Sunday, February 17, 2019

Teaching Laziness?

by Kantanquer (writer), Los Angeles, February 01, 2007

Does contrivance stem from laziness? It might. In my circumstance I use contrivance to teach. I am a sub for the greater LA School District. But recently I have been castigated for relying so heavily

It is easier to contrive a situation than to engage in an honest dialog about it. Many of us teachers believe that learning comes only from "real world" hands on experience.

We discount academic learning because it's boring. Of course my 'œreal world' is distinctly different from the real world that rational people experience. Let me give you an example: I teach mathematics to seventh and eight graders. Everything is computerized these days. We give each student a virtual store credit and a shopping list. We send the students out to the store to acquire the goods on their list. What we fail to reveal is that we have rigged the store they must shop in. We have set up all manner of clever ruses, gimmicks, deceptions, traps and the like to bamboozle our silly students into making unwise shopping decisions. When they are called to account for "their actions" we can chastise them for failing to be: frugal, cognoscente, scrupulous, discriminating, etc. This, is what our critics call laziness.

They may be right. Because when we manipulate reality to intentionally cause error, we leave the real world we care to instruct about - behind. So, when a student is duped by phony pricing, unconverted metrics, uncorrected errors, out of stock items, cash register miscalculations, switched labeling etc, etc. etc. - we remove the experience from reality.

We create a little Oz-like world where most things run backwards, sideways or not at all. We like to tell ourselves (me and my fellow teachers) that we are providing the experiences that will forever instill the proper responses in our students. We are forcing them to acquire skills that will be ever so helpful when they get back into the "real world."

But our critics say all we do is confound ourselves and our students to boot. Because Oz is not the real world. Life, though we fantasize that it would be, is not a game. What we are being told is that our acts of deception effectively nullify the lesson we purport to teach. Why? Because the students are hip to our games. If they were ignorant of our trickery - our ruses might just work as intended. But this new breed of student is far more perceptive than those in the past. Yet, we have not altered our methods of teaching. We have refused to adapt. In my co-worker's words, "Change sucks!" And so, we are coming to be known as lazy.

It is ever so infuriating actually. Which is just what we have caused our students to experience all these years. Frustration. Just the other day a student told me that intentionally over-billing their accounts was no different than stealing! Stealing? Me?? I beg your pardon you two bit gutter snipe! In the old days I would have roundly cuffed her about the head and face.

These days we limit our corporal punishment to contrived "accidents." If someone gets too far out of line - they have an "accident." That's just how decrepit some of us have become. We have cast away any sense of honor, decency, dignity or moral value. To teach and to be moral is an impossible task for those of us trapped in our faded ways.

It does take work to teach without using trickery. It takes a lot of work. And thought. And honesty. And hey, we just ain't paid enough for all that! So, yeah, I guess you could say we are a little lazy. Who really likes new ideas anyway? I'd rather be called lazy and keep getting a pay check than have to re-think my whole view of education. I just ain't paid to do that. Call it what you will. I call these new ideas fanciful bullshit.

About the Writer

Kantanquer is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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7 comments on Teaching Laziness?

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By V on February 01, 2007 at 08:24 pm
Although I view the government's budget allocation choices in regard to education as complete folly and shortsightedness (both your and my government by the way), I sincerely hope you're joking. Good teachers and good parents are the heros of the world.
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By Kerry on January 07, 2008 at 04:56 pm

You sound just like of my Collefe of Marin professors!

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By Kerry on January 07, 2008 at 04:57 pm

oops, that should have a "one" and it's College.

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By Kerry on January 07, 2008 at 05:32 pm

Hey Jen and Tonic, great comment.  Were you one of my COM professors/educators?!  The vast majority of them were educators.  The few that were teachers didn't last long.

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By Credo on August 24, 2013 at 06:10 pm

There is a lot of confusion in the education department. Apparently their curriculum has beome very toxic, not only to the students, but it's really bad when the teachers are unhappy with it. Along with being under paid, having no protection or security for teachers, now the curriculum is going further down the tubes.


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By Kantanquer on August 26, 2013 at 05:36 pm

Thanks for your comment Credo. The following is general follow up: While this piece is written for humor - it is founded on real world experience. Consciousness growth has forced us to accept the fishbowl we live in - is broken. The water has not yet run out, but it is draining. Is there a fix?? Sure. It starts with dignified communication and "informed consent."

Informed consent is lawfully required in every case regardless of client's apparant mental state. If a person is unable to make an informed choice, the next of kin, guardian or power of attorney must be found.

IF, as in the Monday case, a spontaneous decision is made without informed consent - the decision maker accepts the full and ongoing burden of responsibility for that action until released. There can be absolutely no compartmentalization or obfuscation of this obligation. Complete disclosure is required.

Yes, the curriculum has faltered badly. To have failed continuously for 15 years is inexcusable. Restoration of lost time, and material are primary; followed by compensation for emotional trauma and mental anguish. And while seemingly unimportant to some professionals, apologies are extremely important.

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By Eufemia88 on July 04, 2014 at 01:04 am

That is a huge problem wózki

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