So at a meeting today, a group of about 100 of us students were subjected to a lecture by a local high school teacher that provided evidence that no, I really don’t ever want to be a high school teacher. Not if it ever turns me that cynical.
This woman stood in front of the class room and made several faux pas:
- Reminded us how “slow” the “regular” kids are at processing. “After I explain something and they still don’t understand, I just send them home. It sometimes takes overnight for it to sink in.” She repeated over and over again how “slow” regular kids are. How concrete their thinking is. How they like their Gameboys more than paying attention. How they sleep in class. How she just loves her job, but jeebus, she just wants to make sure they pass, graduate, and “move on“. Getting them out is the most important part, since if they have to come back for a fifth year, we pay for that. “Try to understand, I realize that you all were GT, but these are regular kids.”
- Told us that we tutors of children should act as though the kids we are tutoring “know nothing”. Whether first year, second year, or AP Chemistry student, act as though they know nothing. Don’t work to hard trying to gauge their level; just go with the idea that since they’re calling, they aren’t capable of understanding or figuring out much of anything in class. WO suggested starting with the concept of numbers: “See if you have a penny, that means you have ‘one‘ penny. ‘One’ is a special term; it’s a ‘number’. If you put another penny with that, that means you have ‘two’…” Getting to chemistry could take a while, but if you’re an amazing teacher, the student would never have any problems with counting again.
- Made the following statement: “Now, I know you guys think you work hard, but you should try being a music major at ISU. That guy has no life.” Now you don’t walk onto a campus as arrogant as ours as tell us we don’t really work hard. It’s just rude not to cater to our Rose-Hulman eliticism unless you’re here for the express purpose of bursting our bubbles. *laugh* Silly woman. Music major…
She called non-GT kids slow. That broke my heart. I understand how teaching for 27 years can lead to quite a bit of cynicism–I saw it quite a bit at Harding–but it still hurt me to hear someone talk about kids that way. Plenty of the kids that I tutor really do try damned hard to understand what’s going on.
Very frustrating presentation to sit through. Andrea and I both want to be tutors for the local schools just to show kids that someone cares.
Andrea also gives an account of the meeting.