Friday, October 28, 2011

Spoon Fed

Warning: Rant will ensue.

I am already loving this year’s group of kids. They’re extremely intelligent and willing to handle anything I throw at them. What I love less and less are their overbearing, way too protective, excuse for everything parents.

Seriously, I do not know how to convey to them that they are actually hurting their child’s ability to survive in the real world, and that is what I am so ever-lovin angry about. I was walking through the hall in my conference period and walked into the office to make copies when the PTA volunteer sitting at the desk says, “You’re just the person I need to talk to!” I immediately think oh great… :) Then smile and ask, “Yes?” The parent introduces themselves and I begin intently listening to what she is saying. Her child has never struggled in math before but now that he’s in my class he is and she would really like a book to help him at home. So, I explained I do not teach from the book or even follow the order the book goes in. Well, she would still really like one. So I told her she was more than welcome to get a book. (Has she ever heard of this vast empire called google?? Where she could learn more about any math subject than one single textbook could ever teach!! Guess not..)

I go on to tell her that in my class they are really responsible for their own learning more than they are probably used to and that it takes some adjustment period for some students. This is when she said the most baffling, ignorant statement I’ve ever heard. “Well ya know, sometimes [my child] just has to be spoon fed.” Ummmm. Excuse me?? I think I actually chuckled at first. You have got to be kidding me. And then she went on to explain to me that sometimes she’ll give him directions for in the kitchen and he can’t follow them so she has to just go do it herself and blah blahhh. Here’s some things I wanted to say: So you think you’re helping him when you do it yourself? When he’s playing high school football (because he’s the star A team player right now), you think the coach is going to spoon feed him everything? When he’s some financial analyst for a Fortune 500 company (because he had an amazing 7th grade math teacher), his boss is going to just spoon feed him all his work? And, of course, are you out of your mind??

The problem with this is there are still plenty of “teachers” who will spoon feed their students and then when they  get to a teacher who actually makes them learn, or heaven forbid, “discover” their own learning – it’s too much! And it has to be something I am doing wrong, because their child has never struggled before. Well lady, maybe your child has never been challenged before or held accountable before or even “learned” before. The real kind of authentic learning. Not. The. Spoon. Fed. Kind.

Then on a national level, we wonder why our students are so far behind in the world? I would dare to say we as a nation are spoon feeding our students. Then when our scores are so low it comes back on the teachers and we, education as a whole, are in dire need of assistance. And so the obvious answer if for us to have to do the same things but on a budget that is cut in half..... ok ok, that's a completely different rant blog.

So, the conclusion is either transfer your son out of my class or let him actually struggle for something. Let him take responsibility and come in for my tutorial time. I guarantee you the light bulb will click. It may not be as immediate as the you/parents want it to be, but it will happen. They will eventually discover the “why” behind our math and they will understand.

What they will not understand is when they finally grow up and they are a completely dependent individual on everyone else around them, why in the world you spoon fed them their entire life.

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