Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Bit of a Discouraging Post from a Teacher Friend of Ours

We received this email from a teacher friend of ours.  It's message is quite discouraging, but worth sharing.

I feel compelled to raise the red flag to as many people as I can about the 'education' I am receiving on the job this year!  Please indulge me for a few minutes of your time.  I'm afraid that everyone might find these things as shocking as I have!!...
I'm teaching this year in a low-income, low-achieving school.  Voters, please listen...Our problem with illiteracy is NOT our SCHOOLS or OUR TEACHERS...IT's PARENTS (or, more accurately, the LACK OF PARENTS!)  When I had a 4 year old in my Pre-K class who didn't know how to use a spoon or fork to eat mashed potatoes a few years ago; or this year I have a first grader who I had to teach how to blow his nose; or, I had Kindergarteners who said in awe, "WHOA!  Look at all those BOOKS!  What is THAT room?" when I walked them by the school library on the first day of school, and at the end of the first day of school when I gave each child their own book and they said, "I get to have MY OWN BOOK?  I never HAD a book before!"  And, when I asked how many had ever been to the library, NO ONE raised their hand.  (Contrast this with my experience in one of the best schools in the state where, every time I brought out a book to read to the kids, several kids would say, "Oh!  I have that book!")  Voters, please understand....Teachers CANNOT teach a child to read and do math if they have not had some basic groundwork laid in the first five years of their lives!!!  Parents are the main educators in their children's lives!!  If parents don't do their part, teachers can't do theirs!  Please READ, READ, READ to your child/grandchild (the Library also book/CD sets if you don't like to read!!) and TALK TO your kids/grandkids, and let them TALK to you...and LISTEN to them!!!  Talk to them about things you see all around you so they will be aware of the world around them and develop attention to details!  Street signs, store signs, stop lights, license plates, billboards, etc, etc...It's all READING and ALL IMPORTANT in preparing them to become lifelong readers!  COUNT  EVERYTHING to prepare them for Math!!!  Let them 'help' you cook, talking to them about what you're doing all the while.
All that being said, another issue came to my attention this past week which is even more disturbing than the above...
The most disturbing example of culture shock that I have gotten this year follows.  My only request is that you DELETE MY NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS FROM THIS EMAIL if you forward what I'm about to share......P-L-E-A-S-E...!!!!... THANKS!
Feb is Black History Month.  We had an assembly this week to celebrate it.  The students did a great job on learning all they did, but I had some serious issues with what the adults in charge included in the program.  The program started with the teacher in charge saying, "Please stand for the Pledge to the flag of the BLACK NATION and the BLACK NATIONAL ANTHEM", which the black students lead the whole school and visitors through while focusing on the tri-colored green, yellow, and black flag that hung prominently.   (No red, white, and blue visible!  I almost walked out, but being a new teacher in the school and without tenure, I felt compelled to cooperate, so I gritted my teeth and silently said the Pledge to the Flag of the UNITED States of America (One Nation, Under God, INDIVISIBLE...) and sang OUR National Anthem in my head.  What ever happened to the idea of 'color-blindness'?  Isn't the other TREASON???
The program that followed included a skit where a group of girls went 'home' and talked to the 'mom' about what was for dinner.  The exchange that was scripted was completely disrespectful on both ends, and left me completely baffled!  This is what we're TEACHING the kids is the norm in home life??? 
Then a rapper came out and gave a 'pep talk' about making right choices (which was great!), but when he was giving his thanks at the end of his act, he turned to the parents in attendance and said, "And I thank all y'all parents who came today.  Yeah, we all know you lied to your bosses to get out of work to be here, but we appreciate it!"  Now I ask you, what message does that send to our youth???  Does anyone else see a problem with this but me?  The other teachers in my school didn't seem flustered a bit, which also greatly concerns me!  We are being lulled to destruction!
Just airing some concerns...and praying that we'll wake up before it's too late! 
I hope you do share this with others, as I think we need to understand that there is a whole different subculture in our country that we need to know about.

Thought this was a message worth sharing.