image by sarah mccoy photo

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Job, Our Job

How to say this without offending everyone…

If you were among the millions who read this post by Glennon Doyle Melton on Momastery blog and then turned jubilant cartwheels, then don’t hate me if I was more depressed by the article than inspired.

It’s about a teacher who has a quiet, effective method of identifying which children are bullying, being bullied, or at risk.  It’s wonderful stuff, actually.  This teacher, like many fantastic teachers, quietly and consistently cares and changes lives.  Kudos.

Here’s what Glennon says about it, though:

Afterwards, we sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. We agreed that subjects like math and reading are the least important things that are learned in a classroom. We talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a large community – and we discussed our mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are Kind and Brave above all.

The thing about that is, it’s kind of backwards.

The thing about that is, the instilling of Kindness and Bravery, the shaping of little hearts and the raising up of community members, that’s called parenting.

The most important things to be learned in classrooms are, well, math and reading.

I’m not saying that teachers shouldn’t be partnering with and supporting parents, too. I had some incredible, influential teachers myself, and as a parent I know that it really does take a village.  But the bullying, the at-risk kids slipping between the cracks, these are the results of abdicating parental roles and asking large institutions to raise and cultivate our children.  To choose and instill values alongside the academics.  We’re asking teachers to stem the tide of dysfunction in fundamentally flawed 20th Century Schooling AND Parenting.

So if, as Glennon claims, teachers like this are “the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world,” (emphasis original), then whose fault is that?


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