Insanity Is When You Do The Same Thing Over And Over, Expecting Different ResultsI find High School depressing.
I found it that way when I was a student - and now that I'm a teacher, it is even more depressing.
I mean, I became a teacher by a strange route. I never intended to be a high school teacher. Nope, I was going to be an Engineer. I was going to design aircraft and computers, and maybe - spacecraft.
But...I needed money to go to school, and I took the standard American Route - a stint in the military, the GI Bill, and I was going to College after that.
I hit the real world, and found things that just were not what I learned in school. Heh.
A Lot of my military career was spent in places where I spent a lot of my time protecting helpless people from the scum that oppressed them. No, that's not jingo propaganda; it is the truth as I saw it. (Shrug) Believe it -or not. I could care less. That is SO not what I came to discuss.
I wound up staying in, and moving up, and resolved to leave when it stopped being fun. That came in April 2003, in a place called Baghdad.
I disagreed with the policy recommendations of the high ranking suits sent out from Washington. I disagreed violently, because they were letting their ideology blind them to the realities of the situation.
"When ambushed and outnumbered, there is no shame in retreat." - Sun Tzu
I got told to either retire, or there would be - "consequences". Yeah, "consequences” - I'd thought that was something out of stupid Hollywood movies, until it happened to me.
I retired, and came back to the US. I took the Troops-to-Teachers option, and put my engineering Degree, and my Master's in management, to work trying to teach inner city kids to get ahead in the world.
Just as I'd once spent time getting food, and medicine and shelter and safety to the refugees and homeless in so much of the Third World, I wanted to come home and do the same thing for my own people.
I look back on this and think "what a freaking naïf I was."
You see, I'm an Engineer. I see problems, I look at conditions, resources, and I want to solve the problem, the best way I know how.
Stuff like ideology, and philosophy, if it has no bearing on the solution, I want to ignore it as so much socio-political horse manure. Unless, of course, socio-political horse manure is part of the problem....and I totally resent it when that happens.
Because, you see, I look at American Education - as an Engineer? - and I see a totally, absolutely patched up, plastered up, Rube Goldberg machine that would disgust the sensibilities of just about anybody that took an ob
But sometimes, I think I'm the only one that can see it.
Let me try to explain this. Are you Left-handed - or know anybody left handed? Ever see a left handed person forced to write with their right hand?
It does not work. It can cause aphasia, stuttering, mental trauma, all sorts of problems. It is well documented.
Now, let's extend this. It is pretty well documented, humans learn by multiple channels. Only 20% of the American population has Text ba
Now, this whole "fight on Poverty", "Race to the Top" and "No Child Left Behind" is built on the premise that if all the poor kids are taught to read, then they go to college, get degrees, make good money, everything's is sunbeams and rainbows, right?
It totally IGNORES the fairly well documented fact that - primary data channel learning - appears to be "hard-wired" into the human brain, much as handedness is. No amount of education and "discipline" can do much to change it - and more than training and discipline will change a "lefty" to a right handed person.
Now, an education program that emphasizes the using primary data channels that children have - audio, visual, kinesthetic - would be a good idea. And NOW, more than any other time in human history, we have the technology available to make that education available to the masses.
I mean - as an AIR FORCE technical instructor - we used this approach ALL THE TIME. We KNEW our trainees came to us traumatized by school books. So we use a lot of pictures, video and hands-on, because, hey, it works, you know?
And - time after time - I personally saw boys and girls come to us, who had just barely passed high school - but they had the aptitudes, and they got through the Military Technical School Programs, and went on to successful lives.
Not because it was the MILITARY - but because we were using a training system that worked.
It wasn't the discipline, or the uniforms, per se, that's just the stuff the outsider notices. That is, I'm convinced, external focusing tools at best - and not even truly necessary to the process. Helpful, maybe, but not essential. It is the addition of the audio, visual and kinesthetic components that leads to educational success, in my opinion.
But - I come to the civilian educational system. Know what?
When stuff doesn't work in the civilian educational system, you know how they solve the problem? Change the statistics.
Oh, they do that in the military, too, and in the business world. But I have NEVER seen them wiggle data and pick numbers, anywhere, the way I have observed in public education.
And - it's cultural.
Who runs Education in the US?
The folks who are text ba
Who makes the tests?
The text ba
How is your academic skill evaluated?
In terms of your text ba
If you are not a text ba
And instead of trying to reach out and educate the folks who are not primarily text ba
And when the non-text ba
What I SEE happening, what I am observing in the system is a "Race to the Bottom", a "Generation Left Behind", children traumatized into feeling stupid and useless and hopeless.
But - I guess - it is time for me to move on. I don't have tenure, and I have been told that, due to cutbacks, and my student's poor performance, I will need to find new employment after next month.
Doan mean nothing.
I mean, yes, losing my job - that personally sucks. But - I did 28 years in the military. Suckage is not an unfamiliar state of existence. "Embrace the suck"
I'm going to probably sell my house at a loss, move on, job prospects look like snot - nobody wants to hire a 56 year old engineer with medical issues. I personally am expecting to fall several rungs down the economic ladder.
Doan mean nothing. - Every breath I've drawn since 1975 has been a gift, the way I see it. An inch left, and the bullet that left splinters in my face would have killed me.
No, What bothers me - really bothers me - is that I see an group of American Children - and by logical extension - thousands, probably millions - traumatized and endangered, their lives coarsened and traumatized by a bunch of well-meaning bureaucrats that prattle happy words but do not bother to come down to the classrooms and look - really look - at what their policies, their ideological fixations - are doing.
But...I feel like I'm spitting in the wind. I have this bad habit of reading the signs, looking at stuff, and telling my bosses what I think is going on. And when they don't like what I tell them, I wind up needing a new job.
And when - the bad thing I predicted does happen - they hate me even worse.
So - thanks for reading this far. I needed to say this, somewhere, and not just over a beer. (Especially since I gave up drinking)
angusmcfarland 51-55, M 3 Responses 1 May 20, 2012