Common Crap in our Schools
I am so sick and tired of the language used to push education reforms. Any teacher who has been around the block a few times has seen a few of these come and go and it’s always the same bag of burning dog feces wrapped up with a different pretty bow.
I was just reading an article pushing the Common Core standards and I just want to scream. America, please tell me you aren’t so easily manipulated!
Ok, before I put something out there that will prevent me from finding any future employment let me say that my problem has nothing to do with the actual standards. In theory, they actually have some merit. My problem is the underhanded and manipulative violation of the English language being used to promote this nonsense.
The article I read talked about some brilliant and creative young teachers who were coming up with innovative ways to help motivate and educate students.
My Problem: Standards and strategies are two completely different things. This article had nothing to do with Common Core, it was just a couple of stories about some great teachers doing great things. Just because your school implements Common Core Standards does mot mean that every bit of good that happens there is purely the result of Common Core Standards! But down in my stomach I know that thousands of teachers read the article and said to themselves “Wow, that teacher handled that situation in a really interesting and effective way! Common Core is great! Let me get in on that!”
If any of you are familiar with the comedian Lewis Black, please imagine me responding with the same level of frustration, confusion and mental instability when I say
“Are you f*&^%ng serious?! Those weren’t the god damn standards; that was just a teacher bribing a student with food! Just because a f&*^%Ng pack of fruit snacks contains 100% of your daily vitamin C doesn’t make it a standards based biology lesson!”
To take this madness disguised as the Easter bunny even further, we teachers are presented ad nauseam with one of the most ridiculous pieces of administrative crap ever created (and I don’t fault the administrators, they are just saying it because they can’t afford to lose their jobs either).
Jesus Christ almighty! If our students ever sat in on a faculty meeting they would laugh in our faces. What the hell does that mean? What human being doesn’t attempt to use “best practices” in every gosh darn thing they do? What is next, publishing a book of “best practices” for wiping your ass?
I can picture it now; mothers all over America criticizing their children (and husbands) for not implementing ‘best practices’ while using the bathroom upon noticing a little urine on the seat.
What is being said here? While the purpose may be to share new and innovative ways to educate our children, what is really being drilled in our brains is “your teaching sucks, you need to do it my way”. Teachers aren’t angry and cynical because of rowdy students or low pay – it is the result of a system that is just as demeaning to our intelligence as we can sometimes unintentionally be to our own students. It is a cycle of implied superiority that creates an atmosphere of resentment, low self-confidence and frustration at every level.
The part that really gets me mad is that there really isn’t any person to be mad at; no focal point for my anger. Administrators care just as much about students as us teachers, and they are just as annoyed with the state of education in our country.
We are all trying to fix things, but we need to remember that it isn’t the people that need to be fixed, it is the system itself. The challenge is that we live in a world where everyone takes things so personally. You can’t criticize anything without criticizing every person that was involved in its creation or implementation. So we are left with the choice between holding back our words or preparing to do battle. It doesn’t need to be this way. Most of us are probably familiar with “the four agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz;
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
I have put extensive thought into these wise words but have always found the philosophy redundant. If we all simply learn not to take anything personally I believe the other three become quite irrelevant. Think about it – it is a revelation far more meaningful when you connect the dots by yourself so I am going to avoid discussing it any further.
That said, as we are in a world that takes everything personally, you should probably also try a little harder to be impeccable with your words, you idiot.