Thursday, March 22, 2007

Answering the Call

I realized that there have been a number of comments left both on this blog and in my Facebook notes that I haven't replied to at all. Know that I do value your comments and I have occasionally sent someone a message with my thoughts on their comment, but I have failed to publicly address them. As a result, I am going to be answering some of the best ones right now.

First off, way back in January, I was very frustrated and posted "The Kids Are Alright" or "Why the Hell Do You Want to be a Teacher???", which was one of the most commented on posts I have ever made.

I was amazed and relieved to know that I am not the only one who gets frustrated by the attitude that many teachers have towards their students. On Facebook the three Kodiak Bisoners shared their thoughts, they were so well written and expressed that I just needed to post all of their long-winded rants:

Blake said:

"An interesting read Glen, and I've got to say I have exactly the same opinion of the teacher training program here. Sitting in the staff room at my first placement school I was shocked to hear the level of moaning and whining about how terrible the kids are, how rude, how disinterested in things have changed etc... I don't get it? Surely a passion for working with young people and helping them be the best they can is the motivation for working in teaching. If it is such a bad job go work somewhere else. Don't drag the rest of us down. Sure its not always gonna be easy, but we do have a chance to make a difference. We are so privileged to work with young people at the most influential time in their lives and its a huge responsibility to stay positive and try to get the best out of every young person we work with! rant over, thanks"

(My replies in BOLD)

Blake, I don't know if it makes me relieved or frightened to know that this is not just a North American thing. I do consider myself to be privileged to work with young people, I honestly can't think of anything more exciting than being a positive influence on someone and I'm glad someone else thinks the same!

Jeff said:

"even though you have not commented on my nancy grace post i still feel compelled to reply to this.

anyways, i agree with you, i believe that there are many teachers both in the profession and in teachers college that just don't get it. they really do not belong in teaching because they do not seem to make any sort of connection to the fact that they are the most important people in most of these children's lives. although i do have a problem with some aspects of Windsor's teachers college, i have to be honest and say that i have learned a lot. i might not learn a lot from every class, i mostly find my learning comes from a from a few select teachers, and simply observing the way they teach, or taking in some of the things they say when others might not even care to listen. i actually have a number of teachers teaching me right now that i am in awe of every time i am in their class.

as for my classmates, there may be a few that i do not agree with sometimes, but my section is full of some excellent teachers in the making. its really helps get through the weeks knowing your going to class with some very smart people, and some people who will make a great difference in many students lives. maybe its the difference between P/J, J/I, and I/S. maybe the difference is that windsor based their admissions on experience only for the P/J group (as long as you met the base average, which was like 70%). in some cases the people that get into many schools are the people with the highest grades, which some people believe to be the best measure of how good one can be as a teacher. sadly, i have fallen victim to this thinking as i have a borderline average and a general degree. 2 strikes against me. i have no doubt that if it were not for windsor trying something new i would not be in teachers college right now.

anyways, enough from me, hang in there man."

I had no idea about Windsor's acceptance policy. That's a really awesome thing, to be honest, I think that all of them should be like that. I really don't think that how good your grades are (especially at University) have anything to do with how caring, supportive and engaging of an individual you are. Stupid elitist Universities.

Bisoner #3 (who I am not naming since he complained to me that I have never written a blog about him and I don't give in to whiners) said:

"I have to say that unfortunately I agree with everything that has been said. My education program is a little different in that we have placement Monday and Tuesday, and class Wednesday and Thursday. While this gives me an opportunity to be with the same class for 4 months, it also means that every Wednesday many of my classmates come in with complaints, horror stories, and at times, looks of distress. I of course enter and try to share some witty or delightful story, and others complain about the kids who didn't understand the lesson. I really don't mean to be mean, but I am not really sure why some of these people have chosen to become teachers, or how they have made it so far. I know of some people who I believe would make excellent teachers (my sister being one of them) and were not accepted to the program, while I see people in those seats who really don't belong.

That ratio exists in the schools as well; there are many teachers who have lost sight of the reasons they entered the profession. This has really instilled in me a desire not to become "just another teacher." I don't want to be like them; dreading my students, or working for the holidays. I'm starting to wonder if this means I will have to look for employment outside of the school boards, but thats another story for another day. The point is teachers need to hold on to the reasons they became teachers. If I ever lose my edge, which I hope to never lose,I hope someone tells me so I can let someone who really wants to teach and can offer the kids something more a chance. Well it looks like we all have the same rant, maybe we should start our own school..."

I don't know what else I can add other than I totally agree with everything that you said. Especially about your sister being a great teacher and starting our own school. Haven't we talked about doing that before? :)

And on the Blog, my prof, Jason said:

"Dr. J here. I have been glenergised(canadian spelling). In fact you have enriched our program from the first day of classes. I understand and share many of your concerns with the popular discourse that demeans and degrades our youth. However, I pray that you will continue to engage with, challenge and when needed interrupt and interrogate your colleagues and the "system." You have been given the gift of a lucid intelligence,vision and kindness and I am confident that you will soon be able to put other teachers on a better, more promising path. Keep on keeping on Glener"

I just wanted to post that bit of advice for any other current/future teachers out there, just change the name to yours and I believe that it will fit.

On the anniversary of The Beatles playing the Ed Sullivan show I ranted about the death of Rock and Roll. Not surprisingly, McNutt, my Musical Messiah, posted a comment. It was rather long so I will just post a snippet.

"Absolutely true. And not surprising. Let's keep in mind that rock and roll came to popular fruition at an incredibly unique time, when two key developments intersected:

1. The baby boom generation, creating a society organized around and catering to young people.
2. The early rise of mass communications (national radio and television).

Because of these, rock and roll transformed from a backroom fusion of country and blues and into a cultural revolution. Rock and roll music was the soundtrack to an entire generation, from Elvis to Woodstock.

Then, as mediums of communication - radio, television, and now the internet - became demassified and more diverse, so too did rock and roll splinter: into folk rock, into punk, into the early years of hip hop, into alternative rock, into new wave. The children of the Reagan Revolution were living in a more individualist age, and Napster, the iPod and the decline of radio all signalled the end of rock and roll as a singular movement.

So of course rock's glory days are over. Rock and roll's ability to change the world died with the baby boom. Now, rock and roll can only change yourself. Which, I suppose, is still worth a damn."

I can't believe that I never thought of the influence of technology on the splintering of Rock. I guess it's another sad sign of the times that we live in. The rise of individualism is an interesting modern phenomena.

It is really very interesting that collective expression and communities ties are now more possible now than ever with the rise of mass communication. However, due to this mass communication an increased sense of alienation has occurred and a result individualism is on the rise. Interesting how music reflects this as well.

Also from McNutt (I realized that I have more Notes tagged of him in Facebook than his girlfriend does...that's not weird or anything) had this to say about my thoughts on David Beckham coming to America:

"How fascinating that you wrote this entire post without bringing up the name "Wayne Gretzky." I think that's a big oversight on your part, especially considering that he's probably the best point-of-comparison for what the Galaxy are trying to accomplish here."

Alright so I didn't mention Wayne. But here's the thing...I think that Gretzky going to LA is massively overrated in terms of a long term impact.

Over the past 18 years the NHL has expanded greatly into the Southern US. But the NHL is still a very low priority in just about all of the southern markets with Dallas and San Jose being the only two real exceptions.

The last two Stanley Cup Champions are Carolina and Tampa Bay, but both teams still suffer attendance issues and are maybe 5th in their respective markets in sports. Two of the best teams in the NHL right now are Anaheim and Nashville, but guess what? Nobody cares. It seems that the only reason that teams like Phoenix and Florida have any fans is because they are havens for vacationing Canadians.

LA was a hot hockey market for a while when Gretzky was still in his prime, but after he started to go downhill and then move on the interest level in the city faded fast. There are not exactly kids on the streets of LA playing road hockey like the NHL had hoped.

Sure Beckham may generate some short term interests but his contract is only for 5 years and he is not nearly the player he once was. I really don't see this having much in the way of long term impact, just like Gretzky.

There are a lot of other great comments that have been made on this blog and in Facebook but this entry is getting really long and I want to maintain people's interests so I had best stop. Anyway, I just wanted to make this communication a two way street.

Until next time,


No comments: