Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Elementary School Teachers

A completely haphazard memory came to me this morning. I distinctly recall being repeatedly reprimanded as a child by my elementary school teachers for the same offense. Anyone who knows me can probably guess what that was.

I talked to much during class.

Even to this day I'm not quite sure why this was such a crime. I was undoubtedly bored out of my mind by the banal teachings in class. Additionally, the oratory and socialization skills I was developing have been FAR more valuable to me than any possible lesson about... to tell you the truth, I don't even remember what sort of crap they were trying to teach me in elementary school because I was too busy trying to talk to my friends during class! Interestingly enough, by the time I reached graduate school, these very traits I was chastised for became the basis for academic success.

Seems to me that there's a serious disconnect in our primary education system. The students just want to be engaged and the teachers just want to get through the day. Unfortunately, most students probably find playing and goofing off to be more engaging than the teachers' lesson plans.

For that matter, aside from indoctrination, why do school mandate certain works as "required" reading? Why is Shakespeare so important? Heck, it's not even written in modern English! If a kid wants to read Black Hawk Down or Moneyball (two of my favorite books) instead, why not let him or her? I'd argue that those two books are more relevant to today's world than some story about some murdering playboy and his little hoochie mamma (Romeo and Juliette).

That it, I'm home-schooling my children.

Your thesis is good but your examples are terrible. School is supposed to accomplish a few things. Chiefly, learning how to think and exposing you to the world. I'm not saying they do either very well but those are a couple of the objectives. Kids can read what they want on their own time. There are certain books, stories, lessons, etc that help form a foundation or a framework for how to think. As a child it's not always obvious what those are and the teacher, if they're doing their job, should explain why what they're reading is more important than Moneyball. (And the reason you liked Moneyball, by the way, is your SCHOOLING in statistics.)
I don't know if you have noticed the same thing I have-home schooled people often turn out to be social elephants. Elementary school is not all about the banal lessons the teacher is attempting to teach. You my friend, are the perfect example. I am surprised you do not recognize now how valuable your seemingly intolerable elementary public education really was in your development. I advise you not to try to home school your children unless you invest a butt load of time in becoming a good teacher.
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