Search This Blog

Friday, July 19, 2013

22. Harvesting fruits

Days fly when we are planning and looking for ways of sharing ideas with children. I found out  that I became an expert to find the perfect song, tale, or scene to prepare my classes. With a frank smile, I have to admit this: I  am becoming a different person, since I stopped thinking about how I understand or see the world and began to think how children think and absorb the environment.
I can summarize years and years of books in the magic of children's questions and the importance of parents support of. I used to believe that money was the only important item for education, but even the poorest people want their kids can be the best citizens, and they can have an important place in life, and they trust on schools as the way to achieve all of their dreams.

I think somehow I began to feel part of that group of brilliant minds who believe that all children can learn, with the right strategy and parents motivation.

However, Director is still giving me ugly looks of confusion and anger when I share my class planning or when she asks for ideas for school events. I still do not understand yet  if she feel bad because my passion for teaching or my straight ideas against traditional education, maybe that’s  too much for her. Finally accepting the system allows to anyone having a little bread on the table every day. 

When the time came to create a school green space to planting the product of our science projects, Director almost eats her cell phone when I told her that children should be part of all planning. Finally it was their work, effort and care that had kept alive all the plants...

-How can you think that children can participate in a school project?,  She did ask me with a horrible look that if I don't duck pretending that I had thrown something on the floor, I would be dead right now.

I replied her quietly:  well, they have taken care of the plants, they are the reason of existence  for this school, and many of them come from countries where caring plants and flowers is not a subject of art, it is a constant in their living space... Those where three good reasons which nobody could ignore, at least not in front of all of the Academic Board.

I called the children, showed them the map and I explained them the project, I asked them to cook their ideas during 6 minutes and when time is over they could share  all their thoughts. Children watched the plane and began to smile, with that look of emotion that they only get when have something big between hands.

The rest of teachers began totalk between them, I suppose that the idea of inviting children to our meeting caused them so many hives as pain to Director, I undertsand they imaged children screaming and causing disorder, but kids and I practiced so much staying quiet during tests and they  learned that silence doesn’t mean fear to speak, but respect to each other ideas, so children could behave as the best when the situation needed, without shouting.

When my watch began to sound indicating that time had passed six minutes, one by one began to speak, explained the type of dirt that we needed and then planned where to put each plant.

-Tomatoes need lots of sun and water, so this is the best place for them... pumpkins require a lot of space as they are creeping... Roses survive to everything so they can be here, but no, wait!, if we put them there, when they grow we can have accidents with their thorns if we run around, so I think this place would be better for them... the flowers for bees should be here, so we will not disturb them... this plant attracts caterpillars, so it should not touch this other... this plant grows 10 inches per month, so we should put it it close to a wall so we can have pulleys to hold it...

Everyone listened and realized that they not only had learned about plants plants  they had  also learned expression, planning, problem-solving skills... which book should have learned that in?, perhaps did they learn all that in some application or talking to Siri from their Iphone?, we were all perplexed!.

That afternoon I realized that children are more than words in books, their minds are malleable from the environment, and that is the work of the school, giving a good atmosphere for learning, not the military system that many of us had, begging to survive and move on.

If we leave our future in children`s hands, it is better to give them the best tools, and without a doubt they will surprise you!.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

21. Changing schools for sporting events

In the middle of the festivities and good wishes for another year, it was unveiled the final list of schools to be closed in the city. A total of 54 schools with many students,  parents and teachers whom only have the promise that will be relocated in other schools.
New York city  and Philadelphia joined in the implementation of economic measures in benefit of education and childhood, which means that also these city  will be closing schools. Interestingly, at the same time Chicago announced the project to build a new baseball stadium and a second nomination be hosting the Olympic Games, and please,  don't take me wrong my idea... is I am not against sports, because they are an example of human courage and triumph, but when you spend millions of dollars on a sports complex and education is denied... It’s wonderful! Let’s say this projects will give many jobs.

From all these jobs only 1 child from every million with poor social conditions during childhood, will win millionaire contracts, due to the luck of a talent unique to throw the ball or get goals, only one will be  lucky of having parents who will support and wait for years until one day their dreams will  become reality: shine in a stadium full of fans, leading his team to the glory and signing thousands of autographs, avoiding photographers and having an enviable life. 

How many Gabby Douglas does live the Olympic dream?, how many mothers would leave everything to provide that support?, how many parents  would give more importance to the sport than to school?. Usually when we come running after having gotten a goal in an empty area with no one else m around and say to all lung: I want be futball player!, the answer is: shut up and get to studying!. who wants a football player?, lawyers and doctors earn more, you can not dedicate yourself to vague!.

No doubt the Governors projects have good intentions, since there will be many new jobs for all those "have the opportunity of an academic life", there will be jobs for those who build sports complexes, who sell tickets, those who take charge of security, and no doubt others will sell beer and donuts during the games. 

However, I need to rub my eyes to avoid seeing  Jose and Mita applying for those jobs. Why do they need to survive to so much tension with exams if they are going to finish  in the long lists of unemployed?.

I refuse to think that the education system can not have other operating mechanisms, Why do we need to  pay so much money to those who design tests?, why do we need to pay meetings in exclusive hotels for higher level directors?, perhaps they not can think in an Office or in the same classroom where children have to listen to endless litanies?.

I guess  I begin to sound depressed... I was one of many who sought to thousand and one pitfalls to passing the exams, and so far I cannot say that knowledge is necessary to me. 

I think is time for a chat with Gaby as I start to believe something shady there is in all this. Although it seems that everyone is happy because our Hockey team won the Stanley Cup... maybe it would be nice to celebrate those few who found the way to make from sport a successful way of life, and if you asked them, I would surely tell anyone of them has needed to answer tests and listened to teachers, their talent was elsewhere...