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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Education Post: Part two


"I can tell you; but then, I'd have to kill you!"
Do you know where this phrase comes from? If you do, you are a movie watcher; better, a movie worshipper, because, to have remembered this phrase, you watched The Princess Bride more than once.
My eldest son obsessed over this movie, memorizing every single character's lines. His daughter, can also recite the same, sharing a love for the same movie.
If your schooling felt like a movie you couldn't wait to see over and over again, if you rushed back every day because you loved your teacher, and adored your classmates; if your school work was displayed on the refrigerator; if your family spoke about the lessons you received with enthusiasm and appreciation for the work that your teacher did; if you had confidence in your abilities to handle everything that came your way; if you were that child, feeling love and concern all around you, from every adult around you, you were a happy child in happy circumstances, and your schooling and the passion it created in your family benefited your life.
In the next few weeks we'll explore the business of educating our youth. We'll also discuss what the Obama administration is doing to improve education, and how it translates at the local school level.
If you want to get ahead of the class, I recommend the New York Times editorial: " Ending the 'Race to the Bottom'", published on March 11th. Happy Reading. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while, know that I have worked with 5th graders and with the SMART program before the injury that I'm presently nursing.
I'm happy to report that the 5th graders sent their letters of congratulations to the President. I will share their letters in the next few posts.

41 comments:

Angela said...

I wonder how many grown-ups will look back at their schooling with such happy memories? Not me! I considered my teachers my enemies, more or less, and some treated me as if they were, trying to humiliate us and show us how LITTLE we knew (compared to them? How idiotic). I had one teacher who liked me and said I should also become a teacher, but I never wanted to become like most of them. In my American high school there were a few very nice ones who might have changed my attitude, but things turned out differently. But I have become a teacher now after all.
I`m sure you were a very nice and good one!

Helen said...

I was blessed to grow up in a home where school and achieving the most we could were valued ... both in music and academics. I watch my grandchildren (12 & 15) as they make their own way in the world and feel blessed to be a tiny influence and role model in their academic lives.

lakeviewer said...

Angela,
Look how far we have to travel to understand our lives. Teachers have profound influence on children, almost as much as parents.

lakeviewer said...

Helen,
Count yourself among the lucky people. Thank you for stopping by.

Jeff B said...

I fondly remember one teacher in particular, Sarah Kay Welsh. - Seventh grade English.

She absolutely poured herself into teaching, making learning, something we as students wanted to do, rather than had to do.

Woman in a Window said...

The Princess Bride rocks, but then so too does Obama.

Lola said...

I'm like your son, I know all the lines off by heart, and in 2 languages too. In Italian the Princess' name was la Principessa Botton d'oro! I LOVED that movie, so humorous and clever. I stumbled upon Cary Elwes (Westley) at a mutual friend's house and totally pestered him with questions.

As far as my education, I am one of those lucky children. I belong to that élite of kids that adored middle and high school (I dreaded elementary because I was a terribly weepy "mammona"), and I'm still in touch with most of my teachers. You're right, teachers do have a deep influence on children, in some cases thankfully more so than parents.

lakeviewer said...

Jeff B, your seventh grade teacher thanks you for remembering her. Of all the people we meet in our lives, teachers leave deep footprints.

Renee said...

You self-centered; shall I remind you what you have done with your life.....

Okay, now that that is settled.

Thank you for your caring ways and your caring words. xoxoo

I think you described the house my children grew up in and they were and are loved. I wish all children had that.

oxo

Looking forward to this series.

Love Renee

lakeviewer said...

Woman...
The Princess Bride, Obama and Michelle and their lovely children, Star Wars.........

Our heritage is as much about people as about the common experiences, the cultural understandings etched in our souls. Isn't it ironic that a priviledged group like the Bush family was bound and determined to dismantle public education; while a man from humble backgrounds understands the need to shore up public institutions.

lakeviewer said...

Lola, I'm finding out about your writing and movie-making background, and all you bring to the table. Many students feel isolated and discriminated in high school. Even if they appeared popular and successful.

Growing up is so hard to do.

lakeviewer said...

Renee, welcome to the party. I'm still working at designing a special award. So far, no success. But, wait. I'm quite tenacious. You do see how I resemble a bulldog.

p.s. this is my private beach most of the time. On the day this picture was taken, my friend Joyce, 85 this year, was walking with me. I do not have permission to show her picture.

Moannie said...

No, I did not have a home like that...but I did have the good fortune to have a teacher that inspired her pupils in the last few months before I left school for good.

Natalie said...

I loved school and was sad to leave.
I plan to study again as soon as they let me out of the house!Yippee!xx

lakeviewer said...

Moanie- You can still become the change you want to see in your life. We are all teachers, reaching out and passing on good manners, strong values, insights. It is wonderful to have experienced the warmth of a good teacher.

lakeviewer said...

Natalie, one of these days, all the little ones will be occupied enough for you to begin taking classes. When I had my middle child, and became a stay-at-home mom, I began to take university classes at night. Those adult conversations expanded to full time programs, and new opportunities for me and my family. I was suddenly more fulfilled and satisfied with my choices.
Being a good mom didn't exclude my being fulfilled in my career, in my academic pursuits. Thank
God nobody made me feel guilty.

Renee said...

Hello doll.

Do you have to tell everyone you gave me the award because I begged you for it or can we pretend I deserved it. har har

I respect you so much and admire you really.

I tried listening to the Comforters song Reasons and I can't get it so I am going to check it out on a different site.

Good night God Bless you.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Lori ann said...

I too loved school, from elementary through High school. But the minute I graduated I coulden't wait to take off and travel. I felt like Natalie for a long time,wanting to continue my education. Instead of waiting for the time to happen to go back full time, I started taking one class at a time at our city college, with 3 kids in college at the moment(one's already graduated and my last is heading off in september)I love being a part of the academic world again.

Aliadelaide said...

Okay so is this movie something E.D Hirsch would list as being part of ones cultural literacy. I have to admit I've never seen it but someone just gave me a VHS copy of it,so maybe me and the boys could watch it as part of our "edacashun", do you think I could label it "school".
my 7 and 11yo can quote most of "Madagascar" though ...is that a terrible thing to admit!!
Okay re school I guess I should comment on that as well;l its fifty-fifty pluses and minuses

Mary said...

Funny you should mention kids loving school and rushing to get back every day.

Have you been a fly on my classroom wall? Truly, my little cherubs nearly cause a stampede getting in to see me every morning. Most of the time they just can't wait to hand in their homework. Clearly, they value me (It is about here that I insert a wink or something).

The things could tell you about my schooling. Oh boy. I was a brat with a double capital B.

lakeviewer said...

REnee,
I could ask Pia how to get you the song; but, I rather not. It is bad enough that I showed her off. I do have the lyrics and the albulm somewhere. I could send you a copy.

lakeviewer said...

Lori Ann,
Where did you go to school? I might have been a teacher of yours if you lived anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area in the late seventies and eighties. I could mention an earlier decade, but you weren't alive yet. I assume you're in your forties. I agree, take a course and keep going, customizing your program as you see fit for the times and needs you have. Good luck on your safari to Africa. Lucky you.

lakeviewer said...

Aliadelaide,
I am unable to leave comments on your blog-is there a problem? Yes movies, television, music, art and architecture, they all form our cultural literacy. Teaching your children allows you to do a lot of customized lessons, integrating subjects, weaving themes and vocabulary. Your children are lucky in so many ways.

And you must enjoy learning and teaching with them, watching them so closely. Are you going to teach them through high school? Are the universities in Australia comfortable, accepting the curriculum you have covered?

Here in Oregon and in California, (each state has its own rules about these things) students must pass entrance exams as well as pass yearly proficiency exams to continue homeschooling. Many families do it not for curriculum reasons, but for faith and cultural reasons. Which reasons are most prevalent in your family?

lakeviewer said...

Mary,
I knew it from the first time that I commented on your site, I knew that you couldn't wait to work with those children. You have a sweet and giving disposition, basic requirements of teachers' personalities. Those teachers who are too hard on their students, too strict both in following content and in discipline, fail to understand the developmental needs of their charge. Children sense when someone likes them and is truly interested in them. Most of them want to please adults during their early years. You must feel proud and fulfilled. And still, tired and frustrated with all the things that need to be done, with all the rules and protocols that the system must have in place to minimize disruptive sequences.

Aliadelaide said...

Hi lakeviewer
I think if you look at my blog you will see your comments are there.
I have comments moderation on and was homeschooling and spending time with the boys so wasn't able to publish them right away. I hope you'll go back and check though.
Also I have put my e-mail as a contact on my blog so you can contact me that way too. Do you have an e-mail address?
And please let me know about the movie your son and grandaughter know so well. What are your feelings on it?

Aliadelaide said...

Homeschooling through highschool? Not sure with the last two what will happen. Many homeschoolers send their children to school for the last two years.Mine have done a combination of both. I do know that it is possible to get into uni from homeschool, just that the route may be more "roundabout"!! Oh and universities really like homeschoolers. They say they are more focused in their studies than most undergrads.

Maggie May said...

My school days were not happy days! I think that there were quite a few sadists about under the guise of teachers in those days.
I think that schooling today helps build a child's confidence and all those choices that they have...
Thanks for following me!

Fire Byrd said...

I had an awful negative education. I didn't stop believing I was stupid till I was in my 40s. But it's certainly had an affect on my son's education as they had nothing but positive re-enforcement when they were at school. Must have worked as eldest son went to Cambridge and youngest is training to be an electrician.
x

A Cuban In London said...

Is it from the Princess Bride? Blimey, I would have never thought that! I thought it'd come from 'Scarface' or a similar genre flick. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Dave King said...

Interesting to hear how its done elsewhere.

karen said...

interesting post! Some teachers stand out in my mind, others were awful. It's obvious which subjects were loved and remembered! I've also experienced being a homeschooling stepmom, for almost 4 years. It was an interesting challenge, to say the least, but the boys seemed to turn out just fine :)

Helen said...

So glad you enjoy our roundabout art ... it's good for me to look at with 'fresh' perspective from time to time.
Re: the photo on my sidebar ~ from left daughter Elizabeth, my mother who passed away in May 07 from Alzheimer's and Lewy body disease and son Carl. In June '05 four generations of our family moved cross country ... I felt very pioneer-like then. Son has a developmental disability and lives with me ... daughter has my two grandchildren (the reason I/we followed them to OR.)

lakeviewer said...

Aliadelaide,
I'm enjoying visiting with you as well. Thanks for helping me see the full range of possibilities in educating our children.

lakeviewer said...

Maggie Mae

Fire Bird

You and I, and most people have indeed suffered and have had many unhappy days in school. We need to understand how and why these things happened in our search for solutions and better institutions.

lakeviewer said...

A Cuban in London- my, we are both transplants of sorts. When did you leave Cuba? It's good to make your acquaintance. I shall drop in and visit you as well.

lakeviewer said...

Dave King- you obviously have a special take on arts education. Remind me in the future to tell you about the infamous attitude our politicians have toward the arts in general. Whenever we have budget woes, the arts get the axe.

In the local school district of Port Orford/Langlois where I am a Director, we, the community strive to provide rich arts exposure and experiences. Port Orford, this entire area, is full of talented people who worked elsewhere before retiring here. They understand that without the arts we are not civilized. We have many joint ventures and cooperative programs. I will have to post about these, give credit to this community for its generous spirit. Thanks for the visit.

lakeviewer said...

Karen- thanks for stopping by. Do tell us how the schools in your part of Africa are organized and financed. I plan on laying out these basic facts so everyone understands that while we might have had similar experiences, we are bound by the laws and practices of the state/country we live in. We'll talk.

lakeviewer said...

Helen- thanks for dropping in again. I enjoyed visiting your place, frustrated and excited at the beauty of your roundabouts. I met them in France back last September when hubby and I visited. We didn't have driving responsibilities, since we were on a tour bus, but we did notice how frustrated everyone was, all the time to merge in and to zip out, to find the speed, to avoid the bumps. Ah, the beauty of it all.

lakeviewer said...

Thank you every one. I enjoyed your visit and your sharing. Next Tuesday, let's meet again for more sharing.

I will regal you with a famous dish we prepare here on the Westernmost point: Crab-dungeness crab prepared in a variety of ways. WE get a yearly license for $6 that allows us to dig for clams, mussels, and crab. The experience is precious. The fresh products that we then bring into our kitchens is priceless.

Looking forward. Arrivederci amici miei. Goodbye my friends. Lola, how was my Italian?

Man of Roma said...

I wasn't so happy with my teachers, except a few who left their mark (English teacher and Latin and Greek one.) Until 24 I was mainly self-taught until I met a real teacher and Maestro to whom I really owe a lot, although he mainly showed me a path, the rest I had to do myself.

I like Obama. He is a great hope, not only for America. I hope he can do something to improve education.

Injury? What happened, if I may ask?

All my best regards, Rosaria


MoR

fiftyodd said...

We had an extraordinary Welsh headmaster in my primary school and we all loved him to bits. He would sing hymns in Welsh in assembly and he had a big, rich voice. He was an innovator: we were the first school in the county to get a swimming pool and to go on overseas trips. When I look at the website "friendsreunited" (UK), the amount of people who rave about their formative years at Kings Road Junior School is astonishing.