earlier tonight i saw the documentary waiting for superman. needless to say, this movie really got me thinking about what it truly means to be an educator and all of its implications.
the whole premise of the film is about families who can’t afford to send their children to private schools, so they opt out for the option of a charter school. problem is though that these charter schools fill their student slots via lottery, complete chance — i guess that was something i had heard of but never really knew the meaning of it until seeing five families go through the process of applying, waiting, and receiving news of whether or not their child was selected for the charter school.
honestly, it was heartbreaking.
these students WANT to learn. they WANT to have a better life than the one they have now. one boy said he wanted to go to seeds boarding school because he knows it will get him to college and he wants his kids to have a better life than he does. this child is in the fifth grade.
it hurts my heart seeing a passion for learning in a student and then not seeing that passion cultivated. i think more often than not, we look at students in low-income areas surrounded by “dropout factories” and think that they don’t have the same capabilities to learn as more privileged students, but this is not the case at all! do these students need more pushing? yes, probably so considering that in some areas these students know more people who go to prison than they know go to college.
is this not breaking your heart?!
there is a strong emphasis on educational reform throughout the film and how so many people have tried and failed with the task at hand of making american schools the best. the district of columbia, the nation’s capital, has only 12% of its students proficient in reading/math? TWELVE PERCENT. OUT OF ONE HUNDRED. IN THE CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. do we see how big of a deal this is?
good teachers make good schools, but what happens when a school lacks good teachers? are bad neighborhoods the result of bad schools, or is it the other way around? how do families who can’t afford to send their children to private high-end schools get the best education for their children?
when thinking about the kind of teacher i will be, i naturally think of past teachers i had when i was in elementary school and other teachers who i respect. i think of case studies i have read in my education classes and supporting research articles that i’ve read for class as well as on my own. geoffrey canada said that to him, seeing a good teacher is just like seeing a good athlete or a good musician — i really like that thought.
i’ve had this notion in my mind for a year or so now that one day, when i grow up, i just might want to be the secretary of education. maybe that’s too lofty of a dream to have, but i have it regardless and i don’t see it going away anytime soon. i want to impact the way the united states thinks about education. i am loving my education classes so much right now and i feel like i am learning more than i could have initially imagined learning and i just know that this is preparing me for more than just working with kids everyday. one of the mothers in the documentary made the comment that going to college gets you more than just a job, it gets you a career. i plan on making more than a career out of education.
the more i think about education, the more passionate and fired up i get about it. i couldn’t see myself doing anything else with the rest of my life, so i definitely want to make sure that i can do something good for education, especially since it has served me so well all these years.