Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here are some things I've run across over the years that I thought were funny.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List
By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4. Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5. If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

6. Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8. Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9. Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11. Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

12. If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

14. Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15. Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16. Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17. Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19. Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20. Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21. Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

22. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23. Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24. Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25. Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

From a wise homeschooling mom on a homeschool forum:

I like to assume the best about people and represent homeschoolers as joyful, positive and friendly. I want to be confident and never defensive, even when I feel challenged. If someone heckles me, I like to take it lightly, make a friendly joke, or surprise them by saying something complementary, like, I like your dress. That way, everyone walks away smiling.

Q: What about socialization?
A: We're not socialists

Q: What about testing?
A: They test me everyday.

Q: How will they get into a college?
A: Through a door I assume.

Q: Are those all yours?
A: Just a minute while I check my roster.

Q: Have you figured out what causes that?
A: Yes. I will explain it to you later.

Q: Are you crazy?
A: I like your dress.

What About Socialization for Homeschoolers?

This is probably the question that most parents ask and gets in the way of choosing to homeschool. The most frequent question asked of homeschoolers is, "What about socialization?"

To pull your child out of school means to pull them out of a learning environment surrounded by many other children of the same age and to bring them home to learn in an isolated environment. If you have several children at home, it will not be isolated, but still it will be apart from the school and other children outside of the family, and therefore considered "isolated". The environment at school may be good in your school, but it may not be. What is your child learning socially from the children around him or her and from the curriculum? That is the key question that needs to be answered.

What "Socialization" means in the school environment
I have never been concerned about my son's socialization since we have been homeschooling. But I definitely was concerned with socialization when my son was in public school! One year (at age 9 when he was still in public school), my son made the decision to imitate the kids around him so he would “fit in”. And if anyone has experienced the kids at our school, you’d be horrified! So, yes, I was very concerned about his socialization in public school. After the first year of not being in public school, I’m happy to report that my son’s behavior has changed back RADICALLY for the better!

For me, my son was learning rude and disrespectful behavior while in school. It was okay to talk back to adults and be disrespectful to others. I have found that today talking back is defined differently, so what I find disrespectful is accepted today. I feel there are very few boundaries about how to treat others and their things with respect. There are no consequences for this behavior, so the modeling is that it's okay to behave this way because you won't get into trouble. You only get into trouble for "big" things, like bringing a weapon to school, and sometimes for fighting.

My son also had to learn to fight to defend himself. He had to put up with ridicule, whether it was for how he dressed or because he brought a book to school to read when he finished an assignment ahead of others in his class. He learned a new "vocabulary" and learned about drugs (through peers and the curriculum). He also learned about racism through the curriculum (multiculturalism: "why are people with dark skin bad?" -- he was in third grade), which transferred over to later grades with all the children attending school, because it is what the curriculum taught.

He learned to be afraid of ALL people he didn't know ("stranger danger"), and to be afraid to do anything for fear of being hurt (safety). He used to climb trees, but by the end of kindergarten wouldn't be caught near them for fear of being hurt.

He also was trained that only people his age were worth being his friends, and to stick together with only his age group. He also learned about time limits, that if he wanted to pursue something further, he couldn't. This also goes along with it's not "cool" to want to learn further about something. Learning about how to dress "cool" was another thing he learned, and our trips to go clothes shopping became more complicated when looking for clothes to buy for him.

Along with learning how to dress, he also learned about all the latest gadgets that kids had, so therefore he had to have too. PSP? He had to have one. iPod? He had to have one. Star Wars or Disney in? Everything had to be that. The social commercialism in schools today is overwhelming. The school also advertised milk in the cafeteria (although no advertising was permitted!), so he would say he had to drink milk to be healthy and everyone drank it. My son was allergic to milk. It was hard to get the concept across to him that he couldn't drink it when everyone else did, and of course, the school would not accommodate his allergy. He also learned about junk food and soda pop from the other kids who would bring it to school (although our school would confiscate the soda pop but not the other junk food). He would see this and demand these items of food.

So is the school environment good for your child? If the above is okay with you, then maybe you don't mind the social environment your child is in.

Teaching the real value of being a friend and having friends
For me, I want to be in control of what values and behavior my child will learn. I do not want the values taught in school to be transferred to my son. Will he have friends? Absolutely! The friends he has are neighbors and kids on his hockey team and in his chess club. And they are not all his own age, either. He has friends of many different ages. I think friends of only one age are not healthy; the world is not segregated by age, so to learn to be friends with different ages I feel is very important.

He is very selective about who to call "friend", too. Not just "anyone" will he accept as a friend. He has set criteria for someone to be his friend, unlike what the school was trying to teach him. In school, teachers were worried that he wasn't making friends with any of his classmates. When I looked around at the children in the class, not only could I understand why he wasn't "friends" with any of them, but was grateful he did NOT consider any of them friends! The actual friends he had at school were the ones that he already was friends with from the different activities he participated in. They had something in common and they all shared most of the same values.

So my question was, does a child HAVE to be friends with someone in class even though they don't share any common interests or values? According to the school, yes; children have to be friends with everyone. To be a friend, though, the friends have to share common interests and values. To be a friend, my son would have to give up his values and interests to be a friend and to "fit in" with the general population.

I did not want him to be like the rest of the kids. I did not like the values they had.

If this is okay, then "socializing" your kids in school should be fine. For me, it wasn't. I wanted my son to be polite and respectful. I wanted him to have his own values, to make up his own mind about what he liked and didn't like, what was right or wrong, not to be strongly persuaded by the children around him or to face the consequence of being rejected socially. I wanted him to be his own person.

"Yes, but..."
"Yes, but," you may ask. "Doesn't socializing in school teach my child to deal with people he doesn't like?"

My answer to this is "yes and no". Yes, a child needs to learn to deal with all kinds of people. When they are an adult they will have to deal with all kinds of people they may not like or who give them a hard time. BUT -- and it's a big "but" -- while they are learning about life while a child, this is the time to give them a strong foundation in all areas of life to be able to deal with anything that may come their way. To be bombarded with people and situations that are against his/her values and beliefs and that do not agree with them is unfair in my opinion, and interferes with learning about other things they should or want to know. Now and then to run across someone who gives them a hard time is one thing and can be a learning experience on a situational basis, but to be under pressure day in and day out is quite another. Peer pressure, even at very early ages, is extremely strong. To me, that is the biggest obstacle children have in school.

To me, childhood should be a fun and explorative age. Children do not get this in a school setting. Instead, they are forced to conform, whether by school rules or by social pressure. They are supposed to fit the mold, blend in, not rock the boat. A child who does not conform will be ostracized by other children, and sometimes even by the adults in the school.

So “socialization” really depends upon HOW you want your child to be socialized!

Also, the schools will tell the kids that they’re not there to “socialize”. Hmmm?

Questions to ponder
What’s the difference between “socialization” and “peer pressure”?

If age-segregated social organization is so great, why don’t we exercise it in the adult world? For example, if you are not turning 40 before August of ’08, I don’t want to be your friend anymore.

How can we teach children that race segregation is wrong in a setting where they are segregated by age?

What is “normal” about an institutional environment where socialization is done in 10-minute increments and regulated by the ringing of a bell?

Why would we want our children to be “socialized”? We are not socialists.

Homeschooling Laws

There is Federal Law and there is State Law. Of course State Law varies from state to state, but Federal Law covers the entire country.

There is only one thing I want to add under this heading that I think is very important, and that has to do with FEDERAL law.

Be VERY careful about public schools. It is ultimately up to the school about what will be required of -- or taught to -- your child – NOT the parent. Once you drop your child off at the door to the public school, you have relinquished all control and rights over your child – so say the Federal courts. Not one parent that I have heard of has won in court.

Yes, you might be lucky enough to get a teacher/principal/school to work with you on the subjects you object to – but then again you may not. When my son was in public school, I wanted to be notified when objectionable subjects were going to be taught so that I could either be there or have a sick day. I was NEVER notified – and we’re talking about teachers and administration with whom I am friends.

Yes, you as a parent have the right to look over all curriculum, but you do NOT have the right to say what you want or not want taught to your child! (or even exposed to!)

So everyone with kids in public school or contemplating putting them back in, please be wary.

Where to find out about your State's homeschooling laws
After you have decided whether you want to homeschool or not, you need to check the laws for your state so that you can comply. There are some states that have little to no regulation, and some that are so regulated you might as well keep them in school! Here is the definitive site to research about the laws where you live:

Home School Legal Defense Association

Not only does this site help you to find the laws in your state, it will also keep you up to date about what is going on in your state and also in the nation. It also sometimes talks about homeschooling challenges in other countries. You can join this organization for a yearly fee, and it will legally represent you if you happen to have any trouble while homeschooling.

Public School Curriculum

Have you ever compared a newly-printed classic book with one printed, say, 50 years ago? You haven’t? Well, I suggest you do because you’ll be shocked!

Our classics are being rewritten. Really. Rarely will one find a classic that really is reprinted word-for-word. The publishers say it’s to bring the language of the books up to current-day language. But what’s really ending up happening is that the rich vocabulary is being lost and the complex sentence structure of beautiful writing is being lost. They’ve become very easy to read, in other words.

And the government and schools say that our reading level has improved... sorry, I just don’t buy it! I have my son reading vintage and antique classic books. By the end of our first year of homeschooling he was EASILY reading at high school level! He’s in seventh grade this year, and except for his maturity about what he understands, he can easily read college texts. He complained this year about what really bad readers some of his friends are and he also said that the kids in his Sunday School class could barely read. Well, those kids and friends read great – are in top classes or on honor roll, most of them – according to the public schools they are in.

The kids coming out of school now just plain old don’t know math. If they get through fractions well, I’d be surprised. Math is given in little snippets of information that is supposed to get the kids to grasp the concept. Well, actually what I’ve seen is that the books go overboard in trying to get the kids to grasp the concept so then lose the kids about what they’re supposed to be learning. It’s like they’re being so careful to make sure the kids “get it”, that they just lose them.

This is what is called the New New Math that’s being taught. I have NO idea how to explain it to you because I just don’t get it. But it has to do with things like breaking down the numbers to zero numbers, i.e. 2,652 = 2000 + 600 + 50 + 2. How they do long division with that is absolutely beyond me. You can find it on the net if you really want to know. But the bottom line is that it’s just not working.

Have you had anyone count back your change at the cash register lately? Or how about a kid who makes a mistake on the register and then has to figure out manually what he owes you in change? Frustrating, isn’t it? This is only one by-product of our math in school nowadays.

Another thing that I have found through my teacher classes is that the focus is also on trying not to make things hard for the kids. The subject matter can't be hard because then the child will feel bad, so the curriculum and teaching has to be made "easy" and "fun" so the child will feel good about learning it. Having a child struggle to learn is a big no-no.

Grammar, Spelling and Writing
There is a sign outside of a house that says “The Smith’s”. Yes, that’s right, the singular possessive. I would assume that the sign is advertising a family with the surname of Smith, and there is more than one family member, right? So that would make “Smith” plural. Signs, newspapers, magazines and many publications that are for the PUBLIC to read (therefore, in my opinion, should be examples of good grammar and spelling), are becoming notoriously rife with misspellings, like the above example. I remember when it used to be very rare for something like that to happen; now it’s becoming common. I’ve even seen misspellings on billboards! I couldn’t tell you how grammar is being taught in the schools today other than I notice that workbooks are a very common way of teaching now. In my opinion, those workbooks are NOT teaching the kids coming out of school.

Writing is also learned through filling in the blanks in workbooks with an occasional report thrown in. I can’t see how this is teaching kids to get their thoughts down on paper.

As far as penmanship -- forget it! The current thinking is that we have computers, so why do we have to have good handwriting?

I actually believe that there's more to handwriting than "pretty" and "neat". I believe that practicing good handwriting somehow links the brain and trains the brain in some way to fine motor skills and maybe more things that we haven't seen yet. There are progressions in physical and mental development that need to be met to produce an adult that can do many things without problems. I'm not sure we're developing fine motor skills any more unless someone learns how to bait a hook on a fishing pole or learns to hand sew -- things like that. Only time will tell if we're leaving out an important developmental step and what the repercussions are.

Some Problems Today with our Public Schools

Even though there is a big ripple going through our country that our schools are in trouble, there are still many parents who believe in our schools, and that their children will still get an education by attending them. Let’s look at some problems with our schools today.

There is a growing trend among our children in this country that violence, rudeness, bad behavior and attitudes are “cool”. This is reinforced by many parents who behave the same way as their children do – or simply look the other way. Our movie industry, video industry and music industry all attest to this by the huge profits they make from products that contain these behaviors. It is not common to find nonviolence in any of these industries. Plus, the movie industry and TV portray disrespect and rudeness. Kids nowadays find that any movie, TV program or music that does not portray these behaviors and attitudes are for sissies or are boring – basically, “uncool”. And to reinforce this even more, parents also like these movies, programs, music and videos.

Our schools, of course, are full of these kids. It is the “norm” in our schools, not the exception any more. Sexuality is also another characteristic that has become the norm in our schools – especially for middle- and high-school girls. Fashion is one thing – whether those of us in the older generation like it or not – but we’re talking about bare midriffs, half a girl’s bottom showing, breasts being very exposed, and lots of seductive make-up. The fashions for girls have also become very sexy – slinky, whatever you want to call it. Some are beautiful (in my opinion) but are not made for little girls, and I’ve seen many elementary (K-6) school girls wearing these, too. But the fashion industry is making these clothes, and (again, in my opinion) encouraging this. The parents also encourage this by allowing their children to dress this way and buy these clothes.

Drugs are also prevalent on many school campuses, even at the elementary school level.

With the laws that we now have in place, our teachers and administrators of our schools really have their hands tied. There is only so much they can do. There is no more being sent to the principal’s for a swat; there is no more dunce cap; there is no more being put in the corner facing the wall. These are all “abusive” tactics. A teacher can put a child in time-out, but that child cannot face the wall – the child still has to be “included” as part of the class. A teacher cannot isolate a child from the classroom; it will “hurt the child’s self-esteem”.

I have seen some very disruptive kids where the principal has to call the parents to come pick up their child from school. And I have seen those kids wait in the office or principal’s office the entire day until the parent or parents decide to pick up their child. I have also witnessed children running off campus, with the principal and/or teacher running after the child, and the parents still do not come.

I have not only witnessed, but heard from teachers and principals alike that when a parent is asked to help with the behavior of their child in school, that the parent says, “It’s your problem, not mine.”

Yes, there are many positive reinforcement tactics that a teacher can use, but there are a growing number of children who just do not respond to them. They simply could care less. (“You won’t be able to go on the field trip.” “So?”)

Classroom and Teachers
I must really say that I really feel sorry for teachers today. Between discipline, no parent cooperation and now we’ve got that "No Child Left Behind Act” thrown at those poor teachers, you've simply got nothing left of a "teacher" any more. The teacher has now become a bureaucrat and a statistician -- and their jobs are at risk if the statistics in their classroom do not meet the required statistics of that Act for the year. In other words, they have to teach to The Test, not teach the children. And the kids have become a statistic now, too. It's pathetic. There’s barely enough time to teach any more. It's all about The Test.

Of course, there's more to the problem of our failing schools than that, but that's a biggie right now for the teachers. Another biggie I find: the behavior of "mainstream" kids is so gross nowadays, and I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the parents for that. Teachers and administrators (principals) can only do so much within the law to grapple with these kids. And those kids end up taking up most of the time in the classroom, thus taking the time away from the kids who do want to learn. And lots of times the kids who suffer the most are the ones who need the extra attention.

Yes, crowded classrooms make it difficult, but that has never stopped good teachers from being able to teach well. Teachers' and administrators' nerves are strung too tight nowadays to be able to do even a mediocre job.

Remember the one-room schoolhouses? Many of those were not small, and the teacher was not only teaching to different learning abilities, but also to different ages. So I disagree to some extent about how many kids are in a class.

In my humble opinion, teaching is an art. There are as many ways of teaching as there are different types of artists. And many teachers were "called" to teach or have a "passion" to teach. They love working with kids. It's a creative endeavor. But just like anything else in our society, there are bad apples in the lot, too -- of course.

Where I see the problem with our public schools is the "institution" or the "system". Teachers and administrators alike are now dictated to about what they can and cannot do or teach in the classroom. There is very little room for creative teaching any more.

With the No Child Left Behind Act it's become increasingly so. This is also compounded by the current behavior of kids and their parents nowadays. So many parents look at school as a babysitter. And so many parents do not correct bad behavior -- and/or think rude and bad behavior is okay and normal (“cool”), or even think that the child has a right to express him/herself. Teachers and administrators (principals) can only do so much within the law to grapple with these kids. And those kids end up taking up most of the time in the classroom, thus taking the time away from the kids who do want to learn. And lots of times the kids who suffer the most are the ones who need the extra attention.

School districts decide on the curriculum and even decide on the way to teach and to discipline. In our district, we use the Open Court curriculum and the Baldridge method of teaching/disciplining (as I understand this program). Between these two factors alone, the teachers have it really rough, and the ones who suffer in the end are the kids. There is just no room or time any more; it’s sink or swim for the kids. The teachers are now there to just follow a script.

So when I hear or read that the teacher doesn’t have time for a child because there’s too many kids in the classroom or that the teacher has a short temper – yes, I agree – but I also understand where the teacher is coming from.

I am just SO THANKFUL that we have the option of teaching our kids at home now – to take them out of that environment, to cater and create to their learning styles, and to make sure they ARE learning. We have the CHOICE now.

Some Reasons Parents Decide to Homeschool

There are as many reasons why parents homeschool as there are people! But there are some common reasons, and they can be divided into two groups.

Positive Reasons

This is perhaps the biggest reason why some parents homeschool, especially Christian parents. Their main reasoning is that God has given them the gift of children, and it is their responsibility to raise them according to God’s wishes. This includes their responsibility for teaching them their Christian beliefs. Public schools cannot teach Christianity in school, so this is one alternative. But because these parents believe it is their responsibility given to them by God, then it is up to the parents to do the teaching, not a school.

Catering to a child's learning ability or passion
This is probably the second biggest reason, and this covers many areas.

Children learn naturally, no matter what their environment, and there are parents who want their children to learn in a “natural” way. This is called “unschooling”.

Or their child is slower or faster than the normal child in school, and by homeschooling the parents can accommodate the child’s learning pace. In this way the parents can be sure their child is not left behind in a school setting, or is not bored. Special Ed or accelerated classes do not satisfy these parents, and feel they can do a much better job of teaching their child.

Or maybe their child has a passion or gift for something, like music. The parents can encourage their child in that direction, emphasizing and focusing on that passion or gift.

Negative Reasons

Dissatisfaction with the curriculum or what is being taught in school.
This is becoming more and more popular. Remember the controversies surrounding sex education? This reason is along these lines. There are many parents who do not like what is being taught in the schools, so they bring them home to teach them what they think should be taught.

Interest groups put pressure on not only the schools, but on the textbook publishers to get wording and values changed to impart to the children. A couple of examples of this are in California: Christianity is not allowed to be taught, but Islam is now inserted into history texts. "Mom and Dad" is also not allowed to be mentioned, but if it is (whether by teacher or student), alternative lifestyles are also to be discussed. Things of this nature may be perfectly acceptable to some parents, but for other parents it is not acceptable, so they pull their children out of school to teach them their own values and beliefs.

Social Environment
This is another growing reason why parents have been pulling their children out of school. Columbine in Colorado, the incidents of children carrying weapons to school, the violence in our schools – these are becoming very strong reasons for parents to pull their children out of school.

What Teachers Are Taught Today To Teach

I am currently in school to get my teaching credential. Although the reasons I went back are several, the main reason I chose to go back was to protect my right to homeschool my son until he is finished with school. I am fearful that our time of freedom to homeschool may come to an end, and I thought that the only way I could protect this right was to get certified.

Plus, I needed a secure job in this economic climate with hours that would work with my son's rigorous hockey schedule. Add to that my love of children and how I found out that I love to teach, what better job could I go after?

My horrifying surprise at what teachers today are taught about how to "teach" cannot be taken lightly. There are no "methods" classes, only "content" classes. These classes are intense in teaching us ways to learn to profile students so that a teacher may be better able to reach that child. By "profiling", I mean learning to observe a students physical features to determine which ethnicity they might be. Yes, racism, pure and simple. It took me about half way through my first class and a big bottle of Tylenol to finally figure out what the class was all about! When I figured it out, needless to say I was horrified! But figuring that out made the rest of the class and then subsequent classes go easier for me. I just didn't get what they were trying to teach.

Add to that that the curriculum that is used in schools today is so very scripted, that it leaves little room for a teacher to actually teach. The teachers I have talked to during observation all echo this frustration. They complain that everything is about The Test and have little or no time to actually teach. Teachers who have been in the schools and are ready to retire are only staying on for the last year until retirement. This sentiment was repeated throughout the schools, adding that they never would have gone into teaching today because they just can't teach.

It's with a heavy heart that I think about our teachers in the public school system that is in place today. The teachers have no choice, and follow the rules. The ones that don't follow the rules usually have kids who are really learning something, but their job is at stake.