Waiting for Superman

I really want to see waiting for Superman.  I have since I first heard about it. But I don’t live in any of those fabulous areas where they premier films like that so I will have to wait awhile. Several years ago after working in banking for almost 7 years and being a mentor to a child in middle school.  I decided that I might want to search my heart and go back to my childhood dream of being a teacher.  What kid didn’t play teacher?  I didn’t have brothers or sisters so I would line my dolls and stuffed animals up in my bathroom (I have no idea why) and teach them.  I loved office supplies and would covet things I could find around the house that looked like items my teachers had.

I truely believe without an education and some great teachers I would have never gone to college, moved to another country, learned to love learning and got out of the cycle of poverty and underachieving in my family. From an early age books were my escape and for a long time all school subjects were but that changed in 5th grade.  I had a new teacher who told my mother she really didn’t like kids in a conference.  I had parents going through a divorce after years of fighting, I was living with my grandparents, I started to realize how important it was to have friends in school and “be cool”, I also was now being overlooked and underchallenged in science, a subject I had excelled out.  So there and then my life changed.  I became a so so student.  I mean I wasn’t failing but I wasn’t working up to my potential and this happened through high school.  It was in high school I finally had a teacher who knew I was capabable of more and let me chart my own course in English class. Read on my own schedule and do reports.  I loved it.  I still read all the time, I just didn’t apply anything to school.  But this teacher made me rethink myself.  As you can tell I was in public school my whole life.

Flash forward to years out of college and in the workforce and I felt a strong need to teach.  So I started my masters while abroad and paid for it myself, no work reimbursement, no aid.  I loved it for awhile.  Then we got into some of the politics of teaching and dealing with parents.  And I moved back to the  US and didn’t have as much cash so I stopped a few credits shy of completion.  Years after this I would be sitting in church and had a strong sense that I was meant to be teaching.  I pushed that way out of my mind.  Long story short I do teach now in Sunday School and I am active in the Christiam Eduation and pre-school in my church. 

My oldest child just started kindergarten in the same school I went to.  My husband & I wanted private school like he had, but I don’t work FT so finances are tight.  We went to a parent conference and learned that our children will be expected to count to 100 by the end of the year using 10’s.  My child is already doing that but of course some parents groaned.  The school board recentely passed a rule stating all kids above kindergarten have to read 10 books by the end of the year.  10 books of their choosing and parents fought this claiming it was too many.  10?  Can you imagine? I read 10 books in a week sometime and I read that many with my children in a weeks time. 

So I ended up not teaching even though my heart was there because I did not want to deal with parents who would not be supportive or cause an uproar.  I didn’t want to have to pass children or force learning because we needed to make a quota. Plus I didn’t have kids at the time.  I figured if I ever have kids and the public school is bad I’ll send them to private. Well that’s not how life ended up right now.

So back to waiting for Superman I am shocked by what we saw on Oprah and the comments made by some students.  I felt for the little girl whose mom was trying to do right by her who was crying because she couldn’t be at the school she wanted to be at.  Here was a little girl crying who was smart and who was not able to be where she needed to be.  We shouldn’t do that to our kids. All schools should be great.  All teachers should be great.  Things need to change.  I myself do not do well on standardized tests, but I know lots of schools still use them.  I have not written in cursive in I don’t know how long and yet almost a whole year of a kids life is dedicated to learning that style of writing.  Who cares?  If they can print and they can type that’s what they need.  Spend more time on helping kids excel in reading and science and math.  Make learning fun and interesting.  Something is not working and it needs to change.  The fact that this will be the first generation to be more illiterate than the previous is sad.  We can’t expect kids to succeed if we don’t give them the tools and the teachers to do so.  Teachers are amazing but the schools need to be able to weed out the bad apples. There is no other job in the world with that much security.  Sometimes it is only a great bunch of teachers that will get you to the next level.  I know because that was my experience.  When I met my husband and learned of the wonderful schools he had been to and the knowledge he received I can honestly say I was jealous.  I had no idea there were places like that in this world. 

I can not wait to see waiting for Superman and in the meantime check out the shows info or go to Oprah.com and see what it’s all about. It’s a revolution we should all be part of.


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