Think Carefully Before You Point That Finger
This whole “let’s blame everything on bad teachers” business has really got me steamed. I’m not sure why tearing teachers apart is suddenly a trendy thing to do – personally I think it’s one of those trends that is about as stylish and hot as those shirts that changed color with your body heat. Remember those? I think they were called Hypercolor Ts or something ridiculous like that? At the time, some may have thought they were cool, but now…NOW I am hoping those same people are looking back at pictures of their past, shaking their heads and thinking about how LAME that particular trend really was. How it lead them down a road of fashion don’ts. How it was a waste of time and money.
Here’s to hoping that all of this finger pointing goes the way of Hypercolor shirts. Years from now, with any luck, the people behind those self-righteous digits will be thinking back on their past, shaking their heads and thinking about how LAME this particular trend really was. How it lead our schools down a road of overly standardized don’ts. How it was a waste of time and money.
Friends, my point is (Yes, I have one.) that sometimes doing what is trendy is nothing but a waste of time. I liken our schools to the closets of individuals who have fallen victim to too many passing trends. Disorganized, costly and with no true focus.
But hey, let’s totally blame the teachers for all that mess. You know, since they have so much say over what they do in their classrooms…
What a minute.
May I share a little story with you? A story about what I see when I am in classrooms? A story about what is actually going on in our schools despite all of the finger pointing, all of the negativity, all of the buzzwords that never seem to really go anywhere?
I recently spent time with an early childhood teacher. She is a veteran teacher who has been working with the small fries for many years. Her classroom is adorable. I sat down to read to the group and immediately noticed how wonderfully they were all sitting on the carpet. Except for one friend. This one friend would call out comments about the book despite all of her classmates modeling quiet listening behavior. She threw her body around the rug, taking out several similarly small fries in the process. I watched as these other students simply dusted themselves off, smiled and continued to listen. As I continued to read (Mrs. Mimi is determined. Must. Read. Out. Loud.), this friend ran over to her teacher’s desk, grabbing a handful of stickers. When the stickers were taken away, she grabbed at a nearby chart. When the chart was taken away, she went for a marker. I think you get my point.
Girlfriend was beyond disruptive. But instead of appearing to be malicious in her movements, this little girl truly seemed to have no control.
After my read aloud (which still managed to ROCK, thank you very much), I sat with the teacher. She was honest with me regarding her struggles with this particular student. She told me how frustrated she felt at times. She told me how difficult it was to help this girl to understand how to keep her hands to herself.
And then she told me how bright this little girl is. How much she craves individual attention. How far she’s come in just a few short weeks. How she is committed to helping this girl, survivor of the earthquake in Haiti, learn as much as possible.
During our conversation I heard no blame. I heard no excuses. I heard nothing but the honesty of a gifted teacher as she acknowledged the struggle and considered solutions.
So, Powers That Be? Perhaps you should pause, look inside an actual classroom and see what you can see. And then maybe you can put those blame-ridden, trend-loving fingers away and get down to work like the rest of us.