Thursday, 1 March 2012
Okay, I'm about to get long winded here... so bear with me.
I didn't think myself for or against this teachers going on strike bill 22 business because I don't have kids in school. I'm not going to school, and rarely do I think about it at all. But right now, I am thinking about it. I'm thinking about how hard it was when I was in highschool for me to give a shit. Why? Well, I was always a pretty decent student when I was younger, but for some reason, I felt ignored. I thought that there was something wrong with me, that I was invisible unless I was acting completely crazy like how I saw most everyone else who was getting the attention. I'd refuse to talk in class, make up BS to get noticed, you know - the usual stuff. It wasn't until I started doing poorly in class that I felt noticed. So I stopped trying to keep an A average - because what did it matter anyway? One month in grade 11 I think I skipped every second day. Not every second class, every second day. I still managed to keep my grades at about B (or perhaps more accurately a high C) average, but I didn't stay on honour roll, that's for sure. By the time I was in grade 12, I'd had enough and looked for every option to get myself out of the school environment. I did not feel I was receiving any sort of education there. I'd go in and barely listen to the teachers while other students acted, as I saw it, insane because they hated being there so much. I'd read the textbooks but never do my homework unless the assignment seemed like I could make it fun. But because I did want to learn I always tested well. There were a lot of students that I saw being disrespectful and rude. One of my favourite teachers had a speech about our highschools mentality that I fully agreed with. So I opted for taking Open Learning (online) courses as a means to get the hell out of there, as fast as possible.
I was an idealist, the kind of kid who earnestly wanted to learn. Learning is to me, and probably always has been, a large portion of my personal meaning of life. I saw the classroom as a place to be respected and enjoyed, but so many of my peers didn't. Maybe they were just all acting out for attention, the way I occasionally did. Even so, it didn't matter to me then. All that mattered, in my childish perspective, was that I get through it - like a trial or an ordeal I was forced to suffer through.
Like so many other people, it was only my social network in school that kept me going after a while. As much as people pissed me off, I had a lot of friends who shared my perspective of others, who shared my interests and hobbies. A lot of friends who felt the same way I did about school and would ditch with me.
Now, looking back with the eyes of an adult, I can see what happened. Why my experience in school was what it was - not awful, but not at all what I had expected it would be. Because although the pretence was that it was about formal education of the kind that teaches us mathematics and sciences, it became the kind of education that teaches a person how to deal with other people, how to be liked and get noticed when you wanted to be and ignored when you needed to be. A social education.
It's no wonder that Social Media is so fucking important in our modern society... I digress.
And my school wasn't as overcrowded as they are now, but they were crowded. Most of my classes had over 30 students - too many for one teacher to properly handle.
Do I believe my education suffered for teachers going on strike while I was in school? No, not really. I was still able to attend classes when they were on strike, if I chose to go and for some reason I liked it better. I got one on one attention because 60% of the students didn't bother to show up. It was refreshing, it was like a whole new way to learn.
Do I believe my education suffered from crowded classrooms and administrative apathy?
Students are failing not because of lazy teachers, or lack of report cards. Good students aren't suffering because their teachers go on strike, they are suffering because they feel like no one cares, that it doesn't matter if they do well. It seems to only matter if they do poorly - because then teachers of overcrowded classrooms have no choice but to make time for them. Really, its because they just can't make time for everyone in a day when the class sizes are so big.
Do I think that, if my school experience had felt more inclusive, less over crowded, that my life would be different today? Yes, I really do.
Or maybe I'd be right where I am now, who's to say?
All I can say is, the teachers right to take action and to stand up for student's rights and their own rights, should not be revoked. I honestly believe that education is the absolute most important thing in every single persons life - how else would we know anything? How would we make informed decisions? We wouldn't, we'd be lost.
--- What inspired me to write this