Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Teachers Role?

Forethought: I feel like Doogie Howser for some reason… not in the really smart way, just in the sitting in front of a computer typing out shit that happened way.

I was further confirmed in my doubt in wanting to have children when I learned that our Chancellor of schools resigned, and the woman who took his place not only has no experience working in or with schools, but has never been to a public school (nor have her children).

I am trying to picture a school system in which teachers are mandated to do things in the class based not on what is actually best for students, but rather based on what some business oriented calculating machine has determined will best serve the numbers they have to present to some government agency so that they can get more money and buy more glitzy stuff for a school that doesn’t need anything but well trained and caring teachers. I am quite certain that a school does not need HD cameras, I am equally certain that it needs a teacher who will carefully plan a lesson in such a way so as to maximize comprehension and retention of the material presented so that students may go forth with the ability to think and apply this skill to whatever field they choose to pursue. A school does not need flat screen TV’s, however it does need up to date history and science books, modern laboratories, art and music class, and English teachers who understand good grammar and inspire children to read great stories, not just those that are instantly relatable and ultimately worthless.

Our greatest statement of disrespect to ourselves and our world is the state of our public schools – particularly those in NYC.


  1. Although you are correct in saying that Public Schools do not need HD televisions and cameras but up-to-date school material and inspiring teachers, the ranting and raving will not accomplish anything. We are living in a technology driven and obsessed world.
    Take an average youth, and put him or her in a room without any electronics and they will surely be bored to tears.
    Don't you find yourself struggling to keep up with their attention span and interests because of the "need" for electronic devices in their normal everyday life?
    Its inevitable. This is the world we live in. These are the "children of the future".
    I agree with your closing statement.
    Maybe band together all the teachers who actually give a shit about education and find someone who is strong enough and has the knowledge to balance things as well as fix our Public School system. I know, easier said than done. And who knows? Maybe Bloomberg's minion might be the one to start shaping things up.
    Project idea: discuss with students the way the world changed with the new technology. Discuss what life would be like without HD, Blackberries, ipods, ect. You will most likely get answers such as "I don't know what I would do!" or "Boring!".
    Debate about how frustrating it really would be if someone had to wait an extra minute, hour or week for a response. Maybe it can be a lesson on patience, or how to survive if (gasp!) all electronics would cease to work.
    With a generation that is constantly involved in the latest gadget and movies about death and everlasting life (zombies/vampires) it can be an interesting way to teach simple learning and survival skills. "What would you do Chris, if one day you woke up, and you don't hear the TV going in the other room. You look at your Droid and it's not working. It won't charge. You call for your mom and dad, no reply. You look out the window and the neighborhood that is normally busy with morning rush hour is dead silent. What would you do?"
    "Kim, you woke up with a rare condition in which your body depletes energy from battery powered electronic devices you touch. How would you get in touch with friends or family?"
    Challenge them. Dare them to turn their phones off for a whole 24 hours or more. They are not parents (hopefully) or have a job where they may be needed immediately.
    Obviously, we as humans evolve with inventing; fire, wheel, railroads, ice box, telephone, light bulb...but are the current inventions really helping us or is it just extravagance?
    So yes, Public Schools are doomed if the arts are being replaced with High Def TV, but if we utilize the devises in teaching real life lessons, then win-win.

  2. Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you for the great thoughts!
    I am guessing you are a teacher and have tried the aforementioned experiments? If not, then perhaps I will in your stead!
    Technological fluency is of the utmost importance - only a fool would argue with that, however, as in one of your scenarios, if the world were to experience an EMP of such proportions as to disable all of our technology (which is possible considering the magnitude of some celestial activities), people would have to then be capable of adaptation and critical thought, which is not a focus in our schools - though lip service is oft paid to it.

    Either way, thank you for your engagement and contribution to what I hope to be a larger discussion, and thank you again for your ideas!

    -Mr. T

  3. i'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this: