Mar. 22, 2019
TODAY'S EDUCATED FOOLS.
In my late sixties....I found myself in a place I never expected to be: I was both a Teacher and a Student.
During the day I taught in a High School outside Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington DC. In the evenings, I sat in a classroom, learning how "to teach." Nothing about me changed.....not my looks, my age, my life experiences, or my commitment to teach reluctant learners but...having an advanced degree would elevate my salary (slightly) and make me appear more "professional" to the education system.
What I learned most....and what became a turning point for me as I interacted with professors and other highly- degreed educators....they weren't very nice people. The arrogance and self-importance-- at the college level-- made me nauseous. They weren't role models and most importantly, they knew nothing about teaching--from the heart.
I well-remember the day one of my professor asked exactly "how" I planned to teach hand-eye coordination to young students with special needs. I suggested that, in my experience, a simple ball-- in various sizes-- had always worked wonders. I described the many methods I had incorporated, including bouncing, rolling, pitching the ball to other students, even into waste baskets. My professor frowned, shook her head while saying "no, no, no....that's old-fashioned... outdated. I want methods that use the computer or something new and innovative."
I followed- up by saying "I suppose you never played Jacks when you were growing up or Softball, even Basketball.... and I'm sure you never had a bag of Marbles to call your very own. Or, did you ever take piano lessons?" Rather than answer, she asked me to stay after class so she could "enlighten" me about today'sTeaching Profession.
I listened as she curtly put-me-in-my-place....educationally-speaking. She reminded me that most teachers my age were retiring....no longer capable of teaching. Her final words were: "As a professional educator who earned a doctorate more than ten years ago and "knows her stuff" so to speak....I must advise you that most schools want to hire young teachers with fresh ideas and the most advanced technology skills. If you want educators to see you as a viable candidate for their classrooms then learn to teach by-the-book! Creativity is no longer an accepted method of teaching. Follow the teachings of those, LIKE ME, who "wrote the book" on classroom teaching."
She didn't make me mad; I just considered the source. If I've learned only one thing....after all these years of living....it's that, during the forties and fifties, I received the best education, from the most dedicated, caring teachers, that public schools could deliver. I'll put my "outdated and old-fashioned" educational skills up against today's educated fools...any day.
I have many wonderful memories from my past and yes...they taught me very well. I still have the drawstring bag with my metal jacks and rubber ball, tucked safely inside; I have no problem sitting at the piano, reading music, and playing a tune or two, and....regardless of age, watch me hit a mean softball! Don't tell me to read a book in order to teach hand-eye coordination.
Simple Pleasures, like everyday life, are still the best teachers.