Sunday, 8 April 2018
Learnin' 'Em Right
I was farting about the innertubes awhile back when I came across a discussion involving some public school teachers and some howler-monkey parents. It dissolved into the age-old chit-fight that I saw as a parent 20 years ago: the kids are doing terribly, and the parents point the finger at the unionized pooch-screwing public educators - and the pooch screwers point the finger back at the idiot parents. The old adage applies too: pick stupid fights; win stupid prizes. Common core math is a monument to stupidity, it (and its adherents) should be set on fire and burned to the ground. Teachers that prescribe Ritalin to kids that don't need it should be shot and pished on.
That in turn led to the only person in the discussion with a triple digit IQ griping that a return to old school teaching methods was the only answer. And of course, that meant old school discipline as well.
In my elementary school days I had two 'old school' teachers. In Grade 5 I had Mrs. Halibut. She was a stern old bitch that got her start in the one room school houses on the Alberta prairies during the Dirty 30's. If you had 'self esteem' issues - that old harridan couldn't care less. If you were in her class you were there to learn and if ya didn't, ya failed. If ya failed it meant more work and you kept at it until you passed. I hated that old woman with the heat of 1000 suns - most of the class did. She didn't care. She took the 'problem kids' straight on: she tested their reading, writing and comprehension skills to establish their performance level - and if Jack was reading at a grade two level, Ol' Lady Halibut would back up to grade 2 and start teaching him from there. If Filthie did math at a grade 3 level, she would start drilling him on Grade 3 math and whipping his ass to bring him along. She wasn't discreet about it either; I still remember the shame on the dumb kids as they struggled with grade two readers while the rest of us were reading from the grade 5 ones. The retards sat on the left side of her class, the dummies like me sat in the middle, and the whiz kids like Pete F and Quartermain sat on the right. When I performed poorly I got the whip on my ass, and my nature being what it is, it just made me want to piss the old bird off more and say to hell with the work. I spent that year trying to piss her off and do as little as possible without getting flogged with the yardstick. They finally ran old lady Halibut off into early retirement 3/4 of the way through the year. I finished off the year with a whipped ass, borderline marks, and a serious chip on my shoulder that's stayed with me ever since. I can see the merit in the way Halibut did things, and I can sympathize with her anger at the coddling of children that were brought up to think a half assed effort is good enough, and that failure is always a viable option. But I came to regard public school teachers with utter contempt that year and haven't changed my opinion since - with one or two exceptions. The dumb kids went back to being ignored, and were passed on for the next teacher to inherit and ignore at a higher grade level. Slackers like me heaved sigh of relief, and the whiz kids did well as they always do.
In grade 6 I got Mrs. Baker. Same story, grew up on the prairies during the depression, started in one room school houses. Same as Old Lady Halat - she could be an utter bitch when provoked. But - you had to provoke her. If you stepped on her toes by accident as kids often do, she'd quietly set you right and thank you to mind your P's and Q's. If you stomped on her toes because you wanted to - she'd damn well stomp on yours, HAR HAR HAR! For the first time in my life I ran into an adult besides my parents that I actually had to respect of my own accord. It's one thing to respect adults because that whip is on your ass; it's quite another to respect them because you admire them. She was cagey too, and must have said something to my parents. Dad sweetened the deal in grade six: all I had to do was get A's and one H (honors) - and I'd get a minibike. (Pop had an old junker that he promised to fix 'one of these days...'). So - get the marks, get the bike. Over night I went from being a borderline student that Old Lady Halibut said I was - to being a respectable student. When I met the requirements, Pop raised the bar - he'd fix the bike for me if I got 4 H's and nothing less than an A. I saw through the game he was playing and said to hell with it then - and finished up that year with one H and all the rest A's. I lost a lot of respect for Pop when he pulled that stunt but never said so. Don't think he would have lost much sleep over it if he knew - he had bigger things on his plate at the time. The last thing he needed was a 12 year old Son Of Anarchy tearing around the town wreaking havoc on a minibike.
As this shit-show of 'public education' wears on I can see why you have kids going into classes with guns and drugs, and why you have twinks like David Hogg scampering around demanding an end to the 2nd Amendment and the Constitution. What are the kids learning from that donkey show? Common core subjects won't fix kids like that. Nor will self esteem, single parent families, or psychotropic drugs for kids that don't have behavioural or learning problems.
Success at school is a function of work and that's it. Today's programs are so dumbed down that it isn't even much work needed to do well. The answers are simple - they have to be motivated to succeed. They need to know that the work they put in will provide a return on investment. It's not enough to punish them, they have to be rewarded as well. They have to see the system work too. But, that would call for motivated parents, and motivated teachers that truly care about the kids - so that won't happen any time soon, I suppose.
And then on the other hand, there will always be those types like my own daughter: she didn't want to do anything other than read books and do art. There were any number of other things she would do and enjoy - as long as it didn't entail any work. (I wonder if that might be because I pulled the same stunt my Dad did somewhere along the line...?). You have to be careful with the carrot and the stick. If you promise the carrot you had better be damned serious on delivering once the donkey has done the work for it!
For now, I would advise any parent to pull their kid out of public schools. There's a lot of troubled parents out there right now, so their kids are troubled, and they will be influencing and troubling your kids as well in that environment. The teachers don't give a shit about your children either. The vast majority are union slobs that would use your kids as pawns in wage disputes in a heartbeat. So... That will be your challenge as a parent: if you can instill that work ethic, your kid will fly almost hands off and teach himself. If you try to micromanage him, or get somebody else to do it for you - you'll get the results you deserve... but the kid won't.
If you are blessed with a child of your own, take a moment this Sunday and thank your Maker for him. They are grown and gone far too soon. Make your actions as a parent now - count. You won't get a second chance. Any phony excuses you make now will only sound more bogus down the road.
Have a good Sunday.