Response: “School Isn’t Like a Job”

First, I would like to say I got a kick out of the comments on this blog. Some of the responses were all over the place, and others argues either the blog (for or against) and some (for or against) comments.

Alright, so the main point of this article is that a lot of teachers treat marks as a reward for showing up to school. The truth is, like John Scammell states, marks are the reflection of learning, not a reward of them showing up. The learning itself is the reward for showing up. It is also true that schools should prepare our students for their future in the working world. But, if we are preparing them for the negatives of “not bein paid when we don’t show up for work” should we revoke our students that chance to learn as punishment? Which is more important a mark, or a chance to learn? I do not believe that students should receive a zero, because they skipped class. But, I do believe they need to know what it is like in the real world if they do not show up for a job.

Here is a theory I’ve developed. Many jobs move the weight of a day’s work to the next day if you miss/don’t show up for work. The same could be done for school. It’s the students job to get caught up, and the weight of the exam or assignment is then placed on another task for them to do that involves the learning they needed to do for that day. So in essence, they are doing a different assignment, still learning, but thinking they are being punished for missing class, when in fact they just got their assignment moved. Make sense?

As for the comments to this blog post, I really like the post made by Tom Berriman. He said:

You present some good, and not so good, points. There is much more to school than learning the curriculum taught in my classroom. We are teaching them habits that will make them productive members of society. By failing a student who works hard, but fails tests, teaches them the “why try mentality”. As someone who teaches a large number of ESL students, there is no possible way I will fail these students if they’re working hard, since the language barrier will cause them to fail most formal assessments. This is why we must also rely on other types of assessments, to allow our hard-working, but weak test taking students a chance to pass. The lazy students who do no work COULD also pass, but not with a high-grade. We must set the example for our students that those who are successful at all types of assignments, tests or not, will receive the best reward I have to give: an A.

I love this comment because there are many true points and many things I believe and value in my teaching in it. First, there are many more things taught in school than the learning from the curriculum, and no matter how caught up the student maybe, the learning first hand is always the most beneficial and unique. Further, the habits and routines that we teach our students are also super important and cannot be re-taught, so by missing a day, they miss a day of a life lesson. It is important for us to make our students recognize the impact their decisions have on them, especially when they decide to miss school.

A few other comments talk about ESL students and how they are graded. Just imagine you going to a different country, let’s say Italy, and taking school there. Everything would be in Italian. How lost, frustrated and confused would you be? Now think of your classroom, when an ESL student is going to be in there, do you really expect them to look at a piece of work, or a lesson and understand every aspect of it? Thus, comes my idea of changing the task, but not the assessment. I think if we make the task easier for them to understand and keep the essential learning the same, as well as, keep the marking scheme the same as everyone else, we benefit the student and help them. Further, it would be beneficial for these students to have aid during their task, in case of questions or lack of understanding. So, having a time (maybe a recess or lunch) during the week or everyday where they can come in to do their homework would be extremely beneficial, instead of them having to go home and try to understand what they are supposed to do, getting frustrated, and giving up on school all together.

These are just a few things I grabbed from this blog. If you haven’t read it here is the link:

http://thescamdog.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/school-isnt-like-a-job/

What do you think of it? What do you think of my ideas?

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