Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I don't usually quote oprah...

...but when asked about her choice to open her Leadership Academy in South Africa instead of the United States (particularly Chicago), she replied:

"Say what you will about the American educational system — it does work. ... If you are a child in the United States, you can get an education. ... I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there. ... If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod, sneakers, or some money. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."

Did she make too broad a generalization?  Of course.  However, point taken.

I love my students.  There is something severely wrong with the culture when at least 5 kids in different classes ask for a "free day" every day. (um, what the heck is a free day anyway?  yes, i'm the teacher who makes them answer analytical questions about movies.)  I change activities about every 10 minutes... every day of every week.  Many students still complain.

On the other hand, I have students that, while they seem to feel apathetic towards school itself, genuinely enjoy learning.  They ask lots of questions, correct their mistakes even if the extra credit put them over 100%.  They like to learn, but get tired of all the time-wasting from those who don't enjoy learning.  I wonder what it would be like if school was optional?  Not that we should make society that way.  But, what if it was.  People, by nature, seem to naturally want what they don't have.  (Jesus told us to be content... probably because we need to work on this, not because we naturally are content.)  If school was optional, would people be more or less educated?  Would the teenagers get tired of sitting at home all day and realizing they can't get jobs?  Maybe not... just a random thought.  My mind is a little random today.

Praying for students to want to learn,
Ren :)