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Friday, March 28, 2014

29: why do we apply exams?

When I walked around the corner to get to the  school,  with some surprise, I saw vans of different television channels. For a moment I imagined the worst, Had ocurred an accident?, Was there an order to close the school?, Had someone appeared dead inside one of the classrooms?, had a kid committed suicide?

I ran as fast as I could and when I was crossing the street, a mother pointed me with her finger and in a second  I had a camera on my face and  a microphone touched my nose. 

-He is a teacher of this school, he can talk about it... 

I felt panic!, perhaps they would know that I am against the text books?, another mother grabbed me by the arm and began to talk so fast, that it made me feel like in a supersonic airplane, she told me that a large group of parents was against the application of the State tests because they caused too much stress to children and those tests  did not count to the academic notes of students, so parents were considered them “unnecessarily stressful”.

I wanted to hug this mother for thinking of the good of her child and not only accepting what everyone thinks that it is right for her child. When I was ready, I asked the reporter to tell me what was his question before recording:
-Is it true that State Tests do not count for the academic evaluations of children?

It is true, nor evaluate knowledge, or understanding, the test is intended to analyze the memory capacity of the students.

-Do you agree with the boycott proposed by parents?

I don't have enough information from the protestants, but it seems to me that if parents have something to say about the education of their children, we must listen to them.

-What happens if a student refuses to answer the exam?

Probably he or she will suffer disciplinary action. 

Parents began to speak out at that moment and defended the right that parents have over their children's education, and if the tests cause them stress and this experience is not going to yield academically... 

What a heck?!, I think their  argument is pretty solid, I had never heard parents defending the right to refuse a test. That is not something that is seen every day.

I hope more voices to rise because this  demand is not absurd. Perhaps are we putting our children's education in hands that only see the numbers and not their minds?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

28. changing roles

I visited my parents’ house during Christmas holidays, and something strange happened; one evening my father called me into his office. 

He does something like that only when he wants to talk seriously with someone, mainly about bussiness, and in my case,  that included when he told me that it should work to find my own destiny, when I lost my job in his company and when he told me that he was not going to pay a coin for my higher education, so I really felt the urge to run away when he called me, but my mother told me I could be quiet that everything was going to be ok and I should enjoy this moment.

First of all, he let me sit in a leather chair that had belonged to my grandfather, it was a well-kept relic that my father reserved only for big business meetings, so when he asked me to sit down on it, I almost jumped over and told him that my teacher salary did not give me enough money to pay a cruise to Alaska, or a necklace of diamonds for my mother.

-Don't be silly, I will not ask you for money...

Oh!, I answered, Could I rest? ... what you have to tell me then?...

-       I see that you enjoy being a teacher...

Yes, I think I can say without hesitation that I enjoy it and that I have learned a lot about  life thanks to the children.

-I thought that workers in my companies should have a school in which children can learn, and they can be more closely of them monitoring their academic performance and support them better in their tasks. Some of them send children to very distant schools, so they have so much stress driving around the city and frequently ask for permission for meetings with teachers, while others, simply decide to ignore those calls... I think that if they could have the school at the same building, they would not be so worried about running to take care children or taking a moment to ask about what their children need.

I thought that we can take the first floor of every  building and eliminate the penthouse for the executives offices, because they are more important on the battlefield and not in an office so far that no one has access.

I want that YOU leading all the administrative roles of education. The advantage is that children would be understanding what their parents do every day... cultural areas would be open to them... What do you think?...

Holy Cow!, I think rarely a powerful man offers you a job almost from nowhere... I was about to ask him to repeat every word because surely I had not understood well what he said, but I could only stutter a little and smile like a fool... but then I cleared my my voice and I felt kind of scared listening to my own voice.

If  I would agree leading the schools, It would mean that I could not teach anymore… that would make me part of the system and instead of working for children's learning, I would work for education. Students have taught me the world need more hands that put the foundations of a building, rather than politicians.

-I Understand... I think your words make me very happy... the plan is under consultation with lawyers, actually I want to make it work... would you teach in our schools?, perhaps can you  be part of the group designing courses?

YES dad, of course I'll give class in your school!. Thank you for recognizing my talent!

-You have earned the respect of many, but especially of yourself during last months. Your mother is very happy seeing how you've changed your attitude towards life.

Telling the truth: Yes, it makes me happy to serve to others, especially in the construction of their future. I know that I can make lots of money with everything I've been able to learn, but I prefer to believe that what I do in the classroom is worthwhile. I want that one of my students can earn a Nobel prize one day or perhaps one of them can cure my cancer or maybe even save your life or my mothers.

-       You will definitely see it. When you believe in yourself, you can believe in others.

Let’s hang out with your mother, she is very  happy that you have come to visit us.

I could not stop smiling all afternoon... I guess that is called a professional award. I could not wait to tell Gaby and my guru about this moment... for the first time I was watching my father eye to eye and we had a project, our project!, but at the same time, for the first time I had clearwhat I wanted for children future.