Welcome October

I knew it had been a while since I had blogged, but hadn’t realized that it was nearly two months.  There have been two reasons for this:

The first has been a general lack of time.  When one’s schedule involves getting up at 5:40, driving a 1/2 hour to school, teaching and sitting in meetings all day, photocopying and tutoring after school, driving another 1/2 hour home, then writing lesson plans for most of the evening and going to bed so that you get hopefully 7+ hours of sleep, there’s not too much time left in the day to blog.

The second reason is that, had a blogged, most of my blogs would have been ineffective and unproductive rants about the quality of the educational system, it’s shortcomings, and it’s inherent ineffectiveness.  Cyberworld just doesn’t need more of those, since they’re already out there.

Monday starts October.  Since moving to the South, I’ve begun accumulating more “American” points.  On Thursday I went to the county fair, in which I pet a giraffe, a zebra, a water buffalo, a llama, jumped on a giant trampoline, rode a ferris wheel, and did other American fair-ish things.  Next Friday I’ll go to a corn maze.  I’ve driven by corn and cotton fields, gotten stuck behind slow-moving vehicles, and other things.

I’m also immensely enjoying the local coffee shop.  I’m currently sitting by the window and eves dropping on the conversation of three relatively recent college grads/soon to be college grads/grad students.  Their initial conversation went something like this:

Girl: “So was it worth it?  Four years of college to study peanuts?”
Guy: *pause*…”Yeah.  I mean, I see this job as a means to an end.”
Girl: “What end?”
Guy: “Until I have the skills that I need to take over the world.”

I’m not sure what possessed the recent/soon to be college grads to come out to the inner banks for the day.  Seeing as they’re trying to figure out where to stay tonight, this does not seem like a very planned out trip.  Is this where North Carolinian college students come to get away?  Interesting…

I do have some slightly more profound thoughts to blog about than simply people watching in the coffee shop, as fascinating as that is (it also seems that a ladies’ knitting club comes and hangs out here every Saturday…).  With the recent teacher strikes in Chicago, presidential education reforms over the past few years, and the introduction of the Common Core curriculum, the education system is at the front of many peoples’ minds.  I’m going to try to avoid passing judgment on these specifically.  Everyone has the students’ best interests at heart, it’s just that they see it differently.

However, after being in the educational system for 5 short weeks, I’m really not sure any of what we’re trying to do in education now is going to ever be effective as it needs to be.  Granted, as a new teacher and young adult, I am definitely no expert on education.  But having seen some of the effects of these attempted reforms first hand, I think what the country really needs is not a better curriculum and better teachers and better administrators and better laws–it’s the introduction of a new system completely that we need.

I don’t claim to know what this new system should look like.  But I do know that the current system can easily entrap students in a cycle of failure from which they will never be able to get out of.  And by system I don’t even mean teaching and curriculum.  I mean the system of studying and grades.  Some people just simply don’t think in the way of studying and performing on tests in the way that grades expect them to.  And so when they don’t perform well, they are thrown into a cycle of failure through low grades.  Yes, classes can be formatted to allow for other grades to be incorporated, but when national assessments are based on tests, that doesn’t help.  These tests trap them, and sometimes could mean that they don’t graduate from high school because of these tests, which means that they will never be able to get a job in today’s world.  And the problem continues…

Like I said, no solution, but more needs to change than simply better teachers.

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