Calling All Teachers!


For those familiar with Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed (New York: Continuum, 1970), the story below illustrates the tragic results to the individual from a very personal perspective:

From Ch. 17, The New Physics of Childhood: Replacing Modern Myths with Simple Strategies (I-Universe, 2009)

“FOR TEACHERS

The following story of “La Niñita” is an introduction to what powerful influences teachers are in a child’s life:

La Niñita

‘I was five years old, I was in kindergarten. From the beginning, school became troublesome for me because I was always looking out the window, instead of listening to my teacher. One day, while daydreaming of wonderful things, I had a fabulous idea.

After school, I ran home to work on my big project, a special play for my class. I felt happy because this play had a part for all of my classmates, leaving no one out. That was the most important thing.

I worked hard that weekend. I made costumes for my classmates out of paper bags my mother gave me. Mommy smiled. She was proud of my play and my costumes. I was a big girl now, I was in kindergarten.

Monday morning, I walked to school with all of the costumes wrapped and folded into two big paper bags. I ran to my teacher. I showed her my project. I told her all of my classmates were in the play!

My teacher’s face was like a stone, she did not look at my costumes and she did not look at me, she just stated, “We don’t do that here.”

Those five shocking words put much of my innocent and uninhibited creativity to sleep that day, changing my life forever. Just five words, five powerful words loomed in the back of my subconscious from that moment on.

Thirty-two years later, then a woman of thirty-seven, I created, acted, produced, and directed a production, purposely to include the forgotten teenagers in my community. These teens had no place to go or activities to enjoy. At the end of the production, I stood on the stage with these forgotten teenagers and in a flash, remembered that moment from my past.

The feelings were very intense as I finally manifested my dream as a five year old! Without realizing it, I had started to heal that wound from my childhood.

Today, I acknowledge that it will take many years of work to return to the uninhibited creative state I experienced as a five year old. Being around children helps me remember. For me, this is the beginning.’

Imagine what could have become of not only this little girl, but countless others, if she had had the support from the adults in her life to pursue her interests. She needed so little, just awareness and sensitivity on the part of the adults in her life, the parents and teachers who missed the opportunity to nurture her creative potential. Please choose your words carefully and take care not to do this to any child. Our precious children need the adults in their lives to help them blossom into whatever they are supposed to become. When adults recognize the signs and provide them with a supportive environment, children can create a world in ways only they can imagine.” by Christina Ivazes, aka Granny Pants

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Books, children, Education, mentor, Myths, Parenting, teaching, The New Physics of Childhood, Writing

5 responses to “Calling All Teachers!

  1. The story above illustrates one of the many reasons we’ve chosen to unschool rather than send our children to a traditional school. I’ve seen so many instances similar to the one described in the above story and don’t want that to happen to our children. To me it doesn’t matter if a child is interested in math, science, art, or some other subject – that interest should be supported, nurtured and allowed to grow and develop as the child wants/needs.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! It may seem like school is the worst thing for a child from this story, but as Americans, at times I think we tend to be so All or Nothing. La Ninita is just one side of a very polarized educational experience; not the whole story. My other educational experiences are akin to a person who has a bad credit rating because they haven’t secured enough credit to be a part of the system. I was raised by a parent that was so anti-school that my elementary and secondary education was like a partially filled money bag of information that was supposed to be full. This partially empty bank account was not replaced with any other education, skill development or job training process. The result in my own life has been years of ‘catching-up’ and an unsatiated hunger for knowledge, which also gave me a passion for teaching. Yes, my creative mind is developed, yet the ability to transfer this creativity to success in society has been a challenge. There is a balance needed to truly empower a child to find personal and financial success. We need the exploratory, problem-solving nature of education with teachers that respect our creative minds, but we also need teachers that provide us with a high level of accountability. I prefer to think of education as a ‘toolbox of resources’ rather than a bank account; tools that a student learns to use throughout their educational process, which them become skills; tools that they can pull out when needed. These tools can be used to solve problems, whether they be through effective communications, innovation or problem solving. We are not giving our children today either the tools or the skills to use them effectively. Please consider my points. All of my siblings have had problems with financial and career success due to having these educational deficits! Balance is the key, don’t you think! There are many great charter schools that foster the creative learning process while also ensuring students have the basic skills to succeed wherever they go in life. We want them to have unlimited opportunities, and not limit them with our own choices. It sounds like you are a very conscientious parent, which means your kids already have the best start in life! happy Trails, Granny Pants

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful response! My concern with schools is not only related to stifling creativity, but stifling learning as well. I have nothing against teachers as a group (my husband was a Math/Science teacher until a few years ago). I do have a concern with how the system is set up – it doesn’t work for everyone, in fact it doesn’t work for the majority. There is also the concern that some teachers are just plain bad, whether by design or ignorance it doesn’t matter.

    We have looked into the charter schools available in our area (and up to 5 hours from us where we’d be willing to move), we’ve interviewed teachers, we’ve done our research. My husband and I both have degrees, but both of us feel as though school held us back. We feel we could have done so much more if we’d had other options. Personally I don’t think unschooling is for everyone, even homeschooling for that matter. Though I do feel it is right for us, for our children.

    From what you’ve said, “We need the exploratory, problem-solving nature of education with teachers that respect our creative minds, but we also need teachers that provide us with a high level of accountability.” I think I should point out that even though our children will not be in a ‘school’ does not mean they will not benefit from teachers with just such qualities. But rather they will have more say over who teaches them, and where.

    My husband and I are equipped to teach our children most Maths and Sciences ourselves – but that doesn’t mean our children would want us to. It doesn’t even mean we’d want to – only time will tell. IN our area University students often take on classes of homeschooled children and teach or help the children explore interests from the Uni students degree of choice. That is only one of many options available when the time comes.

    Right now our 4 yr old is interested in horseback riding. She took classes in the fall and will start up again in the spring. She’s also interested in numbers – right now she is honing her addition and subtraction skills through everyday life. She’s pretty quick and usually right (for number 1-10 anyhow). Our 2 yr old is fascinated by words – she loves her stories, but right now she’s more interested in the sounds of words and letters. We’re following their cues to give them the learning opportunities they want. Right now it’s Math and English, next it will be something else. If they were in a school they wouldn’t have that opportunity. Instead they’d have to learn what either the school division or the teacher determined they were supposed to be learning. For some children that’s okay, but we already see that our older DD just refuses to do something she’s bored with, or she’ll experiment with new ways of doing activities rather than following directions. Considering she’s already doing things that children two years older are just starting in kindergarten, we don’t think it would be wise to hold her back from her passion for learning.

    I know that in life she will one day need to ”learn” to follow directions – but that is a lesson that will come, and does not need to be forced on her this early int he game.

    • COngratulations to your family MamaDandelion! It appears that you and your husband are extremely conscientious about the responsibility each parent has to ensure their children have the skills and desire to succeed in the world. I imagine them doing awesome things oneday! THank YOU for your thoughtful comment. I hope it inspires other parents to understand how important the best education is for our children and what an important part parents have in this equation! BTW- I love your name!

      Happy Trails,
      Granny Pants

  3. Thank you : ) Our newest baby has been dandelion since we found out – it just fits. lol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s