Friday, February 24, 2006

Stupidity

I have determined that my child will not be stupid. I will not allow it.

Many of the students I teach, while generally intelligent kids (on average), are completely brainless when it comes to school. For instance, today I had to give the same directions on where we were beginning three times in a row. I have spent the entire week with one of my classes working on a single exercise—ONE—when we usually get 5-7 completed each week. In another class, I gave a test and at least 50% of the students failed to read the directions. Or if they read them, they didn’t follow them. These kids have brains, they just don’t use them! Is this just how it is today? Are all children like this?

The sad reality is that these children are the future of our country. It is especially sad when you compare our country’s education system with Asian education and what kind of future they have for their country. And I teach at a private school! I can only imagine the atrocities of a public education.

I find it extremely exasperating and frightening. Most of my students are not slow or stupid. They’re just lazy. They’ve had a lifetime of lowered expectations and educational spoon-feeding. God forbid that they actually have to think, study, or make an effort!

I want better for my child.

7 comments:

Jana Swartwood said...

I don't think it has as much to do with public vs. private education so much as it does the way our society promotes laziness. Not to sound like an old-fashioned stick in the mud, but how much more focused were people (children and adults) before there were video games? Before there were 17 million television stations? Before fast food? Before (gasp!) the Internet?

We have conditioned ourselves, as a society, to want our answers right away and to put the least amount of effort possible into whatever we are doing. We have discouraged respect (watch pretty much any television show geared toward children or young adults and you'll see that) and encouraged smart-aleck responses.

I am glad that you are thinking about this, because you can be proactive in helping keep these elements from making your child stupid. The influences will still be there, but as a parent, you have the opportunity to instill discipline in your child from the very beginning.

Christie Breland said...

Jana, I think you're right. I went to a public school and I did very well, although if I were being honest, I wouldn't say that I always worked to my full potential. I never had to. It makes me wonder what I can do (if I have a smart child) to encourage them to go above and beyond average when mediocre will get them the grade. And what can I do to combat the effects of modern society?

My family is very casual, and I was never required to say "Yes, Ma'am" or "No, Sir." A simple yes or no sufficed when I was growing up. Brandon, however, was raised in the south, and he still says ma'am and sir (a habit that drove my parents nuts for quite some time!). To be honest, I never really saw the need for it until I became a teacher. Now I can see what a huge difference it makes; its respect, courtesy, and all the other things that our society is railing against. And despite what I may have said in the past, we will definitely teach our child to speak with respect for others.

But what about teaching hard work, focus, and discipline? And once they start school, how do you make the most of the little time that they spend at home when they're learning laziness and disrespect from their peers?

I feel as if I'm lacking when it comes to this part of raising a child!

Jana Swartwood said...

Your "ma'am" and "sir" comments make me think of Mr. Holland's Opus," where he tells his students that he will address them all as Mr. [fill in the blank] or Miss [fill in the blank] because he respects them, and he will expect them to address him with respect in return.

As for your other questions, so much comes down to the sorts of friendships they develop. I was always friends with high-achievers, and they were that iron to sharpen mine. If I had, say, been closer to other people I know, I might now be in Hawaii growing weed.

But there are so many things that are going to be out of your control (which is very hard for people who like to be in control, which you do and I do as well). And it's ok. But you'll pray a lot. And you and Brandon will make the best parenting decisions you can, and it will all work out ok. Who knows? Maybe you'll be like your mom and know everything about your son/daughter without them telling you! :)

(But if you start talking about the cocita fire, I'll have to laugh at you.)

Christie Breland said...

Jai,
Thanks for the encouragement and the good laugh! We don't have a cocita at my house, but we do have a storage shed... Somehow "the storage shed fire" doesn't have the same ring to it!

Faydra Stratton said...

It's ok if your kid is stupid, so long as he's good looking.

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