Who teaches the teachers?

Sometimes I can’t help wondering if common sense or thinking is part of the teacher training courses. While we are all human, it sometimes seems that whoever teaches teachers certainly never taught them to think or be self-reflective and most never learned to think of their own volition or even saw the need to think. This lack in teachers is a poor reflection on their “educators.”

Let me give some examples. A teacher asks a little boy in her class who is looking through the window, “What are you doing?,” to which he replies, “I’m thinking,” to which she replies, “Well would you mind not doing that.”! Yes, keep us unthinking, unquestioning automatons. This is why we have “golden circles,” the phrase given to our corrupt bankers who bankrupted our country. Such schooling ensures we never question authority. Such students grow into the perfect adults for our politicians – almost all of whom happen to be…yes, teachers.

Here’s another example. Teacher: “She’s restless.” (my 8 year-old). Me: “Wouldn’t you be, sitting on 18 square inches of wood for 5 and a half hours each day?” Teacher: “Oh, I never thought of that.” Me: “Of course, if you kept them interested they might not be so restless…?”

Some teachers, principals, managers, parents (in my experience) don’t think about children’s needs, such as food and drinks and toileting. NO EATING IN CLASS. NO DRINKING IN CLASS. “Does the teacher drink?” I asked my little one.”Oh yes, dad, she sips all day long.” “And you?” “No, we’re not aloud.” Don’t children need to drink too? Dehydration interferes with learning as shown in at least one study.

Here’s another strange one: In the 8 years my daughter was at primary school, at least 4 teachers (2 newly graduated subs) withheld P.E. as a form of punishment. Why? They didn’t think that exercise is not a privilege but a requirement on the curriculum Nor is it a reward. It’s what makes children happy, helps them learn and keeps obesity at bay.

This difference between authority and the governed with this them and us mentality has far-reaching consequences. Recently a government minister refused a breathalyser test which, as a minister, he could. Other T.D.s had driving penalties quashed because they belong to the “us” class. You see how the bigger politico-economic problems begin – the first day at school?

UPDATE: An Irish Times article on teacher training reforms; note the use of the word Reflective Read the article here

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