We Have Been Doing It Wrong…

We have been doing it wrong… at least I seem to think so. After listening to Logan LaPlante’s TED talk and reading Bud Hunt’s blog post, I have come to the conclusion that somewhere along the line, we missed the mark. Or maybe the lines got a bit skewed. 

Now you must understand, I don’t mean “we” as in just us teachers (or future teachers). I mean we as in a society. At some point, school became more about ensuring our kids were being entertained, educated, and could get a slip of paper in the end. We pile on the homework, eliminate the playtime, and mold each child to think in the way that will “best benefit society!” Wrong. Instead we have young children being medicated for the inability to sit still for 8 hours at a time. We have test scores that are constantly fluctuating, underpaid teachers that teach only to the test because they are being forced to teach material they don’t want to, and parents who often take the child’s side over the teachers any day. We push kids to know what they want to be, who they want to be, and where they want to go before we even trust them to buy lottery tickets or consume “adult beverages”. Something about that whole scenario just feels wrong to me.

 

As I listened to Logan, at only 13 years old, speak of the school system and the lack of emphasis on happiness and health, I was intrigued. Then as he spoke of his education and the “hackschooling” he does, I was nearly motivated enough to quit college and pursue what this kid was! Then it hit me, I could. What Logan is pursuing is happiness. As cliché as this sounds, I wasn’t eager to pursue the world of skiing and all the other things he was. I wanted to pursue happiness, the freedom to choose my education. We are blindsided into believing that is what college is for. In reality I am paying thousands of dollars to take multiple classes in which I have absolutely no interest in, pursuing a degree program in hopes that it will land me a job in my chosen field, and all the while spending four years behind a computer screen. My college life looks something like too much time spent on hundreds of assignments, way too little time spent reading textbooks that I paid too much for, and trying to maintain a social life that doesn’t revolve around my mental breakdowns and all-nighter study habits. More than anything, I want to be happy and healthy.

 

Linking this to the blog post I read of Bud Hunt’s, I believe we need to start pushing for three things in the lives of our children and students. Make, Play, Hack. What a wonderful idea that we actually need the one thing we most often rob our children of… play. Not to mention we beg our students to be creative, yet squash even the slightest bit of creativity that isn’t “realistic”. How backwards! Just as both Logan and Bud have stated, we need to relearn how to “hack” our education. In this next several weeks I will be doing just that. I plan to hack my education in a way that brings me what I want most in life… joy. I hope you do as well.

 

Joy is a choice. I am making that choice.

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Photo CC- By Merit Campus
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10 thoughts on “We Have Been Doing It Wrong…

  1. I think you’re totally right that it’s not just teachers who have the wrong mindset when it comes to education. It’s parents, employers, colleagues, and many others. They all have this perfect image of what society is supposed to be like without any consideration to what vision people have for their own lives. Being teachers, however, we CAN make a difference. We can support children’s early passions in the classroom by building our lessons based off of their individual interests. How do you think you can incorporate student interests and passion into your classroom?

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    1. I believe that in the public school system, it is incredibly difficult to incorporate interests and passions into the classroom. We are instructed so heavily that we are to teach to the test. It is intimidating. However, I want my students to know they are in a free place. I want to cultivate an atmosphere of the most powerful learning. I will constantly strive for choice in my assignments. The students will be encouraged to find new and different ways of doing things. I will always remind them that they are who they decide to be, not who society tells them to be.

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  2. Kayla, I believe we’ve all been doing it wrong as well because it works for us at the moment. We force children to be proficient in everything and I feel we already have it written down what the child will be doing in their future career. We should leave this up to the child and what brings them happiness. If they want to be a professional gymnast than by all means we should be standing beside them and helping them meet their goals. We need to let our students decide.

    Shania 🙂

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    1. Shania, I think you are very right. Often times we write of the students or push them into thinking they need to do or be something. Often times we find ourselves pushed into things we don’t want… it is no different for them.

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  3. I liked how you mentioned that kids do have a need to play. They are not just machines that can sit in a classroom for 6 hours every day endlessly receiving information. Sometimes I think that people forget this.

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  4. This is a great post. We do squash our children’s creativity in school, and it’s something we need to fix. Children need to show their creativity through projects or art. There is one thing I have an issue with. I agree that a lot of children are medicated in order to get them to sit still. However, I have a son with severe ADHD who absolutely cannot focus. I don’t care that he can’t sit still. I want him to learn and without his meds, he can’t do that. I wish we could come up with a solution for kids like him so they don’t have to sit.

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      1. His teacher is really good. She realizes that there are some things he can’t really control and works with him. For the most part, he does well, he takes medication at lunch time which helps him through the afternoons.

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