I’m Making a Change
Most of you probably know I’m a teacher by trade. I taught school for a number of years, teaching pretty much all grades 1-6 during that time. I generally believe that the vast majority of the people within the system are doing the best they can within the limits of that system. There are times and places where the system simply can’t accommodate its’ students the way it needs to. That’s not the fault of the teachers and support staff, that’s the fault of the system in general, which is to a large degree, simply broken.
Where I am right now school has gone virtual for one week to allow for the staff to prepare for the incoming onslaught of staffing shortages due to illness. The government seems to have very little interest in providing what would be needed to keep everybody safe upon their return to school, which means chaos is coming. Staffing shortages and a lack of resources will essentially turn the school into a day camp for the kids that don’t get sick themselves. With multiple teachers gone and limited ability to replace them, supports for kids like my own son, disappear. That is not the fault of the people within the system, that is the fault of the government and the system itself.
Due to his severe anxiety, my son needs a very consistent routine during his very limited time at school. He needs to see the same person at the same time every day. He needs to know what’s going to happen before it does. He needs one-on-one support all the time. Again because of a rather broken system, he does not qualify for the funding that would give him the full-time educational assistant that he needs. Instead, he is supported by a wonderful resource teacher already in the school. With a teaching license to her credit, it is only a matter of time before she will be teaching in a classroom to help deal with the incoming staffing shortages, that is unless or until she gets sick herself.
It is impossible for my son to be in a school where we play the game of not only who he will have support from, but whether or not he would have support at all. That is not a reasonable option. Again, that’s not the fault of the staff, that is the system itself showing its’ brokenness. Sending my son to what will amount to day camp when I am home every day anyway, doesn’t seem helpful to anybody, particularly him.
I have come to the conclusion that homeschooling him is once again the best option for him. The system is no longer capable of navigating the needs of my son. I was hoping that if I waited long enough and allowed the system to catch up, that eventually enough support would give him the ability to go to school. That has not happened. Instead, he has regressed and goes even less than he did at the beginning of the year.
The solution for them is to essentially punish him to try to force him to go. I could write a book on why that is a bad idea. It is not a power struggle I choose to engage in with him, nor do I think it would be effective. I see that ending in him dropping out of high school somewhere down the road. The idea that we should be forcing conformity instead of dealing with the anxiety and mental health issues that are clearly present is obnoxious to me. As somebody who has stopped conforming, it is unlikely that I am going to be encouraging my son to conform anytime soon. Instead, I will teach him using the same provincial curricula offered in school.
I believe in the basic foundation of education which is to provide a consistent common skill-set to everybody so that when they become adults they have the ability to do some kind of work that gives them an income so that they can be independent. That skill-set needs to include literacy, numeracy, science, and a foundation of geography and history. But that needs to be broken up in such a way that it is learned by all who enter the system, regardless of individual ability, IQ, social status, skin color, religion, or anything else. A system that only works for those that are going to be doctors, teachers, lawyers, and engineers solves nothing. A system that only works for those that learn a certain way solves nothing. A system that becomes a sausage factory, essentially trying to fit everybody into the same model also solves nothing.
Instead of trying to accommodate all individual needs, we’ve moved to try to create curricula that work for everybody. It is impossible to do., somebody will always be left out or left behind. The skills need to remain the same so that everybody learns to add. The methods of teaching them how to add need to change based on each individual student. We need to find ways to do that which don’t require one teacher per student, grouping them based on their intelligence, or making them decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives when they are 10 years old. All of these things reflect an old and broken system that is unable to keep up with current demands.
We are witnessing the collapse of the system. It’s interesting to note the system is allowing its’ own collapse in some places while in other places they are standing guard to protect it. I happen to live in one of the places where collapse is being allowed to occur. There is a very obvious political division, even here in Canada, and it is fascinating to watch. I don’t need to leave my son in the collapsing tower (tarot reference). I am free to pull him out before it crashes around him and I have.
If the system doesn’t collapse this time, there will simply be more interruptions until it does. The goal is to change the old black and white, right and wrong way of doing things into something that is far less rigid and structured. The goal for the individual is to deal with the fear of change and to simply allow their lives to shift. Adaptation is going to be a critical skill for anybody that wants to get through this reasonably smoothly. As this progresses, I will continue to shift and share with you what that looks like.
Let the new way of doing things begin!
Love to all.