My comments below relate to these 3 pieces. I strongly encourage you to read them:
“A veteran teacher turned coach shadows 2 students for 2 days – a sobering lesson learned”, Friday, 10 Oct 2014, Posted in Feedback & Formative Assessment, General, Research, Teaching
“A PS to the guest post on shadowing HS students (and the author revealed),” Sunday, 19 Oct 2014, Posted in General ≈ 45 Comments
I consider myself a strong advocate of well-funded, effective education. These days, it seems we’re mostly 0-for-2.
As with many commenters, my interest is personal. Most of the points made in Alexis’s blog post resonate strongly with me.
I am 63, and was in schools during split-sessions and classes of 40+ kids. There were sometimes not enough desks and chairs, and some kids might be sitting on the book cabinets in the back of the room.
Some of my teachers were wonderful and mean a lot to me to this day, but the blog post’s references to teachers’ sarcasm, eye-rolling, impatience, and droning ‘down-loading’ of information were more the rule than the exception. I did not respond well.
I have a high IQ (typically scoring in the top .25 to 2%) and skipped 8th grade, but was always a lousy student in school with the exception of about 4 years, when my father made a personal effort to help me study for tests.
I never learned good personal (i.e., solo) study habits. I could never seem to get all the notes written down before the teacher erased them, and when I got to college where you had to figure out on your own what notes to take, I was hopeless. I always had to choose between listening to the teacher or taking down the written notes, but I couldn’t do both. Either I wrote notes and missed what the teacher was saying, or listened to what the teacher was saying and relied on retention, but took poor notes. (Which made effective studying of the material at a later time almost pointless.)
I was always physically restless, though I have no reason to believe I am or was hyperactive. (Probably ADD, though.) To this day, I find airline seats (or any seat where I’m unable to move for more than a few minutes) to be torture.
I tend to identify with the people on “Jeopardy!” who are cab drivers or postal workers, yet are obviously remarkably bright and well-read. I consider those folks to be wasted national resources whom the educational system has failed, much like I consider myself.
For the reasons above and more, I took this piece by Alexis Wiggins very much to heart.
I hope more people read these articles — parents, teachers, administrators, students(!) — and think really hard about what they’re saying. Then act: Be the change.