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Allen-D. Gray-Man

Playing Politics

Posted on 2011.07.08 at 00:06
Current Music: Rakim ~Dead Can Dance
Tags: , , ,
Was having a discussion on the current issues in education and started to think of some things. So I am asked to teach reading and math objectives and next year I will also be asked to include writing. (Because increasing the quantity is going to change test scores apparently, but that's a discussion for another post.) How much writing should they do in music? At first I was thinking written assessments, reflections, etc. And I will probably do some of that regardless anyway. However, now I have a better more meaningful idea.

Starting last year I was asking students to think about why music was important and put it into words. So now they want writing...okay Superintendent. You're going to get exactly what you asked for. My students are going to write their representatives and senators next year. They are going to express themselves as articulately as they can for their developmental level in writing and vocabulary, and I am going to send those letters. And I'm going to present the situations to them neutrally, letting them spend a little time each day while I teach them how to think about a problem and how to think to decide what they feel and what is best. And then I will teach them how to organize their thinking. And then they will put it in the nice neat little box the district wants.

And then I'm sending them to you. You ask me to do some bullshit thing like teach out of my content area because "they aren't making the connection in math and reading?" And you want someone not certified in math and reading to help them make that connection? In another classroom? And you want it to take time away from me teaching my content to give them more rather than better instruction in math and reading? Are you serious? Ask the math and reading teachers to teach music so they perform better in my class and see what you get; you're asking me to do the exact same thing. So you know what? Fine.

I'm a certified language teacher. I choose not to teach it for a reason. But if you are going to take my time away like this, I'm going to make sure it's meaningful to MY content. After all, you aren't asking math and reading teachers to relate back to all the other subjects are you? So you're just taking my time away from teaching music. You say you want to teach children to think...so why are you focusing on quantity instead of quality? Why are you not spending time figuring out why students are weak in certain areas and then addressing that and helping the teachers understand what the study found? So that tells me you aren't really serious, you just want to feel like you are. You want a band-aid to a problem that is only getting worse.

But, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm going to teach thinking. I'm going to use my content to teach it and relate back to those other classes, even if they don't relate back to me making it pretty useless. I'm going to use your restrictions to my advantage. I'll teach writing. Music will be our focus, but I'll use your absurdity to teach my students to advocate for themselves. Because after all, isn't that one of the most important things education can give a person?

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