Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Education in Florida

Start playing the scary music now. The title of this blog should make anyone run screaming. But I won't go into the horrible particulars of FCAT, Florida Writes, and Choice. Learning about the state of education in Florida is like watching a dog chase his tail. Make that a headless dog chasing his tail. Got the picture? That's all you need to know.

This is a very particular bone I have to pick. Haha. That's my last dog cliche. I am currently going through the three day required training for substitute teachers. Yes, that is what I said, three days. A person need only have an Associates degree and this three-day workshop under their belt before they go in to the classrooms. No prior teaching experience.

The workshop consists of two six and a half hour days of training and one day of shadowing teachers. During the summer, the shadowing is not even required.

I'll make a quick mention of the fact that we actually have people who have been RECRUITED who are at the top of their field. Though they are very knowledgeable, they have no idea how to teach and the turn-over rate for these people has proven that.

Back to my little workshop. They spend these thirteen hours trying to convince us and themselves that we are not just babysitters. That's exactly what we are. We don't need a "Super Sub Sack" full of puppets and stickers and markers, oh my. We don't need to print out little crossword puzzles or games. Especially not for high schoolers.

I've gotten off track here, there's so much to bitch about. Here's what I came across as I was learning how to be a super sub.

We were told, if we had any questions or comments, to write it on a post-it note and stick it on the "parking lot." This is basically a large, laminated piece of paper, divided into quarters. There are columns marked "Questions" "Concerns" "Kudos" and "Requests." Our children are being "trained" to keep their mouths shut to "prevent interruption in the classroom." "Of course," my 'teacher' said. "You kind of have to train them to do it when they're little."

What does this mean? The end of inquisitive minds? What third grader is going to remember what they need/want to know long enough to write it down? This is completely backward. We need to encourage our children to express themselves. Yes, maybe that means that class will get a little off track (can't veer too far from FCAT training, now can we?) But this is telling children that it's not okay to say what is on your mind. It is not alright to raise your hand. And if you do raise that hand, it better be something extremely important. Not to be melodramatic, but children taught this way are being taught silence and submission. Do they get treats if they stop barking? I know, it was forced, but I just couldn't keep my dog promise.

We are drowning these children and their ideas in post-it notes.


Adam Elend said...

Damn, now that's a scary piece of knowledge about education in Florida.

Anonymous said...

Well, obviously you haven't seen the worst of Florida education. Go into the alternative schools and tell the kids to express their minds and you might leave without any ears left. There is a reason why florida's educatin is looked down upon and it stretches farther than keeping a child's mouth shut! Almost any teacher can admit that kids these days have no discpline and are weak minded. That's the cause of keeping their thoughts to themselves, but from too much self freedom.