Friday, November 11, 2011

Independent Thinking


A friend shared this on facebook tonight.  To be completely honest, it has me fuming.  I'm fairly certain that Adam Hilliker caught a crap load of backlash over this.

I see it from two perspectives.  One of them is myself, as a child growing up.  Alex and I are very similar.  Though I was more respectful.  I'm fairly certain it's the calling his teacher a liar that REALLY got him in trouble.

When I was 7, I started second grade at a new school.  I clearly remember raising my hand, and when the teacher acknowledged me, I said, "I'm going to the bathroom."  And I got up and headed for the door.  She stopped me by calling my name, and told me that I hadn't asked for permission.  I told her, "I wasn't asking for permission, I was telling you where I was going so that you wouldn't worry or wonder why I left the classroom."  I clearly remember the surprise on her face as she blinked twice, her lips frowned, and she said, "...Okay."  And I left for the bathroom.

When I was 8, we were required to take German.  I remember my German teacher telling me, "In German, your name is "Yah-nin.""  I answered, "It doesn't matter what language you speak.  MY name is "Janin.""

I'm pretty sure that in both instances, it was the calm, logical, straight faced way I said these that baffled my teachers.  I grew up, frequently told that I didn't speak like a child.

When I was in high school, I had two occasions where I corrected my math books.  One was an example with the wrong answer.  Another was a homework problem that the back of the book had the wrong answer for.  My mother sent me in with a correction from one of my science books.  Two of my English teachers were fond of telling me, "I had to use a dictionary to check your paper.  Although you didn't -technically- use the circled words incorrectly...you used them...unusually."

I'm not claiming to be brilliant.  I'm not.  But I AM claiming the same thing that the student above did:  That mistakes and errors in education need to be brought to attention and corrected.  And just because something is not conventional, that doesn't mean that it's incorrect.  I have a deep seated aversion with learning things 'wrong'.  I have an equal aversion to someone trying to teach that there's only ONE way to do/ learn something.

As to the second way that I took this, I have had notes come home addressed to, "Mrs.", relating to my own sons.

Fortunately, neither of them have done anything considered worthy of detention.  But twice this year, my oldest has taken homework in with notes he's written giving the 'expected' answer, along with the correct one.  His teacher sent home responding notes thanking him for the clarification or correction.  My boys will speak up when they disagree or if the information is confusing or wrong.  But they do so -politely-.

So if this note came home with either of my children, how the conversation proceeded would determine whether or not my son was actually serving this detention.  If it proceeded along the 'swallow the Kool-aid' sit down, shut up, and stop thinking line-- I promise he would not.