Today’s education system

Before I got into the credential program at Cal State Hayward, I had no idea what I was getting myself into – at all.  I liked kids, but I didn’t realize that teaching itself took so much planning in advance.  If I could do things without planning, I would, and being spontaneous makes things more fun.  I like structure, but not so much in a way that it makes kids just learn without the ability to apply to real life things.  Schools expect so much out of their students, as does the government.  This “No Child Left Behind” crap bothers me because there is so much emphasis on math and reading that all other subjects are severely neglected.  Students should be well-rounded in a variety of subjects, but they’re not.  Kids are lucky if their school provides an after school program for music or art, which is even better if it is during the school day.  With no money in the state, these programs simply disappear.  After the arts are cut, next are athletic programs.  Soon, schools will be filled with fat kids with no exposure to music or art.  There’s barely enough time in the day for physical education, much less anything else.  Science and history are maybe what, once a week?  It should be every day, just like math and reading, but it’s not.  I’m not trying to harp on the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, but I don’t understand why all their students K-12 have a half day on Wednesdays.  I NEVER had short days – EVER. Every day was the same.  With that lost time, students could be doing other things, but instead, they’re hanging out at the movie theater, mall, or anywhere else they feel like going.  It makes me wonder if they have the one short day to save money, since teachers don’t have to work the full school days.  The school might be saving money, but then teachers get paid less.  How it all works out, I don’t know.

I didn’t finish the credential program, but it doesn’t matter anymore because now I have more opinions since I’ve been inside the system.  There’s a lot of things people don’t see when it comes to student teaching and having to prepare everything in advance.  School is supposed to be fun, but now all they do is sit and force kids to learn the material.  There’s no application of anything they learn in the classroom.  I was fortunate at my school, which was majority middle class, to have to re-enactments, with many parent volunteers.  Some schools in MDUSD don’t even have parent volunteers because their parents work all day just to keep the family together.  The first school I went to was mostly middle class and maybe a portion of the upper class, so there were parents all the time, and they HOVER over their child like a helicopter.  I don’t like it when parents do that, but it’s not something we can avoid doing because I know I’m probably going to do it too when I have kids in school.  The second school was the complete opposite, with hardly any parent volunteers.  There were high school students volunteering, but that’s about it.  It consisted mostly of lower income families, so it gave me a wider perspective on two very different elementary schools in the same school district.

Do I think I could have made it as a teacher?  I’m being honest about this, so no.  I may have liked kids (up to a certain extent), but I don’t have the personality to control an entire classroom of students.  And I probably have teaching methods that older teachers would not approve of.  I believe in adhering to state standards, but it doesn’t need to be forced into the students.  They’re CHILDREN, and they’re supposed to HAVE FUN.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it takes a certain kind of person to become a teacher, regardless of the subject(s), and not everyone who wants to teach can actually do it.  I enjoy teaching in a way, but not in a structured setting where everything has to be a certain way.  Not to mention, not every kid learns the same way.  Some teachers don’t realize that, or don’t use methods of teaching that apply to all types of learners.  I am a visual/kinesthetic learner, which means I learn by watching and doing.  If you tell me how to do something and have no visuals or examples, I’ll never get it.  I am horrible at learning the rules of a new game, if I do it myself. However, if someone else explains the rules to me while using the game, then I’ll get it.  So, there are some minor adjustments to my learning methods.

When it comes to controversial content in school, I think it should be covered so that students can gain a better understanding of why it is controversial.  Avoiding the topics only makes it worse, and students get more curious and try to do the research on their own.  Overall, if I’m going to teach anything, there should be research and facts to provide the information.

Anyway, that was a nice rant about education, since California ranks nearly at the bottom for it.  Until next time…

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~ by twilightmelfina on March 22, 2009.

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