Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let Me Coach You Through It

As promised here is my rant about the school system.  It is mild, my brain doesn't feel focused.  They may be a second part at some point.

I went to public school.  I got out.  I got a degree.  I went to college.  I got another degree.  So, as this shows, you can make it through public school and be fine, BUT I have some major beef with the local school systems.

The biggest one that is currently driving me Insane is affectionately called:  If Your First Name Is Coach, Don't Teach Math.  This is not a hard and fast rule but in the combined span of years that my little bro and I had, neither of us has had a math teacher/coach that actually taught.  For some reason math is definitely the weakest area for teachers in our region.  I have had several teachers who were not Mister anything, they were Coach, whatever.  I honestly had one that finally said "if Sierra can't do the problem, we won't do it".  No pressure though.  This isn't a good teaching method.  That guy (a football coach) was too busy watching game footage to really care about what was going on in his classroom.  From his "teaching" such as it were, I don't think he really understood the material well enough to teach it.  The phrase goes "those who can't do teach" but that is a bunch of malarky.

There was a group of us that started in engineering straight out of high school.  Boy oh boy.  It was rough.  We had no background.  We were swimming in the deep end having no training in the baby pool.  It isn't fair to the student to get shafted like that.  It carries on beyond the one year that one teacher decided not to give their full effort. 

Now I hear what you're saying "If your first name is Coach where should you teach?"  I don't have issues with school sports, I really don't.  Teamwork, socializing, work ethic, these are all things that can be learned in school sports.  But often it is at the expense of education.  It would even be a marginally different story if our teams are good.  Alas, they aren't.  The band is good.  So, back to where Coaches should be.  I advocate for history/PE (a great place)/driver's ed.  History, while important (though not something I use a lot), doesn't change a lot.  In 2nd grade George Washington was the first president, in 5th grade George Washington was the first president, and, wait for it, in 9th grade George Washington was the first president.  In math though, in 2nd grade you learn how to do 2+5-3, in 5th grade you learn to graph on a coordinate plane, in 9th grade you graph algebraic equations.  If you didn't have the foundation you are in deep trouble by the time you get that far along.  That isn't the student's fault.  They can't help the quality of teacher they get.  But they will pay the price for years yet to come.

I wish there was a wonderful moral to this story, something you could vote on to make teacher's care more about their student's than their athletes.  I have no great words of wisdom besides, be prepared for extra homework help needed if they say Coach X is their teacher for algebra. 

Here is a funny/depressing story to end the night on:  I have been asked to leave two different classrooms in my high school career because the teacher said he didn't plan to teach anything I didn't already know.  True story.  It happened twice.  I was embarrassed, but honestly kudos to them for not wasting an entire semester where I could have been doing something else.  Better to be upfront...if bordering on rude.

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