I remember when I was but a boy, playing on the swing sets and having fun with my friends on a cool spring afternoon. These are some of my fondest memories of elementary school. To think that my children would not be able to share in that is unbelievable. Not only are these fond memories, but to think of being stuck in a class room for nearly eight hours without some sort of break? I think I would have been burnt out in no time.
There is an overemphasis on more, but not better education. No Child Left Behind, softening of the curriculum, lengthening of the school year, and etc, yet no one stops to wonder why children are refusing to learn. Why are they falling behind? Quite simply, I lay the fault at the teachers.
Do not get me wrong, I know teachers have a tremendous job ahead of them, molding young minds for the future. Yet, as I went through my years in school I found more and more who just did not care about teaching. They were only there because they had to be. If it wasn’t for my inquisitive nature, I doubt I would as well off as I am. Yet, I do wonder what would I have become if I had more teachers that were as passionate about teaching, as I was about learning.
Teachers aren’t the only ones to blame for this. Another memory I have from elementary school, is that of standardized testing. For two weeks near the end of the term, we prepared for these mammoth tests, which were about as exciting and engaging as watching grass grow. If I recall correctly, my first year of the tests was second grade and I took them every year until sixth grade. I then took them again every year in high school, with the usual two week build up of going over material for it. That is roughly sixteen weeks of time I lost just on these standardized tests, all for naught.
With the added pressures of increased testing and idle teachers, it is no wonder that our children are falling behind. More isn’t the answer, it is better. Wringing out every minute of the day for lessons ends up doing more harm than good. Some children will thrive in such an environment, but I know that most children’s minds will be putty within a week.Give the kids a chance to be kids, let them have fun before it is too late.