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#16452 - 01/23/01 07:56 AM Kids and school
bikermom Offline
journeyman

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 96
Loc: Ohio, USA
This one is for today's teachers to observe or to answer. My gifted, exchange student, also intelligent with computers, told me, "Why should today's kids care" When I asked, "What do you mean?" He said "Because there is no hope for the future!!!" What have you teachers observed?? I have 17 and 10 year olds sons also, and they are very much excited about life and all it has to offer. The statement from this kid is rather scary, if most kids are thinking this way. I think there is more to do today than when I was in school during the 60's and 70's.

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#16453 - 01/24/01 11:47 AM Re: Kids and school
botman Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/14/00
Posts: 2
Loc: North Coast, Great Lakes
As a former English teacher who is now running the rat race of corporate IT politics, I recall the dismay I felt from many of my students who often displayed a general lack of desire to pursue anything. Often, I would hear comments that they have (had) nothing to do and that they were bored. As a new father (9 month old daughter), I often wonder what experiences I can control (and those I can not) that will shape my daughters imagination and desire to seek opportunities to improve herself, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Having taught in several rural (bedroom/farm) communities and several upper-middle class and upper class schools, I often ran across students who often claimed a lack of hope for the future, and several who were so self-defeated they wanted to climb back into their hiding spots so they didn't have to deal with it all. One scenario: In a rural community (many farms, no industry), I was in a 400 student high school, grades 9-12. One 9th grader asked why I was there. I replied that I was studying his teacher's methodology, process and procedure. I then asked him what he might want to do after graduation. Pondering for a moment, he deadpanned, "Mom and Dad will be around for awhile and after that there's my sister." As fate would have it, he in fact graduated and returned to his parent's home to work on a local farm and a nearby grocery store, never desiring anything more.

Though this is only one student's story among the hundreds I was involved with, I was continually amazed that so many of them felt degrees of hopelessness and despair wondering what they were going do after graduation. I always took this as an opportunity to share my breadth of academic (undergrad + grad), athletic (high school, collegiate, & professional), fraternal, entrepreneurial, and social experiences that have given me a tremendous amount of knowledge on many different subjects that I would not have received in any other fashion. I can only hope that they were able to see that life is about so many different things than just getting a paycheck to pay for a roof and some food.

I agree that kids have more to do today than at any other time in history, but most don't know what to do with it. Many are scared at the enormity of it all. (The more you know, the more you realize you don't know!) Hopefully, they have parents to guide and shelter them from things to allow them to succeed in several things to build confidence that will allow them to explore.

So many thoughts and so little time to discuss them all. More to follow....

Enjoy!


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#16454 - 01/24/01 12:01 PM Re: Kids and school
bikermom Offline
journeyman

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 96
Loc: Ohio, USA
"I always took this as an opportunity to share my breadth of academic (undergrad + grad), athletic (high school, collegiate, & professional), fraternal, entrepreneurial, and social experiences that have given me a tremendous amount of knowledge on many different subjects that I would not have received in any other fashion. I can only hope that they were able to see that life is about so many different things than just getting a paycheck to pay for a roof and some food."
Thanks botman, for the wonderful reply to my question about today's kids. Your statement above that I added to this post, is what separates the good teachers from the average. You are indeed one of the Great Ones. Real life experiences and stories are what kids need to hear over and over, to erase what the media puts into their heads. Your daughter will do excellent--I do not have a college degree, rec'd F's in math until 9th grade and now I love teaching and emphasize with those students who struggle to learn but put forth 100% effort. Welcome aboard to the AWAD word site where learning never stops.



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#16455 - 01/24/01 05:43 PM Re: Kids and school
botman Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/14/00
Posts: 2
Loc: North Coast, Great Lakes
Thanks for the kind words- what is frustrating is that I felt "marked" while in the public schools. What I'm referring to is that my department heads and colleagues would support my teaching style and my knowledge base but I consistently into problems with the administration- they hounded me to frustration and I eventually left teaching to pursue other interests. They wanted me to conform to their drab style and "stick to the basics", though when I did, my students revolted. Against the administration's wishes and to the dismay of my department heads, I often taught my own way regardless. Though it created havoc during my reviews, I felt it necessary to teach my students knowledge, not just have them absorb, regurgitate, and purge information.

This is only one example among many why so many students are turned off by learning- it is not relevant and is too slow to occupy their nimble minds. Sometimes the very nature of our compulsory education system turns off students who would otherwise blossom in an alternative program. I do not want to imply that our education system has not attempted to nuture these "fringe" students, rather, I suggest the system is much too slow in addressing their needs.

I desperately miss the students, though there are some I'd be willing to forget. Though I am often engaged in technical training initiatives, it does not replace the classroom experience.



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#16456 - 01/25/01 10:06 AM Re: Kids and school
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Botman-- don't dispar-- you might have reached one or two students-- and given to them a lesson they will remember forever--

When i was in 7th grade-- our class was introduced to pi-- and told to just accept the number 3.1214.... but we where antsy kids and some of us (guess who?) just keep nagging and nagging--

So one morning we were promised, if behaved, then in the afternoon we could do a special project–

Just before we where dismissed for lunch-- we where given an assignment-- one half of the class was told to bring back something round-- a jar, a can, a pipe, a hoop (for a hoop skirt)-- the other half of the class was told to bring back to thread, or ribbon, or twine, or rope..

That afternoon, 78 girls measured (using ribbon or twine, and then a 12 inch ruler) an assorted collection of jars and cans (38 pairs)--the circumference and the diameter-- and divided. Our crude answers where then averaged-- and lo and behold-- we came up with pi!

Teachers who think of creative ways to teach– open children's imaginations...

It is almost 40 years since I learned pi– but the lesson is as fresh as yesterday.

If you can do for language, what Mother Theresa did for me and pi–you will live on in a students memory!

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#16457 - 01/25/01 12:19 PM Re: Kids and school
bikermom Offline
journeyman

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 96
Loc: Ohio, USA
Thanks, of Troy, for the beautiful inspirational words for many a teacher. It is too bad that more Administrators can not see this, and also Board Members, but maybe they do, but just get caught up with all the red tape. Maybe Bush would like a copy of this for his School Reform Policy????

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#16458 - 11/22/01 09:49 AM Re: Kids and school
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
About botman's comment on the conformity of standards in education:

Standards are currently mandated in many states. The trick is to teach them yet use all the creativity you can muster to make your teaching dazzle. The best teachers are often dramatic and often extraordinary in the questions they pose and their ability to inspire students to pose equally interesting questions.

One of the best I ever had was one who admitted his errors in judgment, and showed us how a miscalcution had led to revelelations.

When the spirit is full of life, intelligence, creativity, and broad comprehension of how various mental inclincations express (and can be impressed by) subject matter and questions, there walks a strong teacher. But, better than that, is the scaffolding of exchange of ideas in an active classroom. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is extremely disenheartening to meet discouraged students, but it's far from being a hopeless situation--just a challenging one.

Best regards,
WW, a kid lover


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#16459 - 04/23/02 09:51 AM Post deleted by ewein
ewein Offline
member

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 184
Loc: USA

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#16460 - 04/23/02 10:15 AM Re: Kids and school
musick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 2658
Loc: Chicago
I think competition shouldn't be taught or supported in schools. Society (aside from the educational *experience) promotes it enough. I'm not talking about athletics or personal physical development.

Private schools may show a better scoring student, but IMHO, one who has a either a lot of unresolved social issues or no *reason to develop further. It's hard to generalize, as you know.

Voucher systems, if they are to make sense, should then allow public schools to *start charging (the same amount of) tuition so they may work from or at least begin working toward the same playing field. Once that playing field becomes *level (ha) there will be no need for 'voucher' systems.

What do you feel the 'voucher' represents?


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#16461 - 04/23/02 10:25 AM Post deleted by ewein
ewein Offline
member

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 184
Loc: USA

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