Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Can't you just give us the answer? Back in March I found, via Joanne Jacobs, one of the most depressing accounts of education (or a procedure given the name of education) that I have ever read. The writer has taken over a science class from another teacher.
It was and is honestly offensive to me how negligent this teacher was. There was no learning occuring. None. Not even that most basic, fact memorization-and-recall! These kids would have been better off just reading all period -- at least there would have been some modicum of mental stimulation!

There would be times when I would have a student read the paragraph with the answer, read the paragraph with the answer myself, then ask the question which directly referenced the paragraph with the answer, and be met by a classful of blank stares. Usually followed by the delightful incantation:

"This is whack! Can't you just give us the answer like our teacher always does?"

I'm distressed, I'm disappointed, and I'm angry. I've never experienced educational deprivation like that, never dreamed it could possibly exist to that degree in this day and age. You want to talk about accountability? Any accountability system which doesn't instantly peg this classroom as deficient isn't worth its weight in mud. Yet I have a desparately sad idea that when all is said and done, the school will find some way to herd the kids through the SOLs, or else the state will find some way to hide them away.

The comments to this post are also worthwhile but not enjoyable reading.

I first read this in March. Why post about it now? Because while I was walking the dog with Immature Zygote A recently, I sermonized mightily on the benefits to my education that arose from the fact that some of my teachers were useless. It forced me to take my destiny in my own hands, I said. Made me stand on my own two feet. I may even have said that it was my useless teachers that made the British Empire great.

The latter hypothesis may not stand up to detailed historical scrutiny, yet I think there's something in it.

Only you need to have been properly educated past a certain threshold first.