Reflections on Teaching

 I was wandering around my computer, when I found this post that I wrote back in graduate school for our class blog.  As the teacher to international students learning English as a second language this post has taken on a new meaning to me.

It is a book that grabbed my attention, took me inward into my own learning and my desire to teach and brought me to a place of determination and passion.

Reflections on "You Gotta Be the Book"
The entire time I was reading this book, I kept wishing I could actually be in Wilhelm’s class...not as a teacher, but as a student!

I love writing, but, had it not been for a few well-placed teachers in my life, I would have never ended up becoming a writer, let alone feeling accomplished. I struggled through school due to undiagnosed learning differences. I discovered, often by accident, tools and strategies to overcome what my brain did not seem to get. Several teachers along the way saw something in me that they nurtured. Sisters Margaret Delores, Mary Ralph, Claire Denise were most instrumental in taping into my “gift” for the word. Later in high school and junior college, I had several teachers who believed in me. Their faith in my ability to succeed gave me the push I needed to do just that. What a gift to give a student!
Imagine if we all entered the classroom convinced that each and every student was going to succeed! I know that would blow all the standardize testing out of the water.
It scares me to think of the damage we are doing to our children with mandatory standardized testing. We have turned schools into prisons with ‘lock downs’ when students do not behave and no recess because more study needs to be done to pass the tests. Or, as is the case in several of the schools in a close urban area,  schools where children must stay within the building, where classrooms have no windows to open, and teachers must share class space with four other classroom teachers in the same room (different classes).

The policy states that No Child Will Be Left Behind, but by putting unrealistic demands on systems that are already failing, without support, and without room to meet the needs of individual children, we are leaving whole communities of children behind.  It is no surprise that most of these children are from homes that are underprivileged with parents or more often a parent struggling to make ends meet.
Fifty years from now, I do not want to be remembered as a member of the generation that killed education. What is to be done to change things is still murky for me, but I will strive to create reflective, enduring, critical lessons to all my students, be they preschoolers or senior citizens. Education is not an industry; it is not a commodity; it is a way of Being and it last a lifetime!

My current class at Mt. Holyoke College Library 2010 

This was written during the previous presidential administration before several states began taking drastic actions to correct the grievous wrong created by No Child Left Behind, which is a clear example of the power of words.

"No Child Left Behind" sounds inclusive, compassionate; however, when we look closely at what this edict meant, we see that it is quite the opposite.  "No Child" will be "Left Behind" is they have the privilege of attending a school that can cope with the demands placed on it to excel.  But, for schools that do not share such privilege, the students and their teachers have been left to either sink or swim.  

We have yet to see how changes being made will help.  I know that there are thousands of dedicated educators throughout the country struggling to give their students the best they can in education.  I also know that with budget cut-backs and standardize testing, it becomes increasingly difficult to do the work of teaching.

Each day I enter my class, I give thanks for the opportunity to share a love of knowledge with my students.  I believe in their success, I believe in their ability to be the best they can be, and I believe each of them can make a difference in this world. 

So far, none of my students has ever let me down!


Hetul said…
No Child left Behind- Now at this of understanding, I realize the importance of education. Its not just the way the world looks at us but also how we look upon to the opportunities provided to us to sustain the consequences.
Linda said…
Yes, Hetul, education is how we learn to see the world. If the window is open wide, we see clearly, but it the window is shut or dirty, what we see is distorted and limited.
C.Alv.B said…
Children must have or knowledge does not means they have to finish school to get what they want. I've seen a lot of growing teenager not finished school but jumped into skills works such as hair styler, bakery and etc..and they success enough..opened a small shop with friends. Yup, educate them from beginning which start from home and to school with support of the teachers..

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