That’s what this day has been like, so far.
We’re in the last month of school, and the kids are interested in anything and everything but school. So substituting for an English teacher who’s in the middle of reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” was not fun. The not fun part was watching the kids blow this classic off.
Of course, it didn’t help that the teacher has the kids listen to it on CD while following along in their books. Yeah – like that was happening today. Even the most diligent students’ minds were wandering.
I had Second Son in 6th hour, and he, at least, didn’t act up and talk the whole way through class. But he wasn’t listening or reading, either. To him, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is just a stupid book he has to muddle through to get a passing grade. He told me just now, “I’ll just watch the movie and take the test.”
My frustration with public education knows no bounds today.
Wow does this post ever hit home — from the viewpoint of someone for whom the “public” school system never really worked, and also from the viewpoint of the few years I really tried to make learning fun for students when I was teaching high school (but the school system didn’t seem to see it that way. . . )
The frustration is truly boundless — unless we-the-people make our voices heard and get the powers-that-be to change gears and do things that really make sense.
So long as the system is set up to produce compliant workers rather than independent thinkers and entrepreneurs, we-the-people will continue to struggle against everything that doesn’t make sense or no longer works.
And IMHO, that’s not possible unless and until we have a system that respects kids’ in the following ways:
— teaches to their individual learning styles (not everyone learns through seeing or hearing)
— feeding their true gifts and strengths
— teaching them to think, create, and go for their dreams and aspirations in life — and to prepare them to succeed on their own terms
— making the learning process fun and challenging
Why not put energy into creating things that WILL??? (That is, if any of us have any energy left after all that struggle, LOL.)
Just my 2 cents on the topic today. It really hits a nerve with me!
And ya know what? All of this is so doable. It really is. It just takes enough of us to demand it. I really believe this.
Kids these days have a hard time paying attention in school with all the awesome new media that clogs their brains. It’s amazing to me that classics like “To Kill A Mocking Bird” get pushed aside by today’s children as just another book they have to read.
When I was a kid this book opened my eyes to a new world. It brought me places I’d never been. It sounds like the kids in your classroom didn’t have this type of experience. Saddening experience for sure!
Nancy – I believe it’s possible, too, which is why (when I can get away with it) I interject my own lesson plans. When I’ve done this, I’ve had kids tell me they really enjoyed the class and wish I was their regular teacher. Gratifying, for sure, but drives home the point for me that I’ll happily stay a substitute because I can get away with that a day at a time. I don’t think I’d last long as a regular teacher…I’d probably get fired…LOL
Mike – I agree with you – books have been extremely influential in my life, too. I was thinking yesterday as I was writing this post, that had I “translated” the storyline into rap, they’d have “gotten it”.
Suzanne, I challenge you to go for that rap idea — but work it out so that the kids are using the story to create the rap, That will involve them deeper 🙂 And who cares if it’s only for one day — the seed thus planted will refuse to be rooted up, LOL.
Nancy – I’m back in a freshman English class again today. If they, too, are reading TKM, I’ll do just that! It’ll be fun!