Since I choose to primarily home school my children, I often feel reluctant to condemn even a small part of the public school system. However, this year, my youngest daughter has chosen to enter the Public School system for a few class periods a day. Her experience there has been both positive and negative.
An algebra teacher instills a sense of humor and joy in her students as she portraits equations and mathematical problems as fun and exciting to complete. Her energy in class brings a smile to the students. Her enthusiasm for teaching has resolved in many hours of energetic participation on the part of my student at least, who comes home each day chattering away about her class, and asking for help to 'get' a new method of math, that we chose not to study at home. Sets, geometric forms, and systemic orientations will probably not be part of her useful information as she sets about her chosen career of homemaker, but learning about them may instill a sense of curiosity that she never promises.
On the other hand; an English teacher sharing fine literature and writing skills should have an extreme positive affect on my daughter's life. Her example of stilted, demanding instruction, unbending to the students who attempt to take her classes, is deterring my daughter's natural interest in literature. Her abilities are being discouraged. An instructor overwhelmed by the educational demands of political gain, corporate structure, and extreme limits of educational authorities limits her choices. The issue here is not the topic; it's the enthusiasm of the instructor. A teacher should want her students to learn because that is their opportunity to gather information and glow in the process of gathering knowledge. This teacher, at some point was good at her job; I remember hearing other students comment on her abilities. However, she's lost her exuberance for teaching.
CSAP's may have a purpose in our system, but when the purpose our teachers have for teaching is to get a good grade on CSAP's – they've missed the reality. Students need to learn for the sake of learning, because knowledge is a powerful and wonderful tool for living. Encouraging students to learn is a bonus to getting a paycheck. When we forget the purpose of education and begin to teach children for the wrong reasons, we loose ground. Our children suffer.
Copyright © 2005 – Jan Verhoeff