Last night I was minding my own business while shopping at Albertsons. Missy asked me to stop on the way home from church. I had transferred all of our money into a different account and forgot to tell her. Her card was denied when she went to the store (sorry honey) because her husband is stupid. Anyway, I was on my way out of the store and was loading my car with the groceries I had purchased, when a friend rolled up who happens to be a principal at a school not part of my district.
After small talk we turned toward the talk of school. She is amazed at how much apathy she has in her school. I concurred. I have blogged the last couple of days about the dearth of American education. We have so many struggles as teachers today. The golden age of education is gone, as we teachers see it. Why? I think there are several answers to that question but ponder these:
- Lack of Discipline
- Lack of Accountability
- Lack of Will
I asked my principal friend what she thought, what was the problem? She cited all of the above as reasons. Our students today have very little self-discipline, which is one of the things that schools are supposed to instill in our students. However, it is tough to be disciplined when there is little accountability at home and at school. These two contribute to the third, lack of will.
Left to their own devices most students would rather play video games, watch TV or use their phones. If we cannot hold our students accountable then why should they put in the work. They know that failing is difficult and being held back is pratically impossible. What does the teacher have over the student when many seem apathetic? Take away my ability to discipline,to hold the student accountable by failing them and the crumbling American home and you get what we have. A downward spirally education system.
Talk to any educator today and these are the complaints you hear. Are we all just cry babies? Our students lack the drive because we are not driving them. When did we say it was okay to allow students to not have to do the work? Why don’t they have to know their multiplication facts? Why can’t they read a map? Because they don’t have to in order to pass onto the next grade.
I met a teacher who used to teach with me in Junior High and she has moved to the High School. I asked if her kids are more responsible and she said no, they are afraid of nothing. My principal friend said she is concerned for the future as we turn out students who do less and less. Today one of my colleagues was bemoaning the fact that less than half of her students turn in homework. Why? To be sure, many students have the discipline, accountability and will. Many will do well no matter what, but not most.
We must do better! How? I have some ideas, tomorrow. Until then, peace.