I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

27 July 2012

The Inexperienced Leading the Uncredentialed

Dear Match Graduate Program in Education,

I think this Answer Sheet column sums up the big problems - the general deficit approach to poor students of color, the lack of agency and responsibility granted to students, etc. - but they neglect to condemn some stylistic issues.  Presumably, they're letting readers make their own judgements, and maintaining civility.

I have no such compunctions.  Therefore:

  1. Maybe it's because I wasn't the kind of kid who "succeeded in school when given freedom", but it alarms me that you assume high-needs children must have their freedoms restricted to succeed. It's not just deficit, it's damaging.  If we do not teach children how the powers that be expect them to act in low-structure environments, we are condemning them to fail.  Besides, I bet your students do very well in many high-freedom situations - you just don't bother to identify any that might be different than those with which you grew up.
  2. LOLCats?  No, seriously: you illustrate points with LOLCats?  Wrong on so many levels.
  3. Despite my serious muscles, I never attempt to "bad-ass" my way through a classroom.  And yet my students respect me.  Perhaps this has to do with my assumption that given the proper explanations for why I want something done in a certain way, they'll agree to do it.  You know: I respect my students enough to believe they deserve to understand my reasoning.
  4. Speaking for my fellow ADHD, you can make us sit up straight but you can't make us learn that way.  Sitting up straight takes so much energy I don't have that much for actual learning.  I look good, though.
  5. Children behave as we expect them to.  If we expect them to run wild through the halls and demand therefore that they do exactly as we say - silent prisonwalking - sure, they may do it.  They'll also come to understand that you don't believe they could control themselves in any other way.  That's not a lesson I want to teach.
More broadly, I always think it's funny how unmanaged my students must look to these charter types.  Yet my students learn the content I teach and practice critical thinking.  How do they think I get these results?  Do they assume they're false?  I truly don't get it.  The way I teach isn't that odd or unique.  I have to assume that these kids look, figure the results are poor, and condemn it.

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