As the 2014-2015 year begins, there are a few thoughts that have simmered in my mind. Some people might disagree and as a matter of fact, might be offended by some of the truths I share – but when has that stopped me from expressing myself before? Never. Whether these thoughts are popular or misunderstood, good or bad in your opinion, none of that is what drives me. When people put others interests first instead of their own they take risks…this is one of mine.
If you are a teacher, it is safe to say that you've been alive for more than 10 years, but if you resist technological advancements you're technically living in the Stone Age. Teachers are the first to preach that “learning is a lifelong practice”; learning is indeed a lifelong process but in some occasions, these are the same teachers that are the last to live up to this meme. Teachers often condone behavior such as bullying and harassment but they are quick to engage in that very behavior and defend it by stating that it was the students who provoke them. Some can’t seem to stop talking about other teachers but defend themselves by suggesting they were not gossiping, merely passing information on that is not their own. How can we expect our educational system to improve when the educators within the system see that they have no need to improve themselves? Although I am currently a 5th Grade Bilingual teacher, I don't consider myself a teacher in the traditional sense of the word; I like to consider myself a facilitator of learning. Students, for the most part, have innately within them the knowledge, skills and desire to learn, particularly those who come from impoverished backgrounds who’ve learned resiliency from an early age. I do not “educate” rather I facilitate those qualities that they possess. Learning to read, memorizing history, solving a math problem or performing science experiments is formal education – but that, anyone with a good curriculum, charisma and common sense can do. The tough part, the part that needs the most facilitation, is how to be a better person – how to be community oriented; How to think globally while acting locally; How to care about someone else’s hardships in the world and develop a healthy sense of empathy…these lessons, are the ones facilitated by the many men and women who truly know and understand the difference between formal education, intelligence and miseducation. So if you’re a teacher, educator, facilitator or whatever label you may use…where do you stand? Which do you do? Do you really educate the masses? Or do you spend each day teaching only facts and curriculum to your classes?
“Education... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.”
-G. M. Trevelyan
“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”
-Robert M. Hutchins
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.