I have the schedule from Hell. I suppose it could be worse, but any sane people would see a worse schedule and stop the insanity. I’m on the cusp of instanity, so it slid through.
I have classes MW 6-7:45 and TTH 10-11:45, 4-5:45 and 6-7:45. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm is when faculty meetings take place…every week. So I have just about enough time open on those days to eat lunch.
Anyway, that’s not my topic. I met my classes this past week and tried to impress them with how much fun they can have if they want to do so…and how much it would please their instructor if they adopted such an attitude. Only time will tell me if I was successful in that.
Before and after my Java class one of my students expressed fear. She’s taking the class again because she got a C- the first time. And that’s where my topic has it’s roots. My student expressed her feelings about having failed to learn a sufficient amount in order to be prepared for Java II.
I spent some time…I hope enough time, but probably not (we shall probably have to do this again)…trying to assure her that she was doing the best thing by deciding to retake Java I rather than continue into Java II, that she had made a wise decision and was displaying maturity in understanding that was what she needed to do. I explained to her that we do not all learn at the same speed and that some of us need to go through the material more times than others and that there is nothing wrong with that. The point, after all, is that she develop the skill set that she will need, not that she do them on a prescribed schedule.
She looked at me dubiously. I have to admit that I was dubious about what I said as well. Because the truth is that our system is not set up to accomplish what I listed above. In her entire educational life, all her learning has been scheduled and if she gets behind schedule, she will be labeled a failure.
Why must education be such an assembly line process? Why must we reject those who can’t fit on that conveyer belt like so many defecting cogs and perhaps damage them psychologically and/or socially for the rest of their lives? Why can’t treat our students as individuals?
I’ve traveled down this mental path before in my 31 years of teaching…many times. I’ve tried to battle against the process. I’ve normally been beaten back and sometimes my frustration level has risen to the level where I have considered leaving the profession. That I don’t do so is because I realize that being a teacher is the best means I have available to institute positive change in this reality through my efforts. But I’ve got to wonder why I’ve spent these many years trying to push forward when the conveyer belt is headed in the other direction.
Am I really making a difference? I don’t know. But I will continue to tilt at this windmill as long as I am able.
Meanwhile I have some students I need to teach. Ands I shall remember that they are individuals and what is important is that they learn…eventually.