Hey Teach!

I’m finding that it’s going to take getting used to having a president again. OK, it’s only been a little over one day. So far Biden has done many of the things I wanted him to do. We’re back in the Paris Accord. We’re back in WHO. Dr. Fauci gave a press briefing. There’s clearer direction on dealing with the virus. All this is wonderful but what I like most is Dr. Biden. I like her a LOT.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those people who objected to Melamine’s nude modeling or anything else she did. None of that bothered me at all.

Education in our country has suffered for decades and I believe a dedicated teacher who is actually TEACHING — COLLEGE ENGLISH teacher no less ❀ — might be able to turn this around.

One of the most troubling things in the Education system in the US is its focus on testing vs. actual learning. Maybe she will see what I have seen and others have seen. Then, another troubling thing is the attitude toward education in many rural areas, that it’s something they don’t need. Maybe that can change, too.

Ignorance has had too high a place in this culture from the beginning. I can understand it in early days when the idea of a democratic system vs. monarchy was first floated then put into effect. The lucky people who had money and education had to persuade those who didn’t have those things that their vote was every bit as good as the vote of a ore privileged person. Except for excluding women and blacks, this country didn’t set itself up to be an elitist republic like Rome or Greece. It had a different idea.

But after having had my nose in American literature of the 19th century for years, I also know that the other part of the idea was to educate the electorate. I read so many essays and articles and short stories where that was the underlying (and sometimes not underlying) message.

The movement for mandatory public school had some ugly origins (populism and racism) but it also set the stage for more kids going to school. It didn’t become a law until fairly recently, and, as we all know, it’s still debated and the last secretary of education was pushing the idea that public education wasn’t such a great idea and that charter schools, church schools and home schools were better.

I don’t really care WHERE kids go to school, I just care that they do. And, when they are there, I want them to be excited to learn new things. I want their curiosity to be encouraged and the development of skills to be regarded as a great and wonderful thing (by the kids). My little foray into teaching children this past fall wasn’t, by my terms, a success at all, but the kids thought it was. I think it takes particular gifts to teach children, different gifts to teach young adults and, most wonderful of all, special gifts to teach adults.

Teaching is a wonderful, rewarding, and stimulating profession that — at the college and university level, anyway — offers little job security and a lousy wage. As a person more interested in intrinsic rewards than in money (silly me) that was all fine, but it really isn’t fine. Dr. Biden seems to understand this and it is one of the goals toward which she has promised to work. We’ll see how all this pans out in time, but I’m happy she’s there.


8 thoughts on “Hey Teach!

  1. β€œThere is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    ― Isaac Asimov

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