I rode into work today in perfect Indian Summer weather in this great state of Colorado. On the way back home, I saw a lot of kids walking home from school.
What I saw seemed incongrous. Kids struggling to carry backpacks full of books, some in their arms, etc., having spent the entire day in restraining devices, listening to adults talk or staring at a computer screen.
I’m almost certain that those kids didn’t experience too much rigor today, unless you want to call frustrating mental gymnastics rigorous (I call them stupid). I just know that those kids didn’t get to participate in a real way in their classes today.
I am sure that they had to get all of their meaningful contact with others in the form of friends in the hallway in a few minutes between classes. In class, I state boldly, that those children weren’t really being educated – because in my view education means being able to share ideas with others.
Now that we can Google anything, the entire concept of learning has changed as long as computers exist to replace our memorization needs. Computers are now doing the job of our memorizing stuff. But we haven’t changed how we educate our children.
Our job now is to know how to learn more and more how to move information between people. A language class that uses a book is now even more than ever, in that light, just a stupid thing. The waters of change will twist and turn those old traditional teachers and drown them in too much new information and they will quit.
So as those kids walked home today with their heavy burdens, just trying to live, we all went home from our jobs as teachers too. Some of had been again defeated by how weird this shit is. Others were floating on air over a good story that worked.
So as I rode through the crisp orange leaves on the bike path, loving the crunch, looking at all those kids walking home with all that heaviness on their shoulders, I was reminded why I am so intense about this. The well being of children is on the chopping block in our country. I will fight for that until they drag me off feet first.