Ode to the 21st Century

Don’t get me wrong – the 21st century is an awesome time to be alive. I can talk to friends in different countries, communicate instantly with my sister who lives on the other side of the world, and Skype to see how my infant niece is growing. It’s all amazing.

It can also be overwhelming. Just starting a blog and trying to figure out how to navigate my way around the site, find blogs on a different site, follow a friend who followed me (Karen-help me out here!) can all get slowed down by the fact I am a member of Generation X. Barely. Some would call me a Baby Boomer, but I would argue there has never been a span of years regarding THAT generation that includes the year I was born. Too many people I encounter are still computer illiterate, and this is sad. I actually had a Boomer say to me last week, “When I go home I don’t even know how to use the computer.” Which means at work she doesn’t use a computer at all. I suggested she get on the 21st century bandwagon before it all passed her into oblivion. She didn’t care for that comment.

But here is what is making me laugh right now. My significant other is downstairs on this rainy, lazy Saturday watching a story about the beginnings of Facebook and I’m sitting in another room trying to figure out how to follow someone on WordPress. Just a few short years ago, these concepts weren’t even in our vocabulary. 

We have world access instantly. It’s amazing, if not just a tad bit too much sometimes. I might go read a book – you know, the old fashioned kind, with a binding and paper pages.

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No Answers For You!! Soup Nazi Takes Over Public Education!

“Don’t give the students the answers.”

This was written in a memo packet given to the teachers in my building last week. I believe that most of this came from the District-I-Will-Not-Name and some from the State Department of Education. We are in the middle of state testing, a right of passage in the Springtime in America, kind of like allergies, having to mow the lawn, prom and graduation. All the adults are stressed out and thus make the children stressed out…and it just rolls downhill from there. I actually don’t believe testing is bad and that perhaps can be a post for another time.

What I did find offensive was the above quote. I resent being talked to like a child and I believe that, even though there are exceptions to this, most teachers would not give a child answers on a test when it is prohibited. My colleagues and I are professionals, this is what we’ve chosen to do with our lives, and to jeopardize everything we’ve worked for to give a kid answers is just a joke to me. All of my co-workers have a Master’s degree and have at least 10 years on the job. We have state licenses (some of us have two or three), we have BCI clearance, and do a job that most people would not ever consider.

Don’t get me wrong, I want my students to pass the test that I am responsible for them passing. I don’t want to be questioned in 4 months as to why my students (who are in High School at this point) did not pass a test and I take it personally when they don’t pass, thinking what could I have done better, differently, more thoroughly. But we work hard all year to get to this point and I know they will do their absolute best.

So here is my letter back to those same people who wrote those prophetic words:

I would not put everything I’ve worked for, most importantly my personal reputation, on the line to tell a kid answers on a test. They either know it or they don’t and I have faith in them that they can figure it out.

Don’t put out a memo with a stupid directive just because you are scared to death of the media getting a hold of a test question, or a text or a picture that a student sent to them from YOUR school district. Don’t talk to me like a child when YOU are the ones who can’t quite figure out how to run an efficient school district and you know that if the above said media gets a hold of something YOU will get blamed. But then, you’ve covered your ass enough to be able to blame the teachers. Which seems to be a favorite pass time of certain people these days.

Sincerely – The Teacher You Seem To Have No Faith In