Day 3 (3/25/19)
I started my first teaching job in 1981. Since that time I
have taught at many levels and under many circumstances. Over the next year I
would like to reflect on some of the things that have changed in education and
some of the things that have remained the same. This is not a doctoral thesis,
by any means, but the ponderings of a dinosaur.
I did not go to Kindergarten.
It was available but for whatever reason our mother decided not to send us so I
was six when I started first grade. I sometimes wonder if we are doing the
right thing by starting children in school so early. My grandson will be six
this summer and already has two years under his belt, although one of those was
only half days. I realize the economic reality of sending to children to school
so early but wonder if it is best for their development. My brother and I spent
our days building forts in the woods and pretending we were the latest TV
characters or even the neighbor boys Richard and David, who were in High School
and had horses. They were pretty much the coolest people we knew. When we were
older we were Brains Benton and converted our woodshed into a crime lab. Now
days it seems like even playtime is structured. I follow a Facebook page called
“Play based Art” which is great but what about play based play. Play has become
athletics and yet another structured activity. We seem to be in such a hurry to
rush our children into the future. Currently there is a big push in schools to
offer more and more college classes. In some cases students have many of their first year of college
general studies done before graduating from High School. Again what is our big
hurry? Many of the skills I learned for life came from my elective classes. Now,
with all the required classes and Advanced Placement classes there is little
room for electives. In many cases the elective classes that are available are
so focused on specific technologies that they do little to teach the basics.
Although we have children who are prepared for college, few are prepared for
life. It doesn’t take a PhD to see that many of our students lack valuable everyday
coping skills. As I said in the beginning I don’t have all the answers. If I
did I wouldn’t be in the classroom, I would be inventing acronyms, writing
books, collecting data and making all sorts of money. These are just the
ruminations of dinosaur.