We are all teachers, here to learn from one another through our tales of triumph and tribulation. Especially those stories we always find hard to tell, not wanting to revisit that place where all the real-life lessons happen. But they do, so we should tell our stories.
If you can’t tell your story, it might be because you haven’t learned anything.
This is why school is good. Going to class makes
you the teachers feel like you are learning something as a student. All the basics are covered in paragraphs that spout facts of history rather than illustrate how change happens through conflict. So when conflict actually does happen in real life, hardly anyone knows how to change. But at least you have the facts of whatever happened to you. You could pass a test if they gave you a scantron.
This is what happens when our school systems demand that teachers teach students how to pass state assessments rather than encourage them to learn. BZZT! Wrong answer. Fine, I’ll just tell you a story.
Teaching to pass state tests is like a coach who coaches to win championships. There is no player development, no understanding of how a player learns, what skill sets are stronger than others, and most importantly, there is no concern for helping that player reach their true potential. Instead the individual is sacrificed as a statistic that contributes to either a win or a loss, which is the standard measure of success at the end of the season: the team’s final record, and if there’s a trophy sitting in the trophy case already gathering dust. If a coach is unsuccessful, chances are they’ll get the boot, much the same way “ineffective” teachers do when their student’s are inadequately performing on state assessments.
This is the stage that sports set for players: win or go home. It seems that our schools are doing the same.
I do not believe this is any true indication of learning, however. Because there are terrible coaches who have won championships at the expense of their players, and there are terrible teachers who are in great school districts whose socioeconomic climate creates a harbor of complacency. Both of these instances overlook individual potential whether that’s the student or the player. Potential: that point in time where greatness is realized. And only the most effective teachers know that crossing this threshold takes place outside of the classroom and off the court.
It happens sometime later in life when their students grow old enough to tell stories. When they aren’t afraid to tell people about their terrible experiences, mostly because they have finally learned how they changed. It happens when we carry a book to the places that tried to number and rank us, pitting us against one another in a battle of superficial values likes points scored or grade point average. But we need to remember that competition is just a measuring stick people use when they teach for tests and play for championships. They used to be known as the nuns who slapped kids with rulers.