Politicians rub themselves with wads of money.
They set the standards, but its a hell of a mental image.
Pretty simple on the surface, really, but terribly misleading.
Let’s start with our philosopher kings. The wise men and women who enter politics not for the pension, or the expense accounts, but to serve our nation and its people with unconditional love and foster a bright, new, future.
Politicians are responsible and set the standards. They decide, for example, that a B or a level 3, as is our case in Ontario, is the happy medium. (Ironically, the synonym for medium is mediocre, but let’s pretend we don’t know that).
I think deep down, they care passionately that each young mind becomes a contributor to our society and that they don’t become a burden to the state.
As an aside. Isn’t it strange how much time and energy we devote to teaching children about sex. An act, that is pretty simple, if you think about it, yet we spend no time, and I mean no time, discussing the reality of death with our children. Not a word.
We know how to begin life, but we are miserable in facing its end.
First, why did the government replace letter grades with levels, and why do those levels stop at the number 4? Is it a holy number? The last number that someone double down?
The letter A is the first letter of the alphabet. That makes sense. 4 is a number in the middle of a vast ocean of digits, signifying nothing, but I digress.
Second, we have the literacy test. An administrative standard that shuts down learning for an entire day, takes a lot of effort to prepare and evaluate, not to mention what it costs, and all of it to what end?
As teachers, we know who is struggling and who needs help. But no one asks, in case we make a mistake. Imagine the tears.
As a society we administer this carefully crafted test in order to identify the students we are already familiar with, to then basically abandon them to their own devices, because we will not make extra time for their needs, set aside no valuable money to help them learn or to provide them with any up to date technology. There seems to be little effort otherwise.
This is exactly what happens within our health care system. If you are depressed or suicidal and have the courage to actually walk into a hospital for help, you will probably be sent home after some time has passed, unless you are yielding a weapon. Like our literacy test, there is nothing in place to help you. Go and help yourself.
I am not suggesting our society lacks well meaning people in all walks of life. I am not. I am just pointing out the futility, irony, and absurdity of it all.
You do with it what you will.
Let me repeat that.
People really matter.
We have to wake up and embrace the truth of how great we are, and how much we have to contribute to anyone that seeks our contribution.
When a teacher meets her new class, she has been given a set of standards by which to educate those young minds. A carefully constructed set of goals and measurable achievement charts to follow. Rubrics. Diagnostics. Chants. Rubber Duckies.
She will do everything in her power to help bridge the gap, to be the harbinger of success. To be the wind beneath their wings.
Before she starts, however she needs to decide which side she will be on?
Yes, there is a side.
Will she uphold the rigid uncontested standards against the students, or will she try to go to battle along with her students, against those standards?
An unreflected life is just not worth living.
Being average is a disease.
God spits the lukewarm from his mouth.
Why not inspire a new set of standards, and that doesn’t mean, going rogue and ignoring the mandated ones.
Why not do more? Yes, more?
Why not do better? Why not question things? Why not teach the things we know will last? Things that will not very easily fade away or disappear with the coming of spring and a summer vacation?
Teachers have a choice to make.
They are either going to embrace the students, which means that sometimes, going against the rules, as some are indeed blind, deaf, and stupid. Or they will take the easier way, the path of least resistance, and shield themselves with the curriculum. They will be eager to beat each child into compliance and submission. The will be keen on putting another brick in the wall.
Picking a side is not just for teachers.
Everyone, at some point, must take a stand.
This is what separates a great parent, a photographer, a chef, dancer, accountant, police officer, athlete, you name it.
Picking a side is important.
What side we fight on matters.
I hope you get a good coffee this morning.
I hope you draw a line in the sand.
I hope you walk and stand on the right side.
Unless you’re dyslexic.
Then go to the left.