mindGrazing

chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

So frustrated…

Posted by Jason on December 11, 2008

It’s been a rough two days in the teaching world of this not-so-illustrious author. I’m really frustrated and don’t feel like writing anything of substance… Any attempt at writing something would betray my major pissed-off-ness at my young students. Some days I feel like teaching them how to use a shovel or how to say, “You want fries with that?” is more useful and would be much easier than what I’m trying to do with them.

A former student who moved away to a rich part of town over summer came back to our little refugee camp of a neighborhood. Her mom married a rich white guy and 4 months later they divorced. The poor girl had a pretty good outlook on it, but she really didn’t like where she was living. Said it was “too white.” It was good to see her, since she’s a sweetie (despite the fact that she told me to fuck off last year in a fit of rage). She’s actually one of my better students…

Sometimes I think we should follow the European style of education, where students must pass a test to get into higher levels of scholarship. The American notion that everyone can succeed and that everyone can go to college is silly. There are always going to be poor people, and there are always going to be stupid people. Why try to make everyone equal when they are not and never will be? The Europeans generally give tests at certain grade levels, and how well you do on these tests determines whether or not you will go to Trade School, or go to University, etc. 

Americans are so against this “tracking,” and have made it illegal to do in schools. However, tracking happens anyway because schools mandate that there be different levels available to all kids. The smart kids hop on the AP/IB track. Middle of the road kids generally do “College Prep” work in high school. The dumb kids are in remedial. Now, I agree that students should be met at their level in order to bring them up. However, when does that stop? Do we have remediated college programs that still get the student the same degree as someone who was excellent? 

I don’t know, but I’d like to leave you with a quote from a fellow teacher:

“I see a shovel and an orange vest somewhere in that boy’s future…”

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6 Responses to “So frustrated…”

  1. Schevus said

    “Do we have remediated college programs that still get the student the same degree as someone who was excellent?”

    This is a tough question, because the answer is multi-faceted. On a high level, I would say that community colleges and trade schools are intended for the “remedial” students. Unfortunately in our country which school you go to often has more to do with how much money you have / are willing to go into debt for. A brilliant student can not earn any scholarships (or enough scholarships) and end up having to attend a community college because of their economic situation.

    With that said, I have also personally witnessed countless “dumb” students at higher level colleges. The state of our higher education in the U.S. is really saddening when viewed from the inside. Unless you are at a top tier school (and I can’t even personally speak for those), the vast majority of students don’t care about learning – they are just there for that piece of paper that might get them more money.

    Maybe that is why our companies are cratering. If Joe CEO had paid a little more attention in economics or accounting, maybe he would realize that blowing millions on corporate retreats and conferences when your company is deep in the red is a BAD idea.

    – Schev

  2. Wifey said

    “Maybe that is why our companies are cratering. If Joe CEO had paid a little more attention in economics or accounting, maybe he would realize that blowing millions on corporate retreats and conferences when your company is deep in the red is a BAD idea”

    i thought that was called common sense! joking aside, though, great thought.

  3. Schevus said

    Wifey,

    That obviously helps too, but I keep myself sane by thinking that business mistakes are being made that are causing a lot of the corporate problems.

    – Schev

  4. Wifey said

    i wonder how many of these people actually have a business/management background, and how studious they were in their classes (if they took the business classes). maybe, like doctors and teachers and the like, business CEOs (of HUGE corporations) should be required to earn a certain number of class units every so many years in order to maintain their status as CEO. there are so many business out there that are run by clueless people. or have some form of auditing like non-profits are required to have.

    or maybe it’s just plain greed that causes their actions, even though they really know better. power corrupts.

  5. Jason said

    Schev you should check out wifey’s company, Floresta, USA. It’s not domestic aid, but I think you’ll like what they have to offer.That’s where I get a lot of my social justice ideas, in addition to things like, oh you know, the bible…

  6. Schevus said

    Looks like a commendable organization. Always heartening to see more people doing good for the world.

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