I had a former student -- now a senior in college who can't graduate because the last engineering class he needs is not being offered til next semester due to furloughs and budget cuts... another blog post entirely -- come to visit me this week. We chatted during lunch.

I asked him how he liked his professors. He said, some were good, some were bad. Then he added, "But the bad ones are good for me because they force me to learn the material on my own. I mean I gotta know this stuff, right?"

And isn't that the difference between kids that achieve and kids that don't? Really, don't ya love that ownership?

Public education in America would be absolutely revolutionized if our students -- and the parents -- simply had an attitude adjustment. Instead of viewing teachers as the ones responsible for making kids learn we need to flip the script so that the students feel responsible for becoming well educated... and instead, view teachers as people who are facilitators of that aim.

Not the doers of all the work for them.

Your math teacher stinks? In today's world, that's seems to be a perfectly justifiable reason for kids (and parents, and politicians) to blame the school for these kids not knowing their multiplication tables.

Not in my house. My kids are gonna know their multiplication tables even if they are taught by New York City's Rubber Room All Stars!

Your English teach is lame? Well, then by all means you should not know how to compose a simple sentence.

How about a little ownership over your own education, huh? Instead of viewing school like a 5 star hotel where everyone who works their ought to be at your beck and call with white glove service, why not view school more like CostCo or Home Depot where the goods are on the shelf, but dude or dudette, you better go figure out a way to get what you need by yourself!!

And if you do find an employee that can help you, be grateful for their assistance instead of demonstrating an attitude of entitlement.

Do teachers need to do better in this country? For sure!

But if they don't is that really a legitimate excuse for our students not to become well-educated?

All the tools are there. The internet. The public library. Teachers who care. Outreach programs. On and on and on. For the kid who is ready to apply some good ol' fashioned elbow grease, they sky is the limit.

And for the kid who thinks it is the job of other people to "make them smart"... may the Lord watch over them.

Views: 37

Comment by Martin Kono on January 11, 2010 at 7:56am
You're quite right but I don't agree. My physics teachers in primary school were hopeless. I was good at maths, learned German, did very well on other subjects but my physics education is almost at 0 level just because of bad teaching.
Comment by Colleen Laymon on January 11, 2010 at 1:07pm
It is certainly not black and white, but I do agree that the pendulum needs to swing back to student ownership of their learning. Too many parents place blame on the teacher first, and don't want to acknowledge their child's lack of motivation.
Comment by Alan Sitomer on January 11, 2010 at 1:27pm
nothing universal ever applies, now does it?
Comment by Jessica Eitzen on January 13, 2010 at 11:00am
I agree. I've got a mom who argues EVERY problem missed on homework and every disciplinary action I take against her child like it's my fault. I often get the passive-aggressive She behaves quite well and works just fine on her own when the assignment is stimulating/challenging/whatever enough. And get this...she's a school counselor.

I have a mom who came up to me one time and told me in front of her child that if I didn't start "doing things differently" (i.e. if I didn't stop giving her child zeroes for not turning in his homework or disciplining him when he got in trouble) that she was going to transfer him to a different school. Can't imagine why he's not getting any better....
Comment by Jessica Eitzen on January 13, 2010 at 11:00am
Oh, and then there's the mom of the little girl on an IEP who has told our principal that she shouldn't have to do as much work as the rest of the class because, and I quote, "she's slow."


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