Saturday, February 2, 2008

Eight Years of Spanish One

That's right.

I had eight years of Spanish One.

Eight. Consecutive. Years.

Seven of those years were at the same school, taught by the same teacher, with 80%-90% of the students the same ones who had sat next to me the previous year. I asked my Spanish teacher about it a few years later and she was quite defensive. There were alway new kids, so you couldn't just throw them into Spanish II.

How true.

While that is an imperfect answer, until just now it had not occurred to me exactly how imperfect. We never had more than 2 new kids in a year out of the 15-20 or so in the class.

But this isn't all that different from the overall path of education, at least as I experienced it. I was reading in Nursery School (and we didn't have much in the way of kids' books at home until I was older; and we never had a Dr. Seuss book) but I had to "learn" again in pre-primer (as it was called). And then again in first grade. I can't recall how many times I had arithmetic, or U.S. History.

I recall being a little miffed in Junior High when they said nothing in grade school really counted. And a little more pissed when they said that in High School about Junior High And downright angry when they said it in college. Though, by the time I got to the University, I was used to it.

The funny thing, to me, is that I loved and respected all my teachers, until about 8th grade, when a) I was a teenager; b) I had some teachers who combined incompetence with meanness. But at some level, I think most of them knew they were part of a bad system.

How else do you justify teaching seven years of Spanish I to the same kids?

You may had your share of "tough" teachers but I can assure you that's far better than a teacher who raises your grade (along with those of your peers) because she's completely unable to teach her subject. (And when it's math, that hole in your education is basically a wall to ever progressing further. I believe that's why so many people are not just innumerate but afraid of math.)

I've seen so many educational fiascos, it ain't funny. (No, really. It ain't.) I've never known a time when the school system wasn't in crisis. And I've never known a system to concede it was less than vital, no matter how bad a job it was doing.

But I've never seen one so viciously protected as the school system.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Grab an umbrella. Unleash hell. Your mileage may vary. Results not typical. If swelling continues past four hours, consult a physician.