I've hesitated to post this New York Times photograph (of a classroom in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy) because, in doing so, I can't help feeling like a curmudgeon. Why shouldn't teachers act as therapists after kids go through Superstorms?
Along those lines (more fodder for my inner curmudgeon): monthly field trips; movies in the classroom; games. Why shouldn't teachers provide field trips when some kids come from families that don't/can't take them out to museums, zoos, and pumpkin patches? Why shouldn't teachers include fun activities that some kids don't otherwise experience?
But what are our educational priorities? What should concern schools most vis a vis kids whose home environments don't permit movies and field trips? Of all the disadvantages these kids experience, is closing the Field Trip gap really the top priority?
It was Auntie Ann's comment on my last post, and Anonymous' follow-up, that inspired me to go ahead and post this.
Auntie Ann writes:
Our experience is that teachers work to keep kids engaged by making the classroom "fun!" What this means in practice is that the drudgery of homework and practicing a skill repeatedly isn't fun enough for teachers to take the time with, and they shunt those tasks off as homework (or worse, don't assign them at all.)Anonymous writes:
I teach Middle School English, and I feel tremendous pressure to make all my classes entertaining and fun, often at the expense of learning. No on teachers grammar anymore, mostly because it might actually involve a worksheet (god forbid) or something that kids today find boring.So here, uncensored, are my immediate reactions to the Times photo. How much time is being wasted here? What makes the teacher think she can act as trauma therapist? And do the kids really want to be "processing" their feelings about Sandy in their 5th grade classroom?