Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Trouble with TESS

I felt it coming. I've spent hours with TESS over the last few days. We discuss current events, watch short movies, reflect on my life and career. Given the depth of our relationship, it was only a matter of time before we disagreed on something. Couples have disagreements all the time. I get that. They disagree about money, children and, well, the process of making children.

My disagreement with TESS isn't about money or about the origin of children. (We've only been seeing each other a week, it wouldn't be proper.) But it is about children. Specifically about how children are taught and learn. And I'm afraid our differences may be irreconcilable. We're just too far apart philosophically.

I'm an educator. TESS wants teachers. And this is the root of our disagreement.

I believe that children need educators that provide structured freedom. Educators who create the environment where kids can safely explore, question and fail. A place where learners take ownership of the curriculum and an active role in how they engage with it. A place where learning is messy and filled with a chorus of collaboration and communication and the chatter of critical thinking. A place that is home to passionate problem solving and copious creativity. A place driven by inquiry, tied to objectives and powered by a child's curiosity. I believe kids need educators in the classic sense of the word - people with a desire to "draw out the unique qualities of a child." This is what I believe; the kind of educator I want to be.

I have yet to succeed in creating this environment. But I'm an educator. I keep trying.

Unfortunately, TESS appears to feel differently. She wants teachers that provide structured control. In her opinion, teachers maintain classrooms that are orderly, uniform and systematic. Just by looking, she can tell if a teacher is operating an efficient classroom. A place where learning is neat, tidy and teacher driven. A place where teachers manage participation and constrain communication and collaboration. A place home to preconceived problem solving and measured creativity. A place where students know their role and teachers have control. A place where everyone is doing their job. TESS believes teachers instruct students and fill them with knowledge.

In spite of all this, I still kind of like her. She means well and has children's best interests at heart.

I hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment