Saturday, April 17

Teachers, Schools and Disappointment

I was just over at Poppy's Dream Fields and she was talking about how the school has to be open on a Saturday due to the fact that it was closed on a regular school day. The teachers actually have to teach so many hours of the year in most of Europe! There is a set amount of hours that the school's actually have to be in service so if there is bad weather and the school has to be closed, they actually have to make up for it with either longer hours or on a Saturday!

Wow I wish that were the case here! As it is there are more day's off during the school year now than I can remember from when I went to school. One day a month the school gets closed for "Professional Development", every two months the school is closed for teachers conferences, the last Wednesday of every month is early dismissal and the list goes on. It's sad really, the amount of time that could be spent on teaching the kids that is just flitted away with whatever excuse can be thought of! The less teaching the teachers have to do, the happier they are!

That's all bad enough in and of itself, but what I find to be much worse is the grading of the students. Or should I say, lack thereof!?! Now-a-days you can't even get failed up to and including grade 7 for failing to meet grade standards! You can't read, who cares, the teachers next year can deal with that problem. That's the attitude, or so it seems to me. Kids are graduating from school now barely literate and it really is a shame.

The Kid brought home her report card not that long ago and had received an 80% on one of her subjects, not bad I thought. Then the following week, she comes home with an updated report card with that grade bumped up to 85%. Not because the teacher had mis-graded her, but because one of the students parents was ticked off at his low grade. So in order to please that parent and keep the grade spread somewhat accurate all the students grades were bumped up by 5%. Have to keep that grading curve accurate you know! Really, what is wrong with marking students according to the work they actually do?

In Social Studies she failed on a test of the map of Canada. Well in order to not give her a failing grade, the teacher had her rewrite the test until she got it correct. If memory serves, she labeled that map (which is all the test was) 3 times before she got more that 75% of it correct, and that's when she was graded on it.

Speaking of marking grades, in Math class, The Kid got a mark of 90% on a particular part of the course. Wow I thought, she really has a good concept of percentages! So I asked her, what's 10% of 100? She looked at me with a really dumb expression and proceeded to ask me "How on earth am I supposed to know that?" That's when I found out that the schools idea of teaching percentages to grade 6 students is to give them a paper with circles and squares on it and they are to color in things like 50% of the circle, or 75% of the square or whatever it happens to be.

You know, punctuation, spelling, grammar and neatness used to count towards your marks as well. Now, not so much. It seems I have to take out a deciphering code in order to read that which The Kid writes. wordsarewritten like this with no capitalization or spacing. Paragraphs, what are those? Writing repetitively, who cares you're getting your point across, sort of! Long sentences that don't make sense, ah well, you're just a kid, you'll figure it out eventually!

If this is the attitude of the teaching profession, and this is the way the kids are graded and taught, what is the point of them going to school? It's become nothing more than a daycare!

Don't get me started on discipline, because when I went to school there actually was some in the classroom! It wasn't really needed due to the fact that us kids knew there were consequences for bad behavior. Now there is no real discipline but rather "if you be good, we'll give you a treat" reward system. Trust me, it doesn't work! The Kid is always coming home from school complaining about how disruptive some of the students are!

So what do you think? Time to pull her from the school system and start teaching her at home full time? I'm unofficially teaching her here anyway, may as well do it properly and permanently, don't you think? Not only would she actually learn something constructive, but she'd even have more time to help out around the yard and in the house, thereby learning how food is grown, preserved and eventually cooked. Not to mention how to properly care for a home. To me it's a win-win situation, constant learning!

Monday, April 5


(Ok, I've been trying to put in a new post for better than a week now and the updated editor version I had been using just didn't work. So, now I've gone back to the old version and voila, I'm able to post again! Hip Hip Hurray! Onto my post that should have come up March 29th, I will post it as I wrote it then and not correct all the day's and such.)

Consider the title. When you read or hear that word, honestly, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For me it is birds. Eagles, Falcons, Buzzard's and Hawks of all description, to be more precise :)

Today the world's largest Raptor migration started with Golden Eagle's right over my front yard. I stopped a 1/4 of a mile from home in order to watch around 12 of them fly over the house in a west-north-westerly direction. Oh my god what a sight to see, and lucky me it is just starting! Too bad I have to spend so much time at work, I would so love to be able to spend every day of the next few weeks laying out on the lawn watching these birds fly towards their summer homes! Man how I envy The Kid, she's got a whole week here to watch them while she's on Spring Break!

Don't get me wrong, those 12 that I had stopped to watch were just the start. Over the next 2 hours I watched 115 more birds fly past. That's a total of 127 Golden Eagle's in the span of 120 minutes! I hadn't been watching the whole time and therefore I must have missed a few, but even still that's a lot of birds at one time! Silv says this is just the beginning, that the next few day's will bring a whole lot more! He also told me the order in which they'll all come back, you know what I mean, Golden's now then the Bald's followed by Turkey Buzzards and so on. But I'm kind of glad that I've forgotten what he said about that. I'm looking forward to "discovering" the order on my own.

The best part is, that with my memory the way it is, next year at this time it will all be new again...hehehe!

Well the migration is just about done, there are just the stragglers left now, but I sure don't mind what I can still watch. The buzzards haven't come in yet, but they will be soon, between the 1st and 5th of May. Now that will be lovely to watch, I can't wait till they get here! There are 7 which stay in this area and can be observed on a very regular basis. Silv call them his Crypt Keepers and they sure are beautiful to watch soaring and riding the thermals! These 7 have been banded by him and their names are Boris, Herman, Eddie, Uncle Festus and then Edgar, Allan and Poe, The Crypt Keepers!