Chris Rock: "You're not suposed to go to jail! What do you want, a cookie?!"
I'm stepping up. I wanna teach.
Help out by checking my resume (posted here on LJ today) and making a suggestion to help it be better.
I think you got good advise. Just try to hold onto your integrity!
I was about to respond to Ferrett's post, but you have done a far better job of expressing my thoughts than I could. Thank you!
It was rattling around in my brain most of the day [g].
One of the reasons I got out of teaching was because I had no support from the parents OR the staff. If a student did not turn in any of the homework, scored badly on the tests, and didn't even bother to stop in before or after school for help I failed them. The parents (usually the ones who didn't show up for parent conferences) would call in and complain and the grades would be changed without them even letting me know. Lovely!
There have to be winners and there have to be losers. Else why bother trying?
The "everybody's a winner" scenario is SO flawed. The kids hate it, too.
As to your teaching story, I'm working up from the bottom, so my acendote o' horrow is down here
. It's just sad.
2004-04-29 09:28 pm (UTC)
I have nothing to add, but thought that this was so well written that I should comment if just to say thank you. I'm fairly new to reading your journal, but entries like this ensure that I'll stick around quite a while.
Like prophesies fulfilled, isn't it? Expectations usually are met, no matter how high or how low we set them for people.
It's very true. And of expectations we set for ourselves.
Ooooh, excellent point!
My husband told me a story recently about a nearby university. They had one particular class with a very high failure rate. The university thought, we must be doing something wrong, and changed the class so that only half the amount of material was covered. The current class scored immediately better - but the one that followed again had a very high failure rate. So again, they cut the amount of material covered in half, and again the same thing happened - the current class did better, the next had a huge failure rate. So the university shrugged and went back to the original curriculum, figuring that if people were going to fail anyway, they should at least learn more while they were at it.
Counterarguments (unique individuals) don't necessarily mean that there is nothing to worry about with the situation at hand - but it does at least mean that there is a way to overcome the problem, whatever it is.
To take theferrett
's example of a single mother - he's probably right in that it is more likely to succeed as a parent in the average situation if you have a two-parent family. But counterarguments are useful, too, because they mean that someone in a less than ideal situation still has hope of being able to succeed with hard work.
To take theferrett's example of a single mother - he's probably right in that it is more likely to succeed as a parent in the average situation if you have a two-parent family. But counterarguments are useful, too, because they mean that someone in a less than ideal situation still has hope of being able to succeed with hard work.
That's a really good point, too. I think by labeling the counterarguments as "unique individuals," he's made them seem a lot more rare than they really are.
I've grown up surrounded by it my entire life. The amount of coddling that people go through and the amount of artificial lies and false self esteem people get is amazing.
College has only made it worse, failing something is almost a trial where you have to provide evidence and back up your claims, teachers are emasculated and they wonder why the education system here is so poor.
Grade inflation is rampant because gosh darn it we are ALL winners. It is not as bad in the engineering school where I am, but some of my humanity classes were a little bit below pathetic. People who never attended classes and never opened the book were able to get B's easy. I don't think it was possible to fail.
I understand the need not to revert to the whole thrive or die mentality that had us leaving people totally behind and rejected, but this has gone too far.
I'm graduating in May with a master's and two bachelor's, all hard science degrees, I transfered 54 AP and college credits from high school, in the word's of our dear president, "I have brought it".
I actually think college is a LOT better than high school. There's less of a tendency to just pass people because you don't want to have to see them again next year in the teacher's. There's a lot less busywork. I find it more challenging than high school.
But then again... I'm in the honors program and take the honors version of all my courses if I can. It's more difficult, and you're surrounded by people who actually want to learn...so maybe I don't count. I just think of college as a vast improvement to high school.
2004-04-29 10:05 pm (UTC)
Personal vs. social
That's a great perspective to take in interpersonal dealings; it is, to some degree, how I relate to other people. I have high standards for myself, and tend to project those toward others, although I try always to be mindful that my yardsticks are just that-- my own. But to demand that everyone excel is a terrible basis for social policy, which I think was Ferrett's point.
Also, to call yourself "not particularly special" may be wildly inaccurate. You may indeed be highly special, unique, whatever, and just not see yourself that way, for whatever reason. I often think that I'm nothing out of the ordinary, either. In my more objective moods, I know that's wrong. I am in fact extraordinary in many ways, not least of which is basic luck, which is much, much bigger factor in our lives than we generally care to admit. My success in life has been the result of hard work, but also of very good luck. There are other who have worked as hard or harder and, thanks to bad luck, not done nearly as well. They're part of that big bell-curve hump Ferrett was talking about.
We absolutely need to challenge each other to excel. That doesn't mean that we should engineer our society and its programs around the assumption that anyone who doesn't excel isn't worth helping. The unnique individual is not an annoying abberation, but he or she is, statistically, an aberration.
2004-04-30 02:54 am (UTC)
Re: Personal vs. social
To NOT demand that people excel is a worse social policy. I'm not saying that everyone should be expected to be Einstein, just that they should be expected to give their best effort, act with integrity, and not give into excuse-making.
There will always be a bell curve, no doubt. We just keep lowering the middle of the hump so that a "C" ablity is now somewhere closer to 30%, rather than 65%. That doesn't serve anyone well.
Ooh, I love this.. You make a VERY good point.
My boyfriend and I were just speaking of that today when I was complaining about the "No Child Left Behind" stuff. and how by slowing the stuff down so a brick could pass high school isn't going to solve anything, it's going to make people lazier and turn out some VERY poorly educated people.
Sad, but true. College is the equivalent of high school now, and by then there is no way you can teach a person the fundamentals of writing.
"The unique individual should not be regarded as the irritating abberation in our worldview of How Things Are. They should be regarded as what we expect. Because to make excuses for anything less is to doom the next generation to an even lower standard."
Exactly my 13 year old son was arrested today for being involved with some thefts of garden ornaments from a garden where someone had just moved out and they thought the garden was empty.
I made it very clear to my son that I expected better from him and that even had the house still been empty the garden ornaments would have belonged to either the buyer or the seller of the house.
It shocked me that the police officer said it was very rare that they got parents like me who actually cared and was prepared to clearly say "this is wrong".
As it was he didn't actually take any but he had been prepared to and that to me is just as bad.
It's vital to say that. I remember watching Phil Donahue back when there was a rash of murders of tourists in Florida. (I was a nursing mother at the time, I have an excuse for watching Donahue!) His guests were the mothers of two kids who'd killed a guy as he was driving down the highway. The mother of the boy who had been driving told Phil that when her son came home and told her what had happened she had told him that he had to turn himself in, that he owed a debt to society, that they'd cried and prayed that night and in the morning she drove him to the police station. Then Phil turned to the mother of the girl who had actually pulled the trigger.
She pulled herself upright in indignation. "She told him to pull over!"
Like that excused shooting a man in the head, having his brains spatter all over his wife, who was badly injured in the ensuing wreck. What could she do, if he wasn't willing to be robbed? It was clearly the rotten old bastards own fault.
Jail the girl for life. Fuckin' execute the mother.
Oh thank you. You've managed to cover the points I couldn't quite put my finger on, and that I couldn't phrase anywhere near as elegantly as you did.
As a side note, about expectations, one example I've seen is what passes as a reading level for a particular grade, and how the level of complexity seems to keep dropping as the years pass. All the stuff that used to be assigned to kids to read is being phased out because it's becoming too challenging. Hell, I don't even know if kids are being assigned books to read at all anymore. I remember reading "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye" in my 9th grade English class. My 9th grade STANDARD English class (not Honors). I wonder if these books are even being taught at all in High School anymore. I'm finally getting around to reading literature that used to be standard classroom fare (ie F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Bronte sisters). Although, to be honest, I'm enjoying just reading the story and not having it analyzed to death.
I had something more to say about the link between personal responsibility and being challenged by education, but I can't quite figure out how to word it. And how personal responsibility seems to be, in a lot of ways, disappearing. Ever read Jack Williamson's books about the Humanoids? It's ever so much more relevant nowadays than it was in the 60's.
The reading thing scares the crap out of me. Kids who don't read extensively never learn to write. I'm all for fun reading, but please, let's pick up some challenges! I still feel like I'm catching up from a sub-par english lit program, and I used to read the Brontes and such just for fun.
My parents expected a hell of a lot - and they got it. I'm glad they did, too.
Some parents do a bad job of it, providing no reward and scarring kids. Others do great. Tell yours I have drunk a toast to them!
Not at all! Post, link, sing it! [g]