As a public educator, I aim to share my story with those interested about what really happens inside today's classroom. I hope my stories inspire, educate, and entertain you, as the calling of teaching is never neat or predictable. Please note that my blog content does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of my school district or colleagues.
Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
Photo courtesy of DiscoveryEducation.com
Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown
My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.
"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The Race to Nowhere....
Every once in awhile a movie comes along whose pivotal message speaks to both teachers and students alike. It is obvious that we have become a performance-obsessed society, with greater pressure on students to achieve, be the best, and achieve superhuman success than ever before.
Beginning in preschool, students are pushed to be smarter, more gifted, more athletic, more beautiful, more accepted, busier, and more overachieving than their peers, a process that only explodes the older the child gets. By the time they enter high school, all-around pressure to succeed and become admitted to a top college or university becomes insurmountable to the point where many students shut down, become depressed, hate their lives, and, in severe cases, even decide to take their own lives.
Having taught in China, India, and South Korea, I can say with certainty that we are not the only country expecting greatness and all-around success from our students. Many Asian nations often take student pressure to succeed to the highest level with the mandated testing and root-based educational systems they have, which often stifle creative thinking, artistic outlets, and non-academic pursuits.
There has to be a better way to teach our students and help them be the best people, learners, thinkers, and citizens they can be.
This week, my Assistant Principal went to a viewing of the documentary Race to Nowhere at a nearby high school, which is about the extreme stress that students are under to perform academically. It provides a perspective from students, teachers, parents, colleges, and the psychological community. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you go see it.
Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political, igniting a national conversation in her new documentary about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform. Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.
Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.
Featured in the film:
Dr. Madeline Levine, Clinical Psychologist and author of the best-seller, The Price of Privilege
Dr. Wendy Mogel, Clinical Psychologist and author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, Adolescent Medicine Specialist, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Dr. Deborah Stipek, Dean of the School of Education at Stanford University
Dr. Denise Pope, Co-Founder, Challenge Success, Stanford University