Change Is Not Always Neccessary

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I am reminded today of the wise quote,

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It is so frustrating that we have become such overachievers that we no longer know when to leave well enough alone. We are inventing swim suits that help us swim faster and more efficient than anyone ever thought humanly possible. We are inventing technology that goes above and beyond what no-one ever dreamed before.

I have noticed lately that there are many things we keep trying to develop and change that simply don’t need our fixing. It is a disease of ours to constantly better ourselves and everything around us. Maybe this is why our rates of suicide and depression and spiraling out of control. When will we say that good is good enough or that a swimmer is fantastic swimming all by herself without having to utilize a 325.00 fast suit? When will we learn to be as good as we are, as good as each and everyone us was born and meant to be? This competition, and desire to be more than we are physically capable of is crippling our spirit.

This is true with our schools as well. We have a lot of room to grow no doubt, but there are ways of teaching that have been effective for many years. Why do we have to change it up? I remember as a kid the teacher would present, or teach information to the entire class. The teacher would write notes on the board and the students would copy those notes into their own personal notebook. So, here we are, at the end of a marking period writing papers and studying for tests and the teacher sends an email that says the kids can use their notes on the test. The test consists of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. I have two questions. 1) Where are the notes? And 2) Why are we focusing on so much information at the same time? It’s confusing for me to keep it straight as I read the information for myself. This is where I believe we start to become broken. These kids are given blank papers with each country. They are to list culture, government, economy, social organization, etc, and these blank sheets have now become the new version of students notes. Is there any teaching actually being done in the classroom at all or are these kids spending all their time researching what they need to know all on their own? My son brings these half blank pages home that contain mostly wrong answers, that these kids work on independently in the classroom and we are calling these notes? And to make matters worse, no-one checks to see if the answers are even correct. So, every darn time my son has a test, I have to read the chapters to him, write notes so I can teach him how notes are meant to be written, and then we have to redo all the work he spent weeks doing in the classroom while trying to prepare him for the test. Seriously, someone tell me, does this make any sense? I love the study guides that come home in other subjects that pretty much work the same way. These kids spend two whole class days working on the guide, they bring it home the night before the test, and again, I as a parent, have to correct all the wrong answers and help him relearn the right information. This sounds to me like the least efficient way to use time, the most ineffective way to teach and the greatest chance that the child will not succeed in learning the information at all let alone possibly having a chance to even get a good grade on the test. I choose to not homeschool. I choose to send my child to school to be taught by a teacher and not to have to learn it at his own pace or on his home. What is going on and is anyone actually paying attention? Is this the wonderful common core way or is my experience unique? I am confused and frustrated about what is actually going on in classrooms today. Do teachers have a choice or do the policy’s dictate to them how their class is expected to be run?

I am fortunate that I have the brains and the time to pick up the noticeable slack that is visible in the classroom. I often wonder if Chases success in school is dependent on the amount of time I spend working with him. I am not sure I would have survived school myself if I was just left on my own to seek out what I chose to learn. I just needed to vent this all out before I tackle our final chapter on Mexico. If we don’t teach these kids how to take notes or the purpose of them, how will they ever learn? As always, I welcome your thoughts. Teachers out there, help me understand this please. Are your hands just completely tied?

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