Rethinking Schools

Although I have been teaching for 12 years I have never had more pep and soul and inpiration as a teacher then after I began having kids. Having kids makes it all come into crystal clear focus. When we started to have kids, my husband and I knew we would be doing most of the educating despite the fact that they would be in public school. We just knew from our own past experiences that a good school on paper does not necessarily mean the child will be inspired.

While in pre-k and learning his letters and numbers, we at home have taught our 5-year-old about things he's really interested in at this point in his life. He knows an amazing amount about geography of the United states from when we flew to California, he knows about counting coins to a dollar because he loves coins. He knows about black holes and meteors because he is obsessed with the Cosmos. In teaching him about the world we have tried to present him with all the awe-inspiring aspects of our amazing little planet. He loves life and all its intricacies, and it has all come from us....

Yes, science, math and reading are important but if they continue to be taught with few connection to their lives at this age. A great example is myself. I attended one of the best private school in NYC and went to a private collage, got all kinds of fancy degrees, yet there are very few moving moments in my education past. I very much remember the lessons where my hands were involved yet the facts that I memorized to get the wonderful grades I got are GONE!!! I had stored all this knowledge in my short term memory. I was a great test taker. I knew what was required of me and I remembered it for that short time.

No doubt he is learning in school, no doubt he will learn his letters and numbers soon. But will the learning be meaningful and retained long term?, or would he treat school like I did; just as something I had to do. My hopes for him would be that he would become inspired by his teachers to want to want to be a lover of investigation and want to know more....to see school as not just a purveyor of facts but as a place where he finds confidence in his own voice. The problem is not the schools, or the teachers, the issue is with the people above them and their priorities. Parents need to get into conversation with the ones who design schools and trust their own ideas and judgement.
I saw this life changing movie called The Principals" a few months back. It showed 2 principals who have done the impossible. They have gone into troubled inner-city schools and lifted the school. I believe this was not from just beating their heads with history facts. It became quite clear that these women were AMAZING and they carried with them so much genuine love for their school and their families. I hope to do that every day when I walk into the classroom. To bring life, and inspiration to a job that does not require that from me.....but if it were led by smarter people it would be......the drive to bring inspiration should be a HUGE part of the job description....

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