Woe Nellie…Slow Down

As an educator, I have been on a wild run-away horse ride for at least 15 years.  Every year someone comes out with the latest and greatest method of teaching.  It is the miracle elixir that will make children want to learn.  Guess what people?  It hasn’t worked yet, and will never work. Kids will be kids.  They want to have fun.  They don’t want to sit in a desk for six to eight hours and study math, science, history, and literature.  Would you?  I would rather be outside running, skipping, jumping, singing, playing, digging in the dirt…It doesn’t matter how we try to disguise education, it is still education.  Kids get this.

Because our students were not doing as well as “they” wanted, the national government took over.  Obviously, they knew more because they have done such a great job with America!   No Child Left Behind left almost all children behind and Common Core/Race to the Top hasn’t been any better.  The one area that I agree with is that every school in every state  should be teaching the same curriculum.  The problems I have come after that.

How we teach and the speed we teach/learn must change.  First, and foremost, we need to slow down.  The current curriculum is so crammed full of unnecessary “stuff” that the children are not learning the basics.  Sometimes, less is more.  Let’s make sure our children can read, write, and do basic math on their level before we move on.

Next, let’s update our curriculum to today’s and tomorrow’s needs.  All schools, including colleges, need to be asking what the businesses of today and tomorrow need.  I, personally, am getting tired of trying to help my children reach college’s antiquated needs, instead of the 21st Century needs and beyond.  In my first 15 years in the business world, not one company asked me about Shakespeare, or even needed me to know that information.  They didn’t ask me how to solve one algebraic equation either.  Look, I know that these subjects teach us problem solving and life skills/empathy…, but I did not know how to write a proper letter, address an envelope, use basic math to solve equations.  To be perfectly honest, those subjects didn’t really teach me problem solving or life skills either.

Maybe we should add philosophy, debate, math for real life, business writing, civics, a class on problem solving…What do you think?  What classes should we have to prepare our children for future business and life?



Burned out, but not giving up

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him…Psalm 37:7

After the Christmas holidays, I have noted that there are too many articles on teacher burnout.  I understand this crisis because, I too, experience it now and again.  We all do no matter what we do for a living.  Sometimes we just get sick and tired.

After taking a two week break from writing my blog due to being sick, and re-sick, I have had a hard time bouncing back and feel the burn myself.  I can’t really tell you why we burn out.  Perhaps it is because we wake up early, put all our thoughts and energy into our workplace, and then go home and give all our thoughts and energy to our family, go to bed (usually too late at night), and do it all again day after day.  I’m thinking that America should adopt the Spanish siesta in the afternoon.  Why do we feel that we must work so hard, like our lives depended on it, till we reach exhaustion?  Oh, yeah, our lives, and those of our family, do depend on it.  What is wrong with this system?

Anyway, I decided to try and find some peace at my workplace.  I decided that I would put pictures and accessories on my desk that would give me peace and make me feel stress free.  So off I went to the local Walmart to buy a fake plant (because I have an inside classroom without any sunlight) that would provide me with some nature, a devotional calendar to meet my spiritual needs, some positive “sayings” that will meet my emotional/mental needs, and now I am in search of small card-size pictures of beautiful places from around the world to remind me of God’s beautiful world and, again, bring nature inside.  I am hoping that these items will help me from burning out.  Oh, I also brought some “stress-free” spray as well.

Now, I am curious what you do to help burn out.  Do you decorate your work place? Do you seek your peace/stress-free life elsewhere?  Please respond and let me know.  Maybe, together, we can create a list to share with others.  Let’s save the world from the burn!