Saturday, May 14, 2005

Musings On A School System

A good teacher is difficult to find (in Canada anyway). This is the result of a combination of the decision-makers being more interested in administration than education, and the low availability of competent persons.

Most of the persons who have the authority to make decisions seem more interested in ensuring they have a "baby-sitter" for their classroom than ensuring that they have someone who is qualified to teach and explain a subject to a group of 30-40 kids. I have a friend who has been "in the teaching game" for a year, and has been asked to teach classes for which she is not qualified. The decision-makers seem to think that teaching means being able to verbally and animately present material which is in books while keeping the peace in the classroom. The concept of facilitating the understanding and retaining of information is somewhat foreign to the decision-makers.

And, of course, this isn't helped by the fact that very few teachers (and persons in general) are competent. Petty ones like the few with whom MrT works are just scary, because it makes me wonder how much of that pettiness seeps into their teaching. I've had teachers who unknowingly rip the self-confidence of a child to shreds, and should not be excused because it was unintentional (and rather should be criticized for their lack of sensitivity to the needs of a child). I would not trust a child to be taught by any one of the women with whom I work (and who are also mothers), and I'm sure their counterparts are lurking in classrooms.

What's unfortunate is we can't afford to take out of taxes the amount of money required to make the decision-makers care or the teachers competent.