I am a teacher. Because of that, I am always trying to think of how to improve a child’s learning when they go through my classroom. The following questions are ones that I came across in another educator’s blog as hypothetical questions to parents. I’m going to take those questions in this post and try to reason them out in a manner to use on parents and students this next year.
- Do you want your kids to be problem solvers?
- Hahahahahaha!!! How many parents would say no? Only the ones that have masochistic wishes for their children. If a child enters the adult world without problem solving skills, they are going to get run over. Maybe even literally. But really, the critical teeter-totter moment with this question is how many of these kids have those skills and REFUSE to use them? That’s the battle I will be fighting.
- Do you want your kids to be creative, imaginative and curious?
- The answer here should be YES!!! I know we all lose this ability as we grow older. However, teaching what basically amounts as an Intro to Business class, you couldn’t imagine how much I try to get these students to create from their own mind. For years, they have been led down this line where they are told “here is what you have to do.” I’m trying to lead them down a road where all they have to do is stop at some landmarks along the way. I try to give these kids a creative outlet within contained boundaries. (Surprise, surprise. This sounds like the real world.) America was built on this one principle. You have certain things you can and cannot do, but you get to choose the destination of that trip. Unfortunately, many of the kids I have already encountered, whether they know it or not, have chosen their destination to be behind bars. I hate to say it. I don’t want to jinx them, but that is the destination that is reflective of their current choices.
- Do you want your kids to work on their own, to self-direct their own learning?
- This is a principle that should be engrained in everyone. The only way to propel yourself to new heights is to add more fuel to the fire. Sure, these students are learning now (hopefully). But they need to take charge of their learning and not necessarily depend on any one person. It is not because of the teacher that you received a bad grade. It is not because of your family that you didn’t turn in an assignment. The learning will only mean something to you when you have the drive. This carries over into after the school years. Even if a student goes directly into the work force, they only get somewhere as long as they are still learning. Kids that go directly to the military at age 18…they can claim they’re not going to school. However, boot camp is a school. It teaches you the military way of life. After that, you go to technical school to learn the job that you’ve been assigned. There are certain certifications that have to be re-upped every so often in order to maintain your position. Heck, even doctors are being made to take re-certification tests now. What this proves is that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Unfortunately I have had students through my classroom that have made comments to me similar to “That was 5th grade stuff. I don’t remember it anymore.”
- Do you want your kids to learn technology to learn and create?
- I am the #1 class in my school that integrates ALL disciplines, including technology. I provide math, E/LA, social studies, and even science. On top of that, I include technology. My students’ grade level this past year received computers at a 1-to-1 level. I saw some of those students take that and run with it for learning and creating. It was amazing the kinds of things I saw. Most students however took the computer and played with it and some even messed it up. It caused me to be disappointed and even feel sick at times to see how they were abusing a privilege I would have killed for when I was their age. It’s been said that kids know exponentially more about computers than teachers do. Well, I think that trend is reversing. Teachers now know more about computers than students do. Students, however, know more about the internet. This was a learning event for me this past year, because I thought I could play all high and mighty on the technology end. The students showed me what I am up against. My program this next year will include basic IT instruction so students actually understand about the computer itself. Then, the instruction will take a turn towards a student’s electronic footprint left online. We will cover how students are to maintain their online brand in a positive manner. Then we will discuss and participate in ways to incorporate use of online tools in a productive manner. This is going to be new for this district. It is going to force many people to expand their boundaries of thinking about the Internet.
- Do you want your kids to be independent?
- Ok, if you’re a parent and are reading this and you DO NOT want your kids to ever leave the house and pay their own bills, etc., then please leave a comment here. I want to learn about you. Because in reality, parents that love their children want them to leave the house and stay on their own two feet. Even my own parents wanted to see me out. They did accept me back in when there was a bad hiccup in my professional career. It then took me about two-and-a-half years before I had employment that paid me enough to move out again. Once I had that, I got out quickly.
Truly sorry about the rant, I just had to get that out. Now, I know how I am going to attempt to combat these things with the students, but what about the parents? Well, one thing I am going to try and do is get an OK to offer an adult education class one evening a week to the parents of my students that know nothing about computers and would like to learn. Consider it “fanning the flames of the home fire” in another attempt to get these students to be successful.