Friday, September 17, 2010

Something Must be Done!

Anyon’s analysis of the different levels of schooling is amazing. She gets her points mostly right and makes good comparisons between the levels of schooling and the social classes that they correlate with.
I found that I could remember times in elementary school where I could relate to the findings based on the working class school. I remember that we always had to follow directions and that the teachers always had control. The easiest lesson to remember is the classic “How to make a peanut butter sandwich”. We were to write the directions exactly right. In math the students needed to follow directions and to know each terms and each step. I found that I always struggled because the teachers never explained why the step was necessary. Language arts class was all about the grammar and punctuation. It was vital to be precise. Some teachers were very demanding and rude to the students and did not allow for any freedom. Structure was a big thing there. No one was above the teacher and we always went together, in line as a class anywhere we were supposed to. At times, I was in classes where the teacher would not go further into the topic and assumed that everyone got it. Everything was based off of something in a book and there was rarely any thought process or creativity involved.
Some topics that Anyon did not discuss were about behavior and minorties. She focuses mainly on structure, work, and freedom. This is probably primarily due to the fact that she focused on fifth graders. The high school I went to was a mess for the most part. I was able to get great teachers, participate in programs I liked, and have open discussions. When I started, the structure was mainly the same as a working class school. Follow directions, control, easy assignments, grammar and punctuation. For the most part, my school years consisted of an “attempt” to have order and control. Mainly, by enforcing uniforms and security guards yelling half the time. This mostly had to do with the outside of how certain classes functioned. For example, in honors classes, we had a little more leeway than regular classes. We got to read at a faster pace and learn at little more interesting things. There was little resistance towards the teacher. Mainly because of the respect the students had for the instructor and his or her “coolness”. Those classes still had disadvantages because it was either you catch up, or you are failing. However, there was still help available to those who requested it. The AP teachers were even nicer. They treated us kindly, gave us a chance, invested a lot of time and effort to prepare us for exams, and connected things to a bigger picture. They liked to have discussions and to question things. They encouraged creativity and thoughts in class. I only had two AP teachers however.
While my school does not offer as much as other schools and has a bad reputation and for that matter fit into categories described by Anyon, I can disagree with her. I had teachers that did not teach honors or AP that really cared for everyone and motivated them to be the best they could be. They showed much care to students who took the initiative to seek help and to ask questions. Those are the students who benefited vastly. The major reason there were not many of those at my school was because there is a lot of gang activity and a pressure that revolves around the student’s self- esteem. They feel like society gave up on them, that they do not have a chance, that they can only expect little in life. Who is to blame? Not really a specific person. For the most part, it is the people who stop caring for the student (and/or themselves) that greatly affects how they perceive themselves and it makes me sad. If more students had someone to invest care into them and make them feel like that have a chance, maybe there would be less students giving up. Why do they have such doubt, financial and social status issues? Some parents cannot take the pressure society puts on them and thus, takes a toll on their children; whether they like (realize) it or not. Something must be done!


  1. It's very interesting the point that you bring up about how teachers of non-honors classes can also be extremely motivating and good teachers. Do you think that the majority of upper class schools seem to have more of these motivational teachers? If so, do you think it is a natural gravitation for the best of the teachers to try and find the more affluent schools? Do you think that the teachers who stop caring for the students just get dragged down by the societal pressures and give up, or do they conform to society for the sake of conforming? Good posting!! :)

  2. I liked your title. And I agree. I think teachers do want to be in control most of the time. My school also had uniforms and security guards we even had metal detectors. Yup it was that crazy. But like you said I didn't full agree with Anyone because I did enjoy some of my classes and I guess I had a batch of good teachers.