17, 2008 – 12:40 pm by Brendan
I would like to take
this my first post to introduce myself to everyone and give some idea
of what I hope to blog about in this space.
I am a teacher and a
parent. Officially I have six years as a teacher in my own classroom
and five summers experience in summer camp. I have a Master’s
degree in Education from
(ranked 6th in the United States last year) and around 20 graduate
hours in graduate education focusing on methods of teaching and
gifted education. I have taught or student taught in schools in major
cities, suburbs, and rural towns. I have been in every classroom from
kindergarten to high school. In short I have been around the block
once or twice.
As a parent one of
the first things I think about is getting a quality education for my
children. When I moved to my current home I was told that the schools
were ranked #4 in the state. I guess somewhere in the back of my head
I thought there must be a list somewhere with all states ranked. In
reality, like most measurements of education, the best school is a
very subjective measure. Many times the relationship between your
child and his or her teacher, or the quality of the principal at an
individual school is more important than test scores or student
teacher ratios. The best way to learn about that is and always will
The meaning of
quality education can change significantly depending on who you are
and what you expect to gain from education. As a parent of a
preschooler I want to know that my child is safe, happy, and learning
the basics or reading, writing, and arithmetic. The parent of a
middle schooler still worries about learning, but may also be worried
about peer pressures and the changes that come with puberty. Parents
of high school students may have the additional worry of college
acceptance and the cost of education.
Students on the
other hand have a completely different view of education. I’ve
found that for the most part elementary students love going to school
and learning. As our children grow into middle schoolers more
students begin to struggle with school and more students are turned
off by school. The whole raging hormones thing just adds a degree of
complexity to social interactions that can develop character or scar
a person for life. High school students are often viewed as a
collection of different cliques. While this may seem true to us on
the outside high school to a high schooler it can be more about
learning who you are and what you are capable of doing.
The third major
group that defines quality education are educators, not just
teachers. There are many who believe that educators are overpaid,
lazy, buffoons. Then there are those who believe that educators are
the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I like to believe we are somewhere in between. If you look hard
enough it is easy to find educators who shouldn’t be working with
children, but I think it is a lot easier to find educators who not
only care about education, but put a lot of time and effort into
creating the best possible education for the children in their care.
As I publish more
articles on this blog I hope to explore the theme of quality
education. I will do my best to look at the issues from all three
views (though not always in the same article). I also look forward to
hearing from you the reader. What questions or topics do you have?
Have you read anything interesting lately? Are there topics or issues
you have questions about? Almost anything is fair game, all you have
to do is ask.