That seems to be the idea behind every single education reform I get to read here or there. A raw material (a child) comes into the factory (the school) gets work on (education, that is really supposed to be instruction, not education – that is a parent’s job, not teachers) get molded (practice for tests), painted (here are the answers), built (tested and retested in futile attempts at measurements) and comes out a finished product (all graduate and go to college).
First, one thing, not everyone is meant to go to college. It has nothing to do with smart, intelligence or capacities. It simply has to do with life decisions. That blue sea you like is actually annoying to others, go figure! We are like Basking Robins’ ice-cream, there are (or used to be last time I checked) 31 flavors. We come in all shapes, sizes and interest-driven individuals. There are artists, scientist, welders, doctors, builders, and plain and simple, lazies (hopefully not too many of this last group).
My solution to the stupidity I witness as a school teacher? Ok, sit down. It is quite simple. So simple that it won’t work. Why, cause the power to be do not want it to work… and it would take what we don’t have, community.
First, you take one highly skill (whatever that means in your local area) teacher and put him/her in charge of the instruction (remember that education really is manners, behavior, etc, that mom and dad teach, not the teacher!). You make sure there are no more than 20 children in that classroom, no matter the age, or the grade, and specially, do not just “dump” multiple classes in what you call “exploratory”, “specialist”, or otherwise “support” classes. That is the biggest B.S. I have seen, right there at same level with standardized testing. I saw any one of this professional teachers (including myself) been turn into no more than a security guard for 40 to 60 kids and keep them from killing each other. Because in that environment, who can teach? Oh, and you that like to blame teachers, can you handle 4 hour with your 4 “precious” angels? Imagine us with 40 of those for 7 hours!
Ok, so we have one highly skill teacher, 20 kids. Done, right? Nope! You then have an assistant for each, and yes EACH, teacher. That makes two adults to 20 children/students. The assistants do not need more than a high school degree. But does all the training necessary for behavior control, monitoring, mentoring, etc. CPR, Child Abuse identification strategies… in all, the same post college training that teachers need to go through every year. That makes two responsible adults, that know every child by name (and both names), their families, their home situations, etc. and can work with those children all day long, or the time that they spend at those adults’ hands.
That would free the “highly” skill teacher to do what? Teach! The assistant would control that unruly kid that keeps messing around, not by force, but by “TLC” (tender loving care), or a kick on the butt when needed… no, just kidding.
That solves two problems. 1. Enough adults in a school to handle the teaching, and the un-employment plight that the country sees at this time. And for those teachers that will hate me after the next idea, woohooooo… grow up!
Teachers should be cap at $40,000 a year. No more. Higher pay is not the answer. Anyone that can not live on a $3,000 a month paycheck can kiss my rear end. I did, and love it. But in reality, I just need $2,000. Which brings me to the assistants. They do not have to go to college. They can make 1,500 a month on a high school diploma, as long as they keep the regular trainings going, and all the licensing like CPR and such. And that paycheck for 12 months and have summers off! Please, greedy people! You will not have a community if you don’t stop the egocentric mentality! These are your children we are talking about.
Now comes the work day part. It is statistically proven that children that leaver school early (say they are in school from 7:15 to 2:15 (my old school did) have a tendency to get in trouble faster and more likely. Who is at home, if mom and dad have to work? No one. No teacher wants to admit this because then “you are required to call child services”. For what, to trow them in a overcrowded foster home where the person there is not really “there”, they just want the money? And that helps the children how again?
Any way, we had gang problems in an elementary school… what was that about??? These were kids that don’t know how to clean their rear end and they are trying to be big boys and girls??? what???
So, here is an idea. Lets take one grade, one group (for those schools that have multiple groups in each grade), all day long.
1. A Teacher comes to school at around 6:00 am, one hour before the students, gets ready, makes final lesson plans, gets room ready, reads previous day’s reports, etc. starts working with say class/group around 7:00 am until 2:00 pm and is done (8hrs.).
2. His/her assistant starts at same time or maybe makes it to school when school actually opens at 7:00 am and works until 2:00 pm (7hrs). (1,500 a month for 7 hrs 5 day weeks… !)
3. Another teacher comes in at 12:00 noon and works until 8:00 pm with same class (class leaves at 7:00 pm). From 12:00 to 1:00, reads reports, finishes plans, makes calls for mom, dad, etc. takes charge of the class at 1:00 pm.
4. His/her assistant arriving at 1:00 and leaving at same time (8:00 pm). Again, 7 hrs! And lunch hour is paid, by the way.
5. The first teacher has one hour (1:00 to 2:00 pm) after second teacher takes over to be in charge of the class, where he/she wraps up the day and gets ready for next day, read daily reports, finish lesson plans, call parents, etc.
This would make a 12 hour school day for children but wait, I said WAIT!!!! That does not mean 12 hours of math, or science… etc. It means that child gets arts, math, science, language(s), history(ies), sports, gym, etc, plus maybe clubs, like art club, chess club, outings to the outdoors, adventures, nature… etc. That would make the Saturdays, and Sundays, and holidays a home thing that does not need to be interrupted for this stuff, unless the family wants to do it together. It would allow students to really find who and what they want to do when they grow up. No testing would be ideal, but is asking too much… or is it?
Are we ready for this… naaaaaahhhh For this to work people need to cooperate, and could be considered the very, very, very bad idea of community… that could be confused with communism… which can be… well, hell, the same. Oh, no… I said the word!!! runn…. the communist are coming…
Have we grown up enough? I do not believe so. Can we make this work? Of course. But it will take a lot of work from “visionaries” or like some other call them, rebels.
So, if anyone out there wants to use this “crazy” idea and make it work, go right ahead, you can even keep the credit. I do not need the recognition, but it would be nice! 🙂
See you around, and keep instructing the students (get it, no education…)