It still amazes me that my two little babies (now 13 and 10) are in their first year of high school and starting Grade 5 respectively. Where did the time go?
It also amazes me how easy it is for a child to fall through the cracks in our public school system.
My younger daughter, Annie, is an amazing child. Spirited, incredibly sensitive, funny as hell, has impeccable comedic timing, sympathetic and clearly lives each day to its absolute fullest. She does not have a single evil bone in her body, is wonderfully loving and always manages to wake up on the right side of the bed. I aspire to be more like her!
She is also a child who needs a lot of help in school, specifically in the area of math (she comes by it quite naturally as her mother and I were not the sharpest pencils in the pencil case when it came to mathematic capabilities).
Annie has always struggled with math and as a result has very little confidence in herself when it comes to tackling questions or assignments for fear that she might make a mistake or be flat out, wrong. She is frustrated that she learns concepts at a slower pace then other kids in her class and as a result, isn’t always so quick to raise her hand to have her teacher clarify the question or subject matter.
Ironically, the same teacher who taught her in Grade 3, has her again this year in Grade 5. A very nice person, very enthusiastic and filled with high energy. However, he is leaving my daughter in the dust and that troubles us…tremendously.
Back when our daughter was in Grade 3, it was decided, through our insistence, that Annie should have a document created that would follow her, that would inform teachers of her self-confidence problems and how she requires a different approach in teaching math concepts. I would call it the Coles Notes version of our daughter Annie (academically speaking).
As we finish the first full month of Grade 5, it is clear to my wife and I that this teacher has either not read the document or does not know how to adjust his approach to effectively assist my daughter in being the best student she can be.
It concerns me that this teacher, who is fully accredited and certified to teach in our Province, doesn’t see that Annie requires a full and formal assessment of her capabilities so that future teachers will have a Board certified document that explains to them how they must modify their techniques when teaching our daughter.
It concerns me how much emphasis schools, in general, place on subjects like math and how little emphasis they place on other necessary subjects as drama, dance, art and music. Do we really want to raise a generation of children who are motivated to become Financial Advisors or Wealth Managers instead of doctors and artists or musicians, choreographers and authors?
It blows my mind how some teachers are clearly not on their game in helping children that require more help than others. Could it be that they are marginal? Could it be that they are just too lazy to put forth a little more effort into those children that really require all that they know and are capable of? Could it be that they do it for the two month summer holiday break?
I am appalled at how lousy and useless some of my daughter’s course material is. The kinds of questions and tasks that are required of her found in these workbooks are vague, unnecessary and out and out, stupid.
I am very concerned for my daughter, Annie, as I am sure most concerned parents are for their own children. Before you know it, she will be in middle school and then off to high school when marks really count and her future may be predetermined.
I am not saying that all educators are useless. A very dear friend of mine is a highly passionate and phenomenally smart educator who gives a shit about what she does and demands the very best from her colleagues in the school where she is principal. On a number of occasions she has spent time with our daughter, employing techniques that my daughter responded to in helping her grasp certain math concepts. I am envious of every child in her school because my kid isn’t one of them. Why aren’t there more teachers like her out there? I have a feeling that she is the exception…not the rule.
What is our world going to be like when our children are the ones shaping it? What will it be like when our generation begins to slow down (although still probably working because of the huge amounts of debt we have taken on in order to put food on the table and shelter over our heads?) and our children are the ones responsible to enrich our lives? Will they be able to provide soothing music to our ears, poetic words to stir our souls and to touch our hearts? Will they be educated enough to find solutions and cures for horrific illnesses and diseases that will allow us to live a quality of life enabling us to play with our grandkids?
The educators of today have been entrusted with this responsibility and I fear that many of them are letting us down.