Triumphant and ignorant learning attitudes: inspired by the blogosphere

The act of education is very personal, so try not to shoot the messenger, who may be your child’s teacher.  A post inspired by a blogger called Self Proclaimed Super Mom  

Today, while surfing the net I ran across this post by blogger Self Proclaimed Super Mom http://selfproclaimedsupermom.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/03/index.html and happened upon her post on teachers.  In her post entitled Teacher Said WHAAAAAT?, this blogger argues that it is not the job of the parent to teach her daughter Math times tables, (the subject her daughter is interested in learning), but the negligent job of her daughter’s teacher. 

The blog post then listed several comments that bashed the teacher.  One comment even said: “What are you paying her for?”  Personally, I find this attitude to be very sad, aggressive, and ignorant towards teaching and learning.  There are a lot of different issues I could talk about here.  I could mention overworked parents, or overworked teachers.  I could mention the overstretched curriculum or limited classroom resources.  Perhaps even consider learning difficulties or personal conflicts that can disrupt the learning process.  However, I don’t want to use my post to discuss those issues.  Instead I want to emphasize something deeper that has more to do with human nature than traditional schooling.
Education can provide curriculum and instruction, teaching, and learning support.  However, education is a two way street.  Teachers can only give so much and it is up to you the student to actualize on your own learning potential.  Teachers can mentor, encourage, and enlighten.  However, they can’t provide personal drive and maintain an individual passion in learning or knowledge.  Some learning is self taught.  Often then best things we learn in life are facilitated though another. 

Moreover, most teachers are with us for a short time.  They may be there through the academic year or touch base thought a semester course.  When the institutional learning is over, where does that leave us?  More educated?  Wiser, more evolved?  Probably.  But it is up the individual to continue the quest for learning to insure this new knowledge deepens. 
Teachers, introduce curriculum and intellectual ideas but it is up to the student to decipher the knowledge and profit from it.  We all interoperate learning differently.  Some learning is technical, others philosophical, emotional, or ephemeral.  Some learning happens instantly.  Others comes to be understood years later.
In some cases, the best knowledge is self-realized or self-taught.  On a personal level, I have four University degrees but one of my greatest passions is photography in which I have been largely self-taught.  Despite my appreciation for academia I learned photography a through the process of trial and error, networking, and familiarity with new technology.  There is not right or wrong way to learn something.
In addition, we can learn from our mistakes and from the mistakes of others.  People need to realize that teachers do their job primarily to help people and should not feel intimidated or condescending around them.  Most likely, the blog writer I mentioned is uneducated and feels threatened by educators.  A common attitude felt by many who have rejected traditional schooling.
Perhaps her child is not happy with her learning environment.  Perhaps the child just wants more attention from her teacher and mother.  The mother should learn to work together with her child’s teacher and not engage in petty attacks.  A shift in attitude would demonstrate a more respect for teaching, learning, and ultimately her daughter’s education. 


4 Responses to “Triumphant and ignorant learning attitudes: inspired by the blogosphere”

  1. 1 Ripplebliss
    February 9, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Hmmm… Read the post that you referred to and I think the mom may have missed one tiny part of the equation: Her kid.

    I mean, it’s like the overly proud parents watching their child in the marching band and commenting,”Look! Our little Jimmy must be the only one stepping in time, because no one else is marching on the same beat as him! He is clearly a genius.”

    Meanwhile, of course, little Jimmy is the only one utterly bunging things up.

    Parents get really sensitive when the possibility that their child is not omnipotently brilliant and constantly hard-working is called up by teachers.

    However, I’ve been teaching for 6 years now, long enough to know what’s normal and what’s not and let’s face the harsh facts:

    Maybe there is something wrong with her child. Perhaps her kid is just lazy. Maybe she didn’t listen properly, do her homework or pay attention when her class learned times tables last year.

    Or – insert drumroll – Maybe her child is just NOT THAT BRIGHT and perhaps a SLOW LEARNER when it comes to math. Geez! It’s normal for kids to have problems in at least one area of school.

    Anyone deluded enough to proclaim herself a Supermom must have some major delusions about her kids.

  2. February 10, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Thanks Rachelle.

    There was something about Supermom’s post that really disturbed me. Namely how she and others bashed teachers.

    Ultimately, parents have to learn to work with their child’s teacher for the good of their son or daughter’s education. Parents should also be aware of the limits of the curriculum and schooling. It’s better to try and work within the system then attack those who are doing their best despite it.

  3. February 14, 2007 at 12:16 am

    I just want to say thanks for the post about education and the attitudes of parents. I’ve been teaching English in Hsinchu, Taiwan, for over four years now, and unfortunately it seems like the parents make the job harder than it needs to be, both for teachers and students.

  4. February 14, 2007 at 1:56 am

    Thanks Mike,

    It is a whole other ballgame in Taiwan. The customer, ie. parents is always right which can be frustrating to say the least.

    Happy Days!

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