Education and Life-Readiness

There is a time to learn, study, question, think.  Then there is a time to get up off your arse and do something – Act.

 

If you’ve been around here awhile you know I am a Mom of three going back to school in my… we will call it mid-thirties.

The question I field the most is “Why?”

There are the reasons that echo others, such as “I love kids” with an added punch of “I don’t always love kids, but I always believe in their ability to do better and more than we have.”

I love the unpredictable nature of the classroom.

I love being organized and I love preparing.  I love it even more when something unexpected happens!

However

There are two  reasons I am studying Education that haven’t even remotely crossed the minds of most of my classmates.

Reason 1.  If you don’t want to do – I will.

I am tired of teachers threatening (with their educated mouths) to walk away (in their perfectly matched outfit) or drive away (in their shiny, nice cars) from students who are supposedly their “main priority”.  Now before you get your panties in a bundle = I am NOT saying that Teachers don’t deserve these things and more – they DO!!  But teachers are walking around asking, “Why is the public so against teachers?”  The public isn’t.  But while you have been complaining about not getting a raise, the “public” lost their house, their job, or/AND their benefits – COMPLETELY.  Yet you are so focused on you & the 1% of your community rolling in money that you are not seeing everyone else.  You complain that Johnny’s parents are not supporting his academics by sitting down with him and doing his homework at night, but you fail to understand that his parents were trying to figure out where to get the money to pay the bill collectors they never thought would be calling them.   There is no one to stop it from coming out of their FOOD budget, because you see  – they want to do right.  They just don’t know have the funds to cover it all.  You stand and talk about Bob’s or Jane’s “chances” because of what the parents aren’t doing – but you are not taking responsibility for being the one who knows WHAT IT TAKES for that child to be successful and doing NOTHING but pointing out who is not doing what for them.

Reason 2. I like being a villager.

You know that saying – it takes a village???  Well besides parents – it is TEACHERS who make up that village.  So when a child isn’t successful or prepared it is truth that has part of the blame at the school’s door.   I have explored several fields in my time.  What I have learned is that everyone works hard (okay, okay, not everyone.  But what we too easily forget is that those people are the minority. We have to stop changing things because of the 0.0025% of the population that might take advantage. Believe me – most do not want to live on government assistance.)  So most work hard.  Working hard is life.  Enjoying working hard and enjoying what working hard gets you is life.  It is the lesson our kids are failing to get.

 

So let’s talk about the two sides of the “Education” coin.

*On one side there is everything we can see that has changed in Education since we (adults) were there last.  No more penmanship class.  No more daily music, phy ed, or art class.  All eyes on STEM.  Foreign languages are optional later – even though we know how much easier it is when they are young.  And who needs English?  Reading all those really old books?  Speech class?  Writing?  Please.

*On the other side is everything we are being asked of as parents, that we damned well know our parents were not asked of.  Like doing up to two hrs of homework and reading PER CHILD each night.  That on top of school supplies at the beginning of the year – we are asked to pay fees for additional supplies, art costs, t-shirt costs, field trip costs, sports fees, etc.  We as children enjoyed most of these things, but our parents did not pay out of pocket for them.  Where did the money come from before?

Then there are the statistics that speak volumes for both sides of the coin we are currently tossing about.   Less than, let me repeat, LESS THAN 40% of High School Grads are ready for college:  http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2014/0514/Less-than-40-percent-of-12th-graders-ready-for-college-analysis-finds   — What are they ready for then?

How is that even possible??  We have middle-schoolers studying things I didn’t hear about until I was in late High School.  We have K and 1st graders studying math equations and analyzing the different parts of a story.  Hell, they are supposed to know their alphabet and how to spell their name, as well as knowing their address before Preschool.  Are we really confused about why our kids are crashing and burning at seventeen or younger???

When are we going to realize that our children deserve BETTER than we had – not just DIFFERENT than we had???  Why does it always seem we as a people go from one extreme to the other?  Why can’t we look at what is working and just focus on that which can be done better instead of trying to change the whole blasted system?!   It is a pyramid people – not a pendulum – that lasts through time.

So here is the get up off my arse and do something about it:

You can not improve something if you do not understand how it functions currently, right? (This is a no brainer for most people, but for some of you politicians out there I know it may be a shock).  So I am in Education, learning about what is currently happening.  I plan to teach because I know it is more than just learning about how something is supposed to work – I need first hand knowledge of what is happening.  Plus it is about damn time kids realize there are those of us who will NOT give up.  There are those of us who KNOW you are capable of GREAT things.  Let me be perfectly clear: I am not the lone person standing and caring – I am the voice saying “LOOK  in your classrooms RIGHT NOW, regardless of how tired or unhappy they may seem – THOSE people = teachers = they KNOW you are AMAZING!  Parents – regardless of how tired or unhappy they may seem – they ONLY want what is best for you.

I don’t mean to sound snarky or as if I know it all.  Never in my life have I ever claimed to know it all.  In fact – my soap box is that none of us are designed to know it ALL.   The focus should not be on who can memorize the most historical data.  It should not be who can recite the presidents of the US.  The focus should be on:

HOW to learn

HOW to take notes

HOW to study

HOW to question

HOW to THINK

Math, Science, Social Studies, Engineering, Technology, even Music, art, phy ed, language, writing and speech – these are not SUBjects to study – they are avenues we travel once we have a base understanding of how these “HOW”s work!  They are the transportation we take in order to grow learning, taking notes, studying, questioning and thinking!!!    When we graduated high school and we stepped into real life -we used THESE skills to explore different life paths.  Some paths for some of us were paths we stayed on to this day.  For others – hopping paths helped achieve happiness.  But one thing is the same – we had the ability to make the best of what we had and focus on the things we wanted. We had the tools – we knew the “How” of what to learn and how to learn to get where we wanted to be.   THAT is what we were armed with.  That is how we felt READY to take on the world.

School is the place where you learn to read.  You learn to research.  You learn to think.

Then you get up off your arse and DO something with what you know.

THAT is life.

We need to stop this focus on individual courses of study – – Now, now – – no pendulum here!!!  We are not getting rid of these things!!!  These are the avenues that we let our children explore – to help them identify the things they LOVE, the people they want to BECOME!  Our focus as EDUCATORS (be it teachers or parents) – is to return focus to the HOW

Learn

Study

Question

Think

Do

It doesn’t form a pretty acronym.  It doesn’t focus on college-readiness, career-readiness or community-readiness individually.  It’s whole focus is LIFE-readiness.

I think education needs to return to the basics.

 Address the “How” and let the kids answer.

 

 

 

 

Don’t be too surprised if in the future – I open….

A  learn, study, question, think, act  Academy.

maybe A2A Academy?  Life-Readiness School?  Hmmm…it may require *gasp* thought.  Anyway –

We will teach penmanship.  We will teach manners.  We will teach respect.  We will teach creativity.  We will teach Reading, Writing, Math, Music, Art, Languages and Science.  It will bloom into more specific fields of study!  But the focus will remain on learning to learn.

 

You can voice your disagreement, your contradictions, your thoughts!  Please do!!

I learned a long time ago that discomfort is the path to growth ( yep – being female I had that nailed down before my teens).  Seriously – we can NOT expect to solve or resolve anything if we can not respect others enough to hear them out.  To really listen. You can not challenge a thought if you haven’t listened to the whole of it!

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