Life is pretty easy for kids these days.
Over the past week or so, I’ve seen quite a few articles on Yahoo.ca regarding students, schools, and teachers. I suppose, this being the end of the school year, these types of articles are emerging. In the past, recent and bygone, many of these issues wouldn’t be as notable as they are now. With the Internet comes information sharing.
The other day was a speech given by David McCullough where he basically hit the message home to the graduating class, that they and about 3,000,000 other students across America, are not special. This garnered a lot of hits on Youtube, made it into the national and international media, because he was stating the obvious.
Mr. Mike Tachynski, a teacher in Edmonton, now seems be under fire for giving students zero’s on their assignments/report cards. My opinion, as one educator to another, GOOD!
Let’s go back a few years. We’ve all heard and maybe had the ‘pleasure’ of being introduced to the strap. If you were extremely naughty in school, the teacher would send you to the office where, if it was deemed necessary, the strap was administered to you.
Well, over time, that notion has been abolished. Then there was detention. You disrupted class, or didn’t complete your homework, then detention was the punishment. You were required to stay after school hours, sitting in a classroom in silence, completing your homework assignments.
At one time, if you didn’t get at least a “C” average in school, then you were required to either take summer classes or be held back and repeating the grade you failed. That has been abolished.
I know that as a kid, for the most part, I hated school. Yes, there were a couple of subjects I really enjoyed, but I didn’t see the point of having to go to school. When you look back in history, it is well-documented that education was for the select few. Only those that could afford to pay the school, could send their children to school. Even that had drawbacks, with women not being allowed to enjoy the benefits of education.
As time went on, laws were changed, people became people and not property, and education was now available to everyone, not JUST the select few. We as citizens, pay our taxes, and some of those funds are routed to the education system, to allow everyone, every child, a basic education – the three R’s (so-to-speak).
Although I’m a product of education in the 70’s and 80’s, my parents always had an eye on what we were doing for homework. Now, perhaps they may not have completely understood some of my homework, but knowing that I had homework to do, and not being allowed to watch T.V., play with my toys, go outside with my friends, etc., until after my homework was completed, gave me the impetus to do my homework.
Now, I wasn’t the best student in class. Yes, I did excel in some subjects, and faltered in others. However, even the idea of getting a “C” or less on a report card, was met with anger from my parents.
In some instances, over the years, if students did really well in class, then they were allowed the opportunity to advance a grade – skip a grade, if you will. In other cases, students were encouraged to attend an alternate school for ‘enrichment’ classes. These classes, apparently, kept students of same age level together, but challenged them more with their learning and education. As I was neither afforded these opportunities, I do know several people, some personally, who were given these opportunities.
Move ahead a few more years, and it was argued that, students should not be held back in grades, or forced to do summer classes. This hindered their well-being, their sense of worth, or whatever the hell argument people made, and eventually, these forms of punishment (?) were abolished. Even here in Taiwan, students are advanced in grade levels based on their age – not their level of learning. Therefore, what ends up happening is, students who are more knowledgeable are stuck in a class with students who are less knowledgeable. The teacher is forced to find a medium ground to satisfy everyone.
The education system, coincidentally legislated by the government (whether it be state, province, or federal), and all schools are legislated and required to teach according to the levels set out by the governments. Teachers are instructed by their principals, to assign homework, to assign projects, to administer tests and exams, to be available for students who require and want extra help.
However, more and more, parents see the ‘suffering’ their little child has to endure by going to class, doing homework, basically, getting an education. We watch programs on T.V. and take by inference, that there are those who gain an education simply by how much money their parents put into the school. Your parents donate money or time or resources to the school, suddenly, their children are the ones getting the “A’s”. The parents who are able to provide this kind of support to the school, their kids are frowned upon.
No, when I was kids, I didn’t like the idea of having to do homework, or projects, or tests. I can’t honestly imagine that anyone truly enjoys doing these things. As we get older, and it sinks into our gray matter that we need to do these things in order to succeed in life, then it makes sense. But until that realization occurs, mommy and daddy will see us cry and in turn, mommy and daddy blast the educators for simply doing their job.
When I see a teacher like Mr. Tachynski having to defend his position, again, for simply doing his job, it pisses me off! Let me tell you one little story of mine. A few years ago, there was one student who never came to my class. Never. During the whole school year, two or three semesters (I’m not sure how this Taiwan education system works), did this student ever come to class. My attendance sheets always had an “X” indicating this student was a no show. I asked several times of my manager, who this student was, and why this student wasn’t in my class. All I was told to do, was mark who was ACTUALLY in class, and not to mark who was NOT in class.
To me, there was something a bit fishy about that. However, I continued marking the “X” beside this student’s name. During the year, I had testing to complete. I recorded all my students marks on my computer, grading all their papers, etc., etc.
On the last class of the year, at about 5 minutes to class end, this kid walked into my class, no acknowledgement to me as the teacher, starts chatting to the students, ignoring me, finds an empty desk, and plunks his butt into it. After a bit of questioning to other students, and once the giggling and laughing settled down, I was informed that this was the student whom I had been giving “X” and “zero” to over the school year.
Well, I did submit, and at least gave this student a check for at least showing up for one class. Once the calculations on my computer were complete, and the marks and notes printed out, this student, for only having been in one class for about 5 minutes, never having done any work, no homework, no testing – nothing, was given a 0.4%.
My manager flipped out. I was berated in front of other teachers, and the other staff in the teachers office, and with student walking in and out, that it was improper for me to assign this mark to a student. I tried, in vain, to explain what had occurred over the school year.
How could I possibly give this student any kind of mark, when there were others who actually DID do work, and DID attend class. My manager wouldn’t listen to my reasonings. I found out the following day, this student was given a 97% for my class, because my manager felt sorry for the student! Are you kidding me??
This kid, is going to go on in life, thinking that by showing a couple of tears, and crying, and complaining to mommy and daddy, that others will bend down and give them what they want.
What will happen in a few years, when this student needs to use the English language, and is unable to do so? The parents will blast the school for not educating their little darling. They will blast the school for their little one’s stupidity. They will blast the school for not teaching their little golden egg, the information needed to succeed in higher education. All the while, this little spoiled brat, will continue to move on, as dumb and uneducated as bucket of mud.
The sad thing is, this ‘wunderkind’ will probably end up being the president of Taiwan or flipping hamburgers at a fast-food joint!
That’s it, that’s all… for now!