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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Now I'm a Pissed Off Housewife

and I'll tell you about it when I get back from the school.

I did art with the eighth graders this morning. They are finishing up their collaged canvasses. Once again I'm struck by how wonderful the kids all are--brilliant and funny and real. This is what I will always miss about teaching--the kids. Even the kids that can be difficult are terrific when you finally make that connection. And that's what we all want, after all, isn't it? A real connection to other human beings.

I'm going to try and get signed permission slips so that I can scan their artwork and post some of it here for everyone to see.

What I was so pissed off about this morning still has my stomach churning. And I feel like Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz when she says in a wavery, crying voice, "Elvira Gulch, I've always wanted to say what I think, and now, because I'm a good Christian woman (substitute school board member here), well, I can't say it."

I taught math (and English) for nine years at the high school level. During my last year of teaching, when I was pregnant with Joel, my schedule consisted of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Math Analysis (Trig), and AP Calculus. I tell you this so that you understand my background--I'm a mom--yes. I'm a board member--yes. I'm married to a school administrator--yes. But at the heart of it all, I still mostly come at things from the point of view of a teacher. I want kids to learn the things they're supposed to. I want teachers to work with kids (and parents) to try and make sure that this happens. It's not about the grade, although many parents are satisfied with a good grade (and assume that learning is taking place). IT'S NOT ABOUT THE RIGHT ANSWER--it's about understanding. And teachers should know that and act on it. There is a difference between understanding a concept and getting the right answer, and for me, the former is vastly more important than the latter.

In general I'm just frustrated and disappointed. And I do wish I could be more specific, but (sob) I can't. I just think that in the long run school should be about learning and understanding, not about grades. Sometimes there is a correlation between the two, but when there's not, you don't raise one to mask a lack of the other.



tammy vitale said...

I'm thinking there is something in the air today.....hope things are ok.

martha said...

Hi Karen
I like your post on school. I did battle with hish school admn quilte a bit whenI had a bi polar kid in the system. It seems to work fine (adeuate?) for kids who are not struggling, but add the stuggle and you have a diferent picture. The latest post did not have a link for comment so I commented here instead!
Love your wrk!!!

Housewife said...

Oh honey, I'm in such good company now.