The year is over.

It’s summer time, all the little monsters are now their parent’s responsibility for 2 months and we get a month of pure freedom. But you know, this last term has really made me consider things – this was my first year of working in a primary school and it has probably been the toughest year of my life – but the one thing that I have notices , and I don’t know if it just here or all over the world, but the way schools are run is just wrong.

Schools seem to be run by people who know nothing about running a school, they are experienced in running a business and that is not what a school is. While it may be “for-profit” it doesn’t mean it runs like your average business, the students and their parents are not clients, the teachers are not office workers and it isn’t all about the profit. 

In this last term the things that have been asked of the staff have been ridiculous, it’s like the management team just completely disregard the fact that we still have small humans running around under our feet who need out attention and instead think we are all able to sit at our desks and bang out what ever they need as and when they need it and that is not the way this all works. 

People need to start to understand what it is to be in a classroom with children. I know that as a librarian I get off slightly easier than the rest of the staff but I have been in a classroom before and I know that the most precious time is those 5 or 10 minutes you get a day where you are able to go pee. 

What about these early starts?

This morning on the way to work a colleague and I were discussing the early mornings of  school children. Here a lot of schools require children to be on the premises by 7:30am with most of them starting at 8:00am, it has always been the same, ever since I was little. I have to say though, I think it is far too early, there are children who have to get up at 4am to beat the traffic to get to school on time, the kids who get the bus have to be up at the crack of dawn and some of them don’t get home until after 5:00pm, it works out to an incredibly long day, more so for the littler ones.

I have to wonder how much good it does the children in the long run, even if they go to bed early being woken up at stupid o’clock can’t be healthy. Most parents want their kids to get as much sleep as possible so they let them sleep as long as they can, which much of the time means sacrificing things like a good breakfast – which doesn’t help their energy level and their concentration. I just wonder if it’s worth finishing earlier in the afternoon.

Perhaps a Logical Thought?

While recently browsing the internet for interesting education articles I have noticed a major influx in people commenting on new rules and laws to become a teacher all over the world. Of course everywhere has their own ways of defining who can and cannot be a teacher, after all it is a very important profession to society -despite what people keep telling me – and not anyone can pick up a pen and teach; but I have noticed governing bodies seem to be making it harder and harder for people to actually teach…

I understand that to become a teacher you obviously need credentials and proof that you have actually been trained to do what you want to do, but it seems that even with an education degree and a few certificates it is still being made harder to get a job in a lot of places. Now considering the standard of education as it stands today in many countries I understand that people want only the best teachers to bring the levels back up but when you look at the pay rate of teachers in most countries and, in a lot of cases, the work environment and in some cases the dangers, you can understand why a lot of people do not want to be teachers. But the problem is those who do have worked hard for it and are still coming up against massive walls telling them they are still not good enough. No one ever decides to get a degree in education and get certified to teach because it’s an easy option – and if they go in with that attitude they often don’t last long. I know because I do not have a degree in teaching, when I was deciding what to do at university people suggested it to me but I didn’t want to work that hard – yes I wanted an easy option I knew I would enjoy – and I watched people do a degree in education and I know that it was a long drawn out process of many late nights and crazy early mornings (which doesn’t change when you start working).

I guess I just don’t understand why, when we live in a world where teachers are so necessary and, for the most part, so scarce, people feel the need to make it so difficult to do a job that is needed all over the world. I am not saying they should let anyone teach, of course not, but at least let the people who have worked for it do it and stop making them have to do something else, followed by something else, then something more before maybe being able to do what they have worked for.

I won’t lie, I worry quite a lot.

I worry for the state of the next generation. The complete inability to engage even an iota of common sense and to do things or think for themselves is a true concern. The number of questions I get on a daily basis from the students at our school that just should not be asked is beginning to cause wrinkles.

I know I am not the only one, a lot of the teachers  I work with have commented on the lack of individual thought throughout the student body. Now I don’t know if it is just because of where we live and the lifestyle that exist here where most of them don’t actually ever have to think for themselves because they all have maids and nannies to do their bidding from the day they are born or if it just something that is happening everywhere.

I know that a lot of the problem here is doting parents who feel that their children should  not have to do any sort of “hard work” themselves and so their children end up becoming completely dependent on mum and dad or the household help to get them through the day. I know that by the time I was 6 I was able to get up in the morning and make myself breakfast – and I don’t just mean pour a bowl of cereal – I could make myself toast with what ever I wanted on it or a bowl of ready brek in the microwave, and by 8 I could make cheese on toast in the oven and a bowl of pasta or noodles at lunchtime. If need arose I could, to a degree, fend for myself. I have spoken to some of our students in year 3, most of them have no idea how to use a microwave properly but most of them know how to order home delivery.

The amount of kids who use the excuse “my mum/nanny/maid didn’t put it in my bag/didn’t remember” from the age of 3 all the way up to the year 6s at the top of the school is well and truly disgusting. My standard reply is “it’s not their responsibility to remember it, it’s yours.” You would be shocked by the number of times I have been asked what that meant.

I understand that children forget things and of course need parents help, I am not saying leave them out on the street to sort themselves out, they should be fine, but seriously, children don’t even know what a chore is, none of them are responsible for looking after anything that belongs to them.

I also know that not everyone is the same, obviously, even here we have some kids at our school who are helpful, responsible and capable of engaging a brain cell but seriously, do your kids a favour and make them do something for themselves at least once a day.

An interesting look at education in the 21st century.

A list of 14 things that are considered obsolete in schools today.

Some of the list I agree with and some of which I don’t, I think that there is still a lot of thought that needs to go into things like the integration of phones as a learning tool, tablets are different but phones I think the temptation to misuse them is very high. I think that things like that are based on a strong teacher, student trust, where the educator is able to trust pupils enough to not prat around on their devises and actually use them for work during lesson time; probably the most important thing is developing and understanding of the importance of learning in the students and allowing them free time to use their tablets as they wish.

I think the use of tablets and phones in the classroom also goes hand in had with school censorship and not blocking things like Facebook and Twitter but rather trusting students to have enough want to learn that they do not distract themselves with social media. In this day and age, although it may not be obvious, these social networking sites can become important educational tools – and I don’t just mean for teaching kids about the dangers of the internet and all that – but  it is a case of knowing when and how they should be used. Who can honestly say that in their working life they have never once opened Facebook during work hours, but we still get what we need to done, why can’t it be the same for students.