Friday, November 04, 2005

What the hell was I saying?

The title of this post was "Changing the Family" but it's now inaccurate given the amount of venomous spew that ended up on the page. It's not directed at anyone in particular, mind you. Mostly it just illustrates in extreme, graphic detail why I hate human beings and I look forward to the mother ship returning me to my native planet. And no, I haven't taken up with Lewis Farrakhan or Scientology. I just… y'know… support God's decision to destroy the earth by flood. Yeah. That's it.

New Title: And That's What's Fucking Wrong With The World.

Daily Dog says:

Changing the family is not a part of the deal, on the contrary.


Oh no. I know that's not a teacher's job. Parents are children's primary teachers. Parents get them for four, five years before teachers do. However, I think it's idiotic for schools to attempt to solve problems that the family should be solving. It takes the right away from the family, but it also takes away the responsibility. And I believe this is a larger philosophical problem with society, and the people making decisions for school districts. Of course, this does not help the immediate problem when Sally comes from a broken home and Billy doesn't have breakfast in the morning. I don't have the answers, I just know what's REALLY broken, and not what they're just trying to put a bandaid on.

I think encouraging and allowing parental involvement would be a good first step. I started off in one school where parents were EXPECTED to work in the cafeteria. Not as a monitor. Serving lunch. Two days a year, minimum. And yes, that meant that Theresa and Sean's dads had to take off half a day twice a year to do it. Of course, they were a private school and they could pull that kind of stuff. But ANY sort of involvement is a first step.

I think if you ask things of people, they will rise to the occasion (within reason). Expecting parents to do the things that parents were responsible for when I was a kid is a good start. Reading to your kid, teaching them please and thank you, teaching them to tie their shoes. That aint much, but it's a start. Otherwise, if you expect schools to do it, and do EVERYTHING (teach ethics, hygiene, sex, discipline, perseverance, SPELLING math, reading...) you might as well just hand your kid over to the state to raise. Then at least teachers would have 24 hrs a day to try to teach them all the things they should be learning outside of school and IN school, versus seven or eight.

Parents are the primary teachers. They have that RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY. When they send their children to school, they give up a PORTION of that right and responsibility. I think we have the wrong focus, as a society. I can't change that.

However, I can bitch about it. And trust me, I'm rethinking the whole teaching thing. Shit, I'm rethinking sending my kids to public school--or any kind of school for that matter. I am not one of those people who only wants to expose my child to my point of view. I'm very opinionated (and always right, of course), but I acknowledge my kid is going to have to exist with other points of view and other cultural perspectives, and exposing them to that early is just preparation for life, the way teaching kids to hunt and shoot used to be preparation for life in the real world.

And honestly, there are enough people who're running around with PhD's and every other damned letter after their name who lack intellectual empathy. They are just as stubborn about their own beliefs of right and wrong as the "Christian right" that they hate so dearly. There're "gems" everywhere. That's life in the real world, baybee. I think that was the thing that really burned my rubber about that passage in the book. More than the larger social issues in play which leads to even the discussion about whether to teach sex ed in school and HOW to teach sex ed in school, the abject intellectual elitist crap that was oozing from between the lines. They are only looking at the problem from one point of view, their own. It seems so blatantly obvious to the authors that the conservatives (and the tone of the book is "the [backwater and mentally deficient] conservatives" versus the correctly-thinking world) were wrong because the number of students having sex have gone up.

Of course, if you're looking at it from another point of view… it seems so blatantly obvious that sex ed in schools isn't working if these rates have gone up. But shit—cigarette smoking has gone up and drug use and drinking have gone up since they started with drug and health education. I saw the slides of the black lungs, I saw the cars wrapped around telephone poles, but I don't think it deterred my classmates. The argument seems to be… well, we need more money for it to make it work. And I'm like hey, obviously that method isn't working, statistically. Maybe, if they are going to teach about sex and drugs and smoking and drinking in school, they need to pick another approach. Not necessarily one that's politically correct, but one that's going to… oh, I don' t know… work.

This teacher seems to be funneling us with his essay questions towards championing one specific method of teaching, one specific philosophy, etc. I think an actual thinking individual can incorporate several into their own way of doing things. In the end, it doesn't matter how the information gets into kids heads. If you are a master story teller, and your kids are enraptured by your lectures, hey, go for it. If you are the roxor!!!111oneoneoneone with coming up with group activities, and it is WORKING, go for it. If you have to approach sex or evolution or whatever from different perspectives, go for it. If you have to do a combination of things to get a point across, go for it. Everyone learns differently, they have different perspectives, the goal is for them to know something when they're done, not feel good about it. It might make 'em mad to know something, but knowing's better than not.

While I'm thinking about it… oh my god, shut up about creationism/Darwinism/Big Bang/Intelligent Design. If one of the reasons people are sending their children to public school versus home schooling or private school is to expose them to ideas they wouldn't normally be exposed to, this is a two way street. SOME parents need to shut up about Darwinism/Big Bang, etc. It's a theory that people are going to refer to in the real world and talk about on TV. It's gunna come up. It'd be nice if your kids knew what the fuck people were talking about.

Some OTHER parents, administrators and people in the community need to shut up about creationism/Intelligent design. Like holy crap. This is something that they're going to be exposed to in the real world. It'd be cool if kids knew exactly what the hell people were talking about when they see people fighting on TV over creationism/evolution. It'd be nice if they knew that Creationism and intelligent design are NOT the same thing. These things are ideas. These ideas may offend someone, but they're just ideas. And in an academic setting, where many ideas are thrown around phillisophically or theoretically, they can't HURT ANYONE. Unless making someone think hurts their widdle brains. This goes both ways. Hearing the ideas of creationism is not going to burn off the ears of an Athiest. Hearing the ideas of Darwinism is not going to burn off the ears of a religious person.

I know this is hard, just presenting the facts without spin I remember them teaching Darwinism like it's God's honest truth as opposed to a THEORY with a lot of supporting evidence in high school. I did have one very cool science teacher in junior high, however, that made us pick ideas about the creation of the universe out of a hat, and we had to do a report on it. I learned a lot about different cultures beliefs, other scientific ideas, and we had a class discussion about what would need to be explained, or what would need to be true for any of these ideas about the creation of the universe to be true. We learned… *gasp* scientific inquiry, and what questions to ask about each idea. We also learned critical thinking, and how to discuss Big bang, the native American and Hindu ideas about the beginnings of the universe CIVILLY. In 7th grade. You know, shit people still can't do today. The only conclusion we came to was… that's very nice. For the context of this class you're going to be tested on your knowledge of the big bang theory. Life went on. We were smarter for being exposed to more ideas.

To a huge degree, schools need to stop passing judgment. I know there is a huge group of people with a huge amount of influence in the media, and in the way schools are run, that believe their ideas are SO CORRECT that they must save the rest of society from itself.

Pluralism is only appreciated with these people when we're talking about different colors of M&M's. Snickers, Mallow Cups and Twizzlers are obviously the "fringe," and are OBVIOUSLY wrong. How could people even ponder a world in which everyone doesn't eat M&M's. Nougat is for the unenlightened. I mean, why would you want nougat in a world where there's plain, peanut, peanut butter, crispy and almond M&M's. This was an analogy, for the people in you-know-where.

Mostly, I have disgust with the human race, and this is just a huge rant to that effect. I'm so sick of hearing about "the conservatives." I'm sick of hearing about "the Christian Right" as though they were some kind of blight on humanity (and I know there are a lot of people on the far left that think they're a blight and that they need to be 'reeducated' but that's another story for another time). The whole of humanity needs to take a fucking chill pill and back off.

At this point it's not so much about making sure people are prepared for the real world. If that were the case, 12th graders know what someone's saying when they blurt out "holy shit! what do you want, a pound of flesh!?" Which isn't exactly what the Bard (of course, they have no fucking idea why we call Shakespeare "the bard" anyways) wrote in The Merchant of Venice. They'd also know who the fuck wrote "Why the Caged Bird Sings." Asshats.

We've successfully sanitized the public education of anything that could create controvercy with a MINORITY of people (squeeky wheel gets oiled) to the point where it lacks things like, y'know... CONTENT. All we worry about are fluffy little ideals.

Perhaps if we didn't spend so much fucking time teaching them some idiotic explicit lesson focused on a textbook definition of "diversity" they'd have the time to actually be exposed without prejudice to a wide range of ideas, concepts and people. Kids probably learn the implicit lesson harder and faster than the explicit. You can drill "diversity" and "tolerance" into kids with worksheets and stupid little games, but if you discriminate against people because of their ideas or beliefs, THAT is what they'll believe. They'll talk the tolerance game (oh my god, I hate these people) but they look down their nose at anyone who does not believe as they do.

Having beliefs and sticking to them is a mark of character. However, you still have to live in a world full of people who don't believe as you do. I don't want far-right fundamentalist Christianity shoved down my throat any more than I want far-left ultra-liberal ideology shoved down my throat.

Y'know what?? You're welcome to disagree with me. We have people who fought and died for our right to disagree and dissent. I have a right to say what I'm saying. You have a right to disagree with me and tell me my opinions on education and society are naive or narrow-minded or whatever the fuck. Your right to freedom of speech doesn't mean I haveta shut up, however. No matter how much smarter or more enlightened than me you happen to be. Even those fucking idiots who're raising little racist Nazi Olsen Twins have a right to be fucking idiots as long as they're not doing anything illegal while they're being fucking idiot hate-mongers.

Freedom of speech means several things: you can counter my argument, you can walk away. You can click on the little X to make my words stop burning your eyeballs. I don't care. I haveta listen to everyone else's' bullshit. It's time it went both ways, baybee.

Ps. This comes out to four single-spaced pages in Word. Thank you, Blogger for Word.

pss- I realize that I'll now never be able to get a job in a school after all the swear words I've used in this post. I blame The Way Back Machine. Memory fades, a Google search never dies.

4 Comments:

Blogger sexierexie said...

Great blog.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Daily Dog said...

Hey

I don't know what happened there. I never meant to end up or come across as vicious spew. Your words just made me think about my own experiences and that's what I was trying to share. I'm sorry it ended up all wrong. I understand what you're trying to say. I also see your problem with your textbook and your teacher. Just think about it as a fase you have to get through, however unfortunate that may be. I was trained as a teacher in a catholic university. I was hired by a state school and went there totally oblivious of the 'real world'. I remembered later that one of my textbooks mentioned that a school is a mirror of society and I guess that is true. You'll become a teacher and chances are you will teach from a certain perspective, whether you are aware of it or not. It's the same thing with your textbook and teacher now. All you have to do is use a good filter. Keep the stuff that's good, get rid of the stuff you don't agree with after you take the exam or write the paper or whatever. Funny that I blogged about religion today... I know I'm chaotic in my writing. I probably don't address a lot of the issues you mention and I'm very far from having a clue about the situation in America. Just... I'm on the same side. Don't be mad.

PS: if no school will hire you, I think there's a great career opportunity as a writer. This post was extremely well written. Is anger always your fuel?

4:52 PM  
Blogger TLG said...

Anger, caffine and sugar. The usual.

Yeah, usually the long rants are the result of me getting piss off. As I said in the post, I wasn't mad at you at all. Just the world LOL.

I think it was low blood sugar :)

I know when I'm actually in the "trenches" (library/classroom) that I have to deal with what I've got, and have to leave the philosophical issues to someone else. I also know everybody has a perspective, and that's going to come across. There is no such thing as "objective" when you get human beings involved. However, I think schools can stand to be more open-minded, and at least TRY to tolerate opinions that they dont consider to be mainstream.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Daily Dog said...

Here in Belgium the schools are quite willing, but it's the 'high and mighty' above who decide... and yes, the parents too...

At one time we wanted to replace plain detention with cleaning duty. You know send the kids to the playground and have them pick up the rubbish. The parents were outraged and started a debate they actually won.

Oh, and about the food. I have the same problem. Have you thought about 'diet' products (cookies, bars, shakes,...). You know the ones that advertise they contain all necessary vitamins and stuff. They come in all flavours (in the US probably a zillion) and some of them taste quite good and since you're not on a diet (I think) you just drink or eat as much of them as you like. My two other alternatives were soup and 'Fruit and Firbre' with soy milk and some sugar.

5:30 AM  

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