As a secondary education teacher and counselor I often left the school late and wondered if some of my colleagues ever actually went home when the day was over. Sometimes we become focused, but only within the constraints of the school. We must live better in order to help others live better.
Education is not just a subject, but is rather our total life experience. When I feel that I am teaching students, and not just a specific subject, I can unlock the doors that allow individuals to learn. The best teaching style and the most interesting subjects won’t penetrate minds behind closed doors. When I teach I am constantly probing my own teaching abilities. Do I sometimes keep the door closed by inundating my students with a paradigm they can’t relate to, or am I really helping them see the possibilities through their own experience?
Depending upon the statistics we choose to use, it appears that there is some consensus to the fact that the majority of our students (75%) who graduate from high school will never continue on and receive a diploma from a four year institution of higher learning. This is surprising and shocking to many because we are taught to view this as failure. For some it may be failure. It is my hope that we can all understand that failure only occurs when we fail to make our best attempt. If a student truly feels this, then learning never ends. For some, this may not be at a university. For others, the university is the only gateway to freedom; Freedom of choice, freedom of continuance, freedom from a reticent mind. I want to help young people find their freedom.
Politicians are getting mileage out of repeatedly referring to our education system as “broken”. Maybe we aren’t using a very good marketing strategy? Of course it shouldn’t be about marketing, but maybe we have convinced ourselves that things are broken. There are many things in the education system that need improvement. I am attempting to understand and develop viable strategies that bring the system closer to where I believe it needs to be. However, I see tremendous effort and talent in our school systems among our teachers. These efforts are too easily swept under the rug, and feelings of frustration often encapsulate our excellent teachers.
I believe that our education system should look like a three legged stool. Some are convinced that we actually have a balanced three legged stool consisting of teachers, administrators, and students, when in fact the teachers and administrators are only one leg, and the students are another. The real third leg in this system is the parent or legal guardian. In the public education system, we will not see balance by ignoring any one of the three legs.
I am in the process of writing a document explaining in greater detail the necessity of this balance. I offer one possible solution. I am not so naďve to assume that I have the answer, or to even suggest that there is just one answer. However, I believe that history will not be kind to the status quo. I believe we can make a difference, even if it is by helping one student at a time succeed. The future of education will always be in a state of flux. It is my hope that this movement will be forward.
| Matthew Edwards |