Education is a life long process. It starts in infancy and should continue throughout adulthood. Professionals educators are a part of the process and actually a relatively short part if you think in terms of years. Each of us should take responsibility and be active participants in our own educational experiences throughout our life spans in our grand "perfect" world
I earned both high school and college diplomas. I have lived my adult married life with a professional educator and coach and have many extended family members and friends who teach and coach. I am jumping into the blogging fray with all due respect to the other gentleman bloggers and their perspectives.
I believe that most people feel since they sat in a classroom at some point in their lives, they could teach. I would disagree.
Just because you drive a car, does that make you a mechanic? Just because you sit in a doctor's office, does that make you a health professional? Just because you sit in an accountant's office, does that mean you can balance everyone's books? Because you eat corn-on-the-cob or grill a steak, does that make you a farmer or rancher? The obvious answer is no to those questions. Why is that any different for educators?
My experience has been that most of the teachers in a classroom do their dangest to try to get their subject matter across to their students. However with that said, these same professionals have to deal with apathetic students and parents, school board members and parents with agendas, and administrators who are more interested in what outside deals they can make. The teachers are at the mercy of which way the agendas go in terms of curriculum. Most every teacher I have ever known, has had to purchase supplies or learning aids on their own dime because there isn't enough money in the supply budget for updated workbooks, sketch books, or learning aids. This is on all levels, high school and college.
Educators also have to deal with state standard testing. The dilemma teachers face every day is - do they teach to the understanding of the subject and to the ability of their current students or do they teach to the test? That may be a whole other can of worms but it is the reality.
My personal opinion is that what has crippled many educators and students is the No Child Left Behind idiocy. When my own kids had to 'wait' for their classmates to catch up in a subject because 'everyone' has to get it, their learning experience was squashed because of classmates who didn't give a rat's behind about the class or subject matter. All this has done has forced teachers to dumb-down the subjects and standards. But that is NOT the classroom teachers fault. It is the bureaucrats and their agendas.
The other aspect I would like to put out there, I also believe - it is every parent's responsibility to make certain their kids get to school ready to learn. Tall order and close to impossible to attain, I know. However, I believe there is a misconception out there that education equals entertainment. WHOO NELLIE.... somewhere some do-gooder put out that kids should have fun in the classroom every day and in every class and every subject. But get real. Life is not fun everyday. I never, ever had the expectation that my teachers where there to entertain me. I knew there would be subjects I didn't like but having a well rounded education is important. I knew that is was my "job" to sit my fanny in the desk and do my best to learn what I could - even those subjects like... geometry.... which I just did NOT understand or get at all. I also knew that if I got in 'trouble' at school - by gummies - I would face consequences when I got home. That was pretty good incentive to be a good student. Plus, my own kids knew early on, they were at school to learn and they had to actively participate in that process as well.
As for teachers - only teaching their own personal agendas or ideologies - I can't remember a single instance in junior high or high school, where I had a teacher rant on about one side of an issue or another. In fact, they stayed out of the fray.
Now, when I got to college, that was a different story but I never had instructors rant and rave.
The best college instructors I had were the ones who let us express our opinions and learn from the other classmates - to help form our own opinions and ideologies based on our total experiences up to that point. They asked questions which provoked sometime lively discussions amongst the class. I had classmates in college who were very, very opinionated. (Okay, so my friends and family would tell me - add myself to that bunch.) Most of my classmates' opinions were not formulated in college but from their own lifetime experiences up to that point. Their opinions were formed at home, at church, amongst their friends, etc before they even set foot on the CSC campus. Their schooling was a component of who they were at the time but not the entire part.
Now as for the teachers unions... well.... don't even get me started. I haven't heard any teacher, family or friend, say they want to belong to a union, it is more they HAVE to belong since we have such a sue happy society. Enough said on that one as this is a huge burr under my saddle.
No school or teacher is perfect. No one can have a "perfect" learning experience in any educational setting as there is that flawed human component involved. However, I don't subscribe to the theory that all of society's ills can be blamed on the educational process in and of itself. Society's ill have so many components and each of us will have our opinions about that. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree and this is most likely one of those topics.
Thanks for reading this rather lengthy blog. Hope you all have a great and educational day!