November 10, 2015 by readlisaread
Recently, I got into an argument with someone who is very special to me. Despite my love and affection for this person, as I reread the words I wrote a few days ago, I see that my love for my craft is also very great. I was reacting to something my friend said about the need for competition. Our conversation had started on the phone, but finished via text (my last one below, in its entirety). And then there was a few days of silence. And then my friend offered an olive branch, and explained that my sanctimonious tone was not appreciated. One of the things I have witnessed over the years is a tendency to a strident tone of voice when teachers speak (rant…) about social justice, as if we are the only ones who care… And so I offer the following up humbly– it is heartfelt, and I do mean every word– but I am aware and open to the criticisms my friend offered. Sometimes I do need that hard look in the mirror.
“Not every child in the province comes from a home with a university educated mommy and daddy. Some kids arrive with empty bellies and no winter coats. Some kids are bored and brilliant, some are dull and disruptive. Looking backwards will never provide a solution for the future. We do not know what the future looks like, but we have to prepare our kids for it anyway. We do not want to churn out robots. We do not need kids to be able to regurgitate facts and figures. They carry computers in their pockets that will look up any fact, we need to raise human beings who know what to do with that information. How to problem solve, think creatively, be compassionate and self motivated. The kids you are concerned about make up a very, very small percentage of all the kids who walk through our doors. We are building a system that will allow all kids to thrive, not just the 10% headed to post sec. The BCTF is one of the old structures that needs to evolve. So does the bc libs elitist point of view. If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, I feel we play a huge role in turning out the citizens who are both the victims and the heroes of that scenario. Memorizing the multiplication tables and knowing how to spell obfuscation are completely irrelevant skills in a world where information doubles every few years. If the measure of success you use is money, the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world don’t give a shit about magna cum laude. They hire creative problem solvers who can innovate and code. The Kielbergers don’t care about letters behind names either. I’ve taught both sorts of kids, successfully, and the kid who is looking around to see if he beat his neighbour’s score is NOT the kid who wants to do and be his best, he just wants to do better than his friend. That is not the sort of citizen I want to nurture. Compassion, global awareness, passion for learning, self confidence, problem solving abilities and understanding systems will be the hallmarks of the well-educated 21st century learner. We are still #3 in the FISA tables, despite our mollycoddling ways. We can educate kids and drive social change, regardless of how your (private school) buddies may scoff.”
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