c and then multiply times d you'll equal the perfect lesson. The kiddo will learn AND will sit still and listen to you. If you're lazy you can skip c but then he'll only learn some of your lesson.

It doesn't work this way. You can do everything by the book and still have the kids fall apart. Your lesson can look perfect and the kids can learn nothing. Your lesson can look like a disaster but actually be successful. And sometimes there is no way to know how it's going to turn out.

When you do the 'right' thing, how do you know? Most of the time there is no one there saying, 'wow, that was great'. We get credit for when things look good on the outside, or when test scores are high. The rest of the time you ask yourself, 'if this looks ridiculous but gets results, is it worth it?'

How do you prevent a tantrum? Make a kid pee in the toilet and not the floor? We all have techniques for these and most of us can give advice like we're Dr. Phil, but it doesn't always apply to every child every time even though we act like it should.

Do we need perfection? What would perfection in the classroom look like? When is it ok to say, 'you know what, that was far from perfect, but that is ok'?


Suzanne G. said...

*hugs*, Oh my Dear One, I understand what you're saying. As I read your post I was reminded of a parable from the bible. The one about seed falling on different types of ground. One seed fell between rocks and was strangled and cramped, one fell on a footpath and the soil was so compacted that it couldn't root, and another fell on soft, fertile ground.

Programs like school breakfast, child protective services, after school enrichment, etc. are all designed to make that "ground" more fertile. The fact remains that most of a child's life is NOT spent at school. Their educational "soil" is cultivated mostly at home. This is as it should be, or we'd be institutionalizing children. Controlling every little part of their lives isn't the answer.

Frustration in our profession can take many forms. One that I'm sensing about you is that a student may grasp a more difficult concept, but all the little ones which lead to it are not understood. This may lead to an impressive result short-term, but disaster later on.

We need to address the needs of children as a society. Until we make families and children a priority, this will not happen. Our laws, our priorities, and our money don't say that we (Americans) value children and education. Lip service is NOT enough.

I'll keep you and your little ones in my prayers. Please keep me in yours as I'm facing my first September in about a decade out of the company of children.

organized chaos said...

Thank you! I love that parable. What a great reference. And I agree with you on the needs of the families and children. I can tell we are on the same page on education laws...