Save Yourself From the Madness!

8 08 2008

[shudder]
This from Teacher Magazine brings it all back, the mind-numbing, institutional-school crowd management obsession that blots out the sun of real childhood education.

The kindergarten teacher to whom Favorite Daughter was duly assigned back in 1995, obviously had followed such advice and was very well prepared with all these procedures. She did it so well in fact, she was so thoroughly caught up in her own professional pencil-sharpening planning and posted lists and signs, handouts and parent directions and furniture arrangements and supply requirements, that we both felt she just needed to be left to it — without us as individual mom and child with our pesky individual needs and wants, getting in her way! 🙂

Which is why in a nutshell, we’ve been blissfully learning without The First Day of School (even at home!) ever since.

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20 responses

8 08 2008
JJ

Speaking of Teacher Magazine, there’s also a new piece suggesting we may all see the Last Day of School, and maybe The Last of Religion As We Know It, too:

I’m reading Clay Shirky’s new book, Here Comes Everybody. In it, he explores how technology is changing human interactions—and he shares an interesting example:

In 2007, several conservative parishes of the Episcopal Church in Virginia voted to break away from the American branch of their church. The parishes chose to align themselves with the Nigerian branch of the Episcopal Church—whose views aligned better with theirs.

Shirky argues that this shows a shift in our thinking about how we organize ourselves.

Typically, humans have used geography as the primary factor when determining how to join together with others. Technology has made it possible to align with anyone, however distant, based on like-minded beliefs or other factors.

So my question is this: Will we eventually see similar changes based on the ways people think about schools?

Right now, in the public school sector, most people send their students to schools based on geography. You go to the building that is closest to you, whether you are satisfied with that building or not.

Is it possible that technology may change all of that and allow families to select schools based on design and ideas that best represent their personal preferences and values instead of choosing schools based on physical location?

8 08 2008
Sandra Dodd

Our district has more and more charter schools for just those reasons.

But on a practical note, Just Say No to Teacher Magazine. Don’t go into those internet teachers’ lounges! 🙂

8 08 2008
JJ

I can’t argue with that, hi Sandra, thanks for dropping in! 🙂

11 08 2008
Valerie

Fyi, the parishes that chose to align themselves with Archbishop Akinola broke with the structure not only of The Episcopal Church (TEC), but also of the Anglican communion. Both organizations are geographic.

People may choose to organize themselves however they wish, but there may be legal ramifications to changes — such as the legal ownership of church real estate.

Also, Abp. Akinola’s church is not the “Nigerian branch of the Episcopal Church,” because TEC is American. The Church of Nigeria ( http://www.anglican-nig.org/primate.htm ) and TEC are both members of the Anglican communion, but they are independent of each other.

http://www.allsaintsjakarta.org/angorgn.htm

The Anglican Communion is not a hierarchical or centralized organization like the Roman Catholic Church.

Just a bit of Anglican trivia. :))

11 08 2008
JJ

Hi Valerie, your summer has been glorious I trust? 🙂

Thanks for this link because when I opened it and took a good first look, I was reminded of the larger point. Church IS State. Churches have all sorts of hierarchy and governance, and most members don’t participate in that side of religion or even notice it very often. The protestant churches I have personal membership experience with, seemed democratic to me compared to the Vatican, say, but now that I really think about it, governance was invisible and seemed irrelevant to my life, even more so than “student government” in schools and universities I’ve known.

Church is GOOD at being State.

11 08 2008
Valerie

Summer is reasonable so far. However, I’m a cold-weather duck and I faint in coils at temperatures higher than 68 if there isn’t an ocean nearby for floating. Warm weather is OK if you have an ocean handy.

The middles of prairies are not good places for finding contemporary oceans and chlorinated pools just aren’t the same. Pools are also boring if you snorkel.

Ohhh, welllll ….. [mulling on karmic payback and how I can do something about it] ;>

Are you close enough to an ocean for enjoyment?

11 08 2008
JJ

Nance and her unschooling pal Deanne in south Florida are regular beach bums I think, which makes me jealous and I don’t hide it well. 🙂

But I’m in north Florida (might as well be south Georgia in the Okefenokee Swamp or somewhere similar, only 30 miles from the state line) and a good hour from the gulf shore, where we never go. So I make do with really expensive air-conditioning and a lot of good books!

11 08 2008
JJ

Also really expensive cable tv . . . 🙂

12 08 2008
lori

That article is a hoot – it’s almost satire, isn’t it? I mean, does anyone really have to think about this: “Will students sharpen pencils as needed?” When should they do it, when it’s not needed? Then I read the first comment, and a teacher actually responded to the question: “I keep my electric pencil sharpener out for the first five miutes of class, then it is away for the day. One person collects pencils and sharpens them.” Holy control freak, Batman!

This one would be funny if it weren’t so sad: “When can they use the bathroom?” I suppose you can control when they use the bathroom, but good luck controlling when the typical kindergartener actually pees.

When my son finished his first week of kindergarten, I asked how it was going. He said, “All we do is learn the rules.”

Shocker.

12 08 2008
JJ

Yeah, funny if it weren’t so sad — that captures it.

I took Favorite Daughter to our regular dentist today for the first time, now that she’s 18 and her pediatric dentist “graduated” her. 🙂

While I was reading the new Jeff Sharlet book (wow, we HAVE to talk about this!!) in the small, quiet waiting room, a mom, older girl teen and a little boy three or four came in. The two heavyset women plopped down and immediately began a never-ending barrage of (mostly negative) instructions and admonitions and loud shushings. Neither one of them lifted a finger to read with him or invite him to where they sat for a cuddle or to play with his two little cars. They just kept ragging on him. His name was Allen or Alan — I heard it several times. I’ll bet he hears it several hundred times a day.

I found the three of them as a unit VERY intrusive and though I kept my eyes glued on my book, I couldn’t really follow the thoughts and had to keep rereading the same passage. But the capper was when the girl (who I’d first thought was the mom) began whining to her mother that the boy was distracting HER from HER reading — thereby completely spoiling MY reading!

“I can’t do much more to him right now, before his first dentist appointment. I don’t want him to cloud up.”

What she meant by that — what else she would have “done to him” I shudder to think.
They were clearly lower-class and without resources monetary or intellectual, and the girl couldn’t read well — she even spelled out a word for her mother and asked what it was, and what it meant:
V-E-S-T-I-B-U-L-E

Her halting speech and then the mother’s pathetic (in the classic meaning) attempt to define the word for her, just made me cringe for that little boy. Will he be better off in the average school classroom? I guess. But I wish our aspirations for developing American kids as future citizens were a WHOLE lot higher than just herd control. . .

p.s. — Favorite Daughter also blogged sadness at overhearing rule-reliant, control-freak parents talk with their own kids in public:
“I Can’t Hear You, LALALA!”

13 08 2008
NanceConfer

A teacher posted on some blog — was it here? — that this pencil sharpening thing is a real issue. Those darned kids will sharpen pencils all day, down to nothing. And never get onto the important work they are supposed to be doing. . .

Here we have many pencils but at some point the kids sharpened the hell out of a pencil or two. How else will they learn how the sharpener works? 🙂

It not being forbidden seems to make it less enticing after the first one or two but you don’t time for that sort of nonsense when there is the FCAT to prep for!

Nance

13 08 2008
NanceConfer

And, yes, we are close to the beach. Close enough to enjoy relatively cooler temps and a breeze some days. But 90 is still 90. 🙂

And we don’t get there as much as we should. . .

Nance

13 08 2008
JJ

For me it was the mushy , maddening paper and the soft, fat pencils, so unsatisfying to write with unless the pencil is very sharp. And even then.

They wouldn’t let us use pens until junior high school, and of course we didn’t have typewriter or computer keyboards. Now in my 50s, I do sudoko puzzles, always have a book of them handy with a pencil and a little hand-sharpener in my bag, with another by my bed. If my pencil isn’t really sharp, I just won’t use it.

13 08 2008
JJ

Oh. I’m thinking back to my elementary classrooms. What does it tell us that the highest-achieving, best-behaved and teacher-pleasing kids (me included) were rewarded with janitor duties like emptying the pencil sharpener shavings, banging erasers, wet-wiping blackboards and lunch tables, etc?

Obviously we weren’t nearly as smart as they wanted us to believe!! 😉

13 08 2008
NanceConfer

Oh, we were so smart . . .

Elementary school memory — maybe 4th grade — we were given a list of words and told to write sentences using each word.

Well, I told that teacher! This is too easy, I said, I can write 2 sentences using each word!

Fooled her, huh? 🙂

Nance

14 08 2008
COD

I always though you were down hear Tampa. I didn’t realize you were a north FL redneck 🙂 I spent my junior high years on the Redneck Rivera (PCB) and I’d move the family to Bay County in a heartbeat if I could get them to come!

14 08 2008
JJ

You could tell ’em you are the patriarch, and God insists? 👿

14 08 2008
COD

Unless God assures my wife that there will be no hurricanes, I don’t think I’ll ever get her to live in FL.

14 08 2008
JJ

My dad’s only brother was stationed at Eglin AFB at least once, I think twice but I was little — and in Valdosta GA for years. We used to drive up from Gainesville FL to visit the cousins for weekends.

Then they were in TX so long that my cousins still consider that “home” even though the family was later moved to Richmond VA. Funny world.

14 08 2008
JJ

But my redneck roots really come from the same place Daryl’s do– Seneca SC and surrounds!

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