Until I studied Education, I had not questioned the education system. I do not think I’d had the tools to question it. But by the time I graduated (in Special Education), I had realized something was wrong. It was easy to see this while working with kids who were different (both gifted and those with learning difficulties).
Because special education kids did not fit into the “education box” and the school system did not cater for them. It got worse when I realized, thanks to my amazingly wonderful teachers, that the system just did not care for any of the kids, because every child is special and different in some way. The system cared for itself.
It was devastating!
It did not take me long to realize that inside the system, I was limited. My first experience as a teacher was at a special education school where no one, and I mean no one, had any desire to change the kids’ problems, only to maintain it. For 4 weeks, I worked with children on math and increased their knowledge by two years’ worth, which made me stick out against the general apathy. The school counselor told me the school would get rid of me, because I make everyone else look bad.
It was devastating!
I am grateful for this experience. All the children I have worked with in the last 30 years, and their families, are much better off because of it. I am grateful, because it made me decide that I would not let the system get between me and my mission to raise happy, successful, social and healthy children. So I started my own business a year after I graduated and since then, I have been working outside the system and changing lives without fear of making anyone else look bad.
I still stick out by working with kids that the education system has given up on, but no one can fire me or stop me from helping them.
Every time I run a professional development workshop for teachers, I hear how those who need to lead our society through education are feeling they cannot do their job. Teachers are so frustrated they cannot give kids what they are supposed to.
The education system does not want to raise happy, healthy, successful children. It wants to program children to think less, obey more, dream less and aim for the average more, to create less and to conform more, to lead less and follow more.
Every time I run those workshops, I feel a little more devastated!
I am not alone.
In Australia, the school year just started and I would like all the parents to ask themselves “What did my children learn last year?” How did going to school every day last year contribute to your kids’ being a better version of themselves?
To be clear, when I say “a better version of themselves”, I do not mean having more knowledge in math or English or getting better grades. Ask your kids to think of things that happened to them last year in class that they will remember for the rest of their lives. If they have nothing to take with them to the future, they have wasted a year and so have you.
We send our kids to school to get something we cannot give them at home. Every day of their life is a precious opportunity. If they have nothing to take from a year of school, or if what they take is small and insignificant, I say, “Houston, we have a problem!”
When I was studying Special Education, I had this amazing class called “Is there a substitute for school?” It was kind of a philosophy class that explored the role of the school system. I loved this course, because it opened my mind.
At the end of the six-month course, we had to write an essay about our findings. My conclusion was that there was no good substitute for school, but the way it was designed at the time, it needed to declare bankruptcy. It is funny that I wrote my conclusion 30 years ago (got the ultimate score of 100%) and the system today is still pretty much the same! Nothing major has changed!
It is devastating, don’t you think?
This week, I saw a video that puts the education system on trial. I thought it presents sharp criticism on how the education system is, as opposed to how it should be. I encourage you to watch it and if you agree, show it to our children, so that they know you are on their side, and share it with other parents.
Education matters! Let’s make it right!