While reviewing some of the discussions on my PLN today, I came across an American Schooling Journal with an article on extending the school day. Reading this article made me thankful to be teaching in Canada.
I understand that historically the school year was not as it is today, but I believe there are many reasons for this. Do I believe that expectations over the course of the school year has increased for both teachers and students? Absolutely.
The standards and differences between Canada and the United States to me, is like night and day. I believe the drive for standardization in the States is really unfortunate. The fact that teachers are judged based on their student’s test performance is scary to me! How can students be expected to perform on the same level if they are all individuals?
Do I think that days are stuffed full as a teacher, and that you never get everything done that you plan to get done – you bet I do! Is the solution to that extending the school day, or having more days at school in a year? I don’t think so! To me, that is just an invitation to try and stuff more into the school day. I don’t see teachers and students being given more time without strings attached. I believe that if more time is given to educators, they will actually have less time to teach!
I think it’s important to remember that our students are individual’s and they don’t all WANT to be doctors. That’s the great thing about being individuals, we don’t all have the same goals and aspirations, so I don’t think we should hold everyone to the standardized expectations! I’m not trying to say that we shouldn’t have high expectations for all students, but I believe that we should have expectations for students that are fair. When we know our students, we need to teach to them and their needs. I don’t think we should aim to have them all at a certain level.
I am saddened that feeling that I get from this article is that students will only be successful if their grades are the highest. I know that we need to place importance on literacy and numeracy. I want my students to have the ability to read and write, and to solve math problems that they will experience in everyday life. I believe for that reason, I can argue that I need my students to be able to THINK!
As a teacher, it is not important for students to spew back facts and information to me, why would that be important? Today, students can access information almost instantly, so why do students need to use their brains to store that information? Doesn’t it make more sense to have people use their brains to develop their skills and knowledge in the areas of interest that they have? Wouldn’t that benefit them in the area of society that they wish to participate in? I know there are mandates in the curriculum and teachers don’t get to just pick what they teach, I think these are just a few questions to consider when I am teaching!
I don’t think school years or days should be extended, and I don’t think that individuals should be held to standards in order to argue for longer days!