Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Statement from an "uncredentialed teacher".

"I have a one-to-one teacher/student ratio.

I can require the student to work seven days a week.

I can spend exactly the amount of time on a subject that the student needs, and no longer.

I can work the student over the summer without the parents complaining.

I can allow the student to focus exclusively on a particular subject for days, weeks, even months, if that would be best.

I can skip over subjects or areas of subjects that are of no interest and are not vital.

I can spontaneously reference his education to something in the immediate environment, like a television program, a movie, a book, a song, a painting or a current event.

If the student is sick or otherwise unable to school, he misses nothing: School stops until he's ready to come back.

I can similarly accommodate any condition that might impair learning, whether it be fatigue from a late night or poor nutrition from a party or holiday.

Not only that, I can control the above situations without the parents complaining.

I can engage the student's enthusiasm for a subject by going in depth into material that interests him, or subjects that particularly intrigue him.

I can set the student to work on his own and yet always be there if he needs help.

I can arrange an impromptu field trip within minutes without clearing it with someone else and without having to file paperwork.

I can actually put the student to work without any kind of legal issues, if I feel that (say) the modern prohibition against children working is destructive to children and society.

I can disregard completely political considerations. I do not have to worry that what I say will offend some random third party. My student does not have to worry that what he says will offend some random third party. Education necessarily involving mistakes, I do not need to humiliate or publicly excoriate the student for making a mistake that happens to fall along some politically charged line.

I do not have to worry that the student will adopt the opposing attitude that education is somehow unworthy, "uncool" or otherwise contrary to his survival.

My student will never be strip-searched, sexually abused or shot by his teacher or classmates.

I will be blamed for the student's failures, academically or in life, long after any other teacher would be forgotten.

My survival is directly tied to the student's.

Given these facts, I would have to be criminally negligent or incompetent to fare worse than a credentialed teacher with 30 students, a tight schedule, arbitrary standards and curricula, political considerations, and no real stake in the outcome, even assuming all teachers were required to get said credential and the credential actually improved the ability to teach.

So, no, I think I'll pass."

--Homeschooling parent on whether or not he should be credentialed by the state


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