Friday, August 25, 2006

I Went to a REAL School

It seems like DH and I are forever making comments about how come we learned so much more in elementary school than today's children do.

Considering that I taught fourth and fifth graders for most of my 25 years of elementary school, that's pretty bad for me to be saying.

But I think I know why.

Nowadays teachers are mandated to teach so many minutes of humane treatment of animals, so much for character education, so much for drug awareness education, conduct scoliosis tests, get students ready for standardized testing, remediate students who do poorly on the standardized tests, juggle class scheduling to accomodate all sorts of mentally, physically, emotionally, or language impaired students, and the list goes on and on.

When I was in Grammar School (1-8), we had an Auditorium Period once or twice every week. We put on plays, recited poetry from memory, learned speeches, and provided an audience for other classes' performances, too. We had a Library time, where we were expected to choose a book and write a book report each week. We went to Art and Music, too.

So what happened back then to the humane treatment of animals and other such programs???? Children learned those values AT HOME!

How about the children who were impaired in some way?? This was a serious negative back then, that we "normal" children were never even aware of. "Handicapped" children were hidden away in substandard, for the most part, schools of their own, and they never interacted with the regular school population.

And how about standardized tests??? There weren't any! Classroom discipline problems were relatively rare, so teachers had more time to teach. Parents, for the most part, reinforced the importance of school and homework.

Is it any wonder we learned more?

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jan said...

At my school district we had a superintendent and a principal at each school.The high school had a guidance counselor who taught only part time. I'm afraid to tell you how many administrative positions there are today in that school district. They are all paid quite well and I'm sure they all keep very busy but whatever they do is not directly concerned with teaching students.

Dirty Butter said...

Jan, there have always been too many Central Office staff at our county's Board of Education, as long as I was teaching there. And it seems to be getting worse.

The formula seems to be to spend more money at the top and leave less to spend in the classroom.

My other pet peeve is the fancy schools they build these days. I know they want them to be inviting, and not look like prisons the way ours did, but good grief, they've gone to the other extreme!

jan said...

I read once that the best education is the teacher at one end of the log and the student at the other.

Dirty Butter said...

Jan, I would think that would be the premise of home schooling. I always enjoyed one on one tutoring, as I could pace everything for that individual child. It was so easy to tell what was working and what wasn't. I always knew when to move on and what to review. I didn't need tests to tell me how the child was doing, either. They can be time wasters, too, if you're not careful.

Norma said...

I did my Monday Memories on elementary school this week. Although I think teachers are burdened by a lot of extras these days, in many ways, schools are better than when I attended in the 1950s. I was an A student--and I think we did well regardless. There was little patience for children who learned differently or struggled.

Dirty Butter said...

You are certainly correct, Norma, that today's schools do a better job of helping those students whose learning styles are different from the majority of the students in the class.

As for those children with physical difficulties, they didn't have a chance to participate with the regular school population at all. For those kinds of students, today's school are most definitely better. High achievers also get more services than they used to get.

It's the ones in the middle that get less attention today than they used to get. In the 50's everything was geared to help them, and others were left to fend for themselves, which meant either repeat a grade, or stay in trouble due to boredom.