Wouldn’t it be cool if school…? Part I

This is something that I’m probably going to explore more extensively in another post but I thought I’d give it a mention while I sort of feel like it. I’m just sitting out in the backyard (I was in the sun until it left) on my laptop. Having a great time, and learning. But that sort of stuff doesn’t happen at school. At least not normal schools; where teachers teach and students get taught. Where you sit down and absorb what is told didactically and then you hear that you are becoming an adult and are in control of your own life. That’s a reality for school students – discipline, respect, all that shit. Bullshit that is.

I was sitting in the library a few days ago (at lunchtime) half doing an exam, half listening to the conversation of two teachers. One was listening to the other (sound familiar?) give her tips on how to control the class, a younger class. Here’s the gist of what was being said: your tone should be very firm and should demonstrate the expectations that you have of the students, they should be very clear on what you want because some of them don’t know. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera – the teacher went on to show the other how she varied her tone to gain control of the class. Now I’m sure this teacher and the one listening aren’t inherently ill-meaning or anything. They are just accepting of social standards. Oh and all this came after me listening to one of the librarians ask “which was the student who questioned the teacher’s instructions?”. I love that. “No student should ever question the teacher”. What if the teacher is wrong? What if someone has a constructive suggestion?

Austerity is promoted in school – as a good way to get students to achieve academically. I’m amazed at the divisive nature of the student-teacher relationship. It doesn’t work, when kids are free to form their own style, that’s when things become enjoyable and rewarding. When I “teach” I don’t want to be the teacher. I want to be the dude that comes in every day and watches others learn while I’m learning. I want people to call me by my first name. I want the classroom to be a malleable concept instead of a tangible object – kids should interact, express ideas, form ideas; however they feel, wherever they feel – even out in the sun reading other peoples’ blogs on the internet and drinking tea, like me.

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