Friday, September 21, 2007

The Critics: How I Respond...

From a friend:
"What makes you think that you can teach your children better than someone who's spent seven years training to be a real teacher?!"

First of all, it's not seven years' training. It's a degree (which many of us have, by now), plus an extra year or two of teacher-education to get certified. I am not minimizing the importance of this -- teachers are very important, and just as medical school can turn out some amazingly good and amazingly bad doctors, so can teacher-ed turn out some amazingly good and amazingly bad teachers. I don't think the program makes the teacher. I believe a good teacher is born of an inspired, passionate person, with a great desire to help and a great understanding of children. My own brother is one of those, and he's only a couple of weeks into his teacher-ed. The education is very important, but he's already a good teacher.

Secondly, I am not teaching my children. My (and my husband's) philosophy is that our children will learn all they need in life by becoming inspired about learning. It is not my job to "teach" them so much as to help them to find the sources of learning that inspire them. In our case that happens to include a small "school" setting, so that they can be sure to interact with other children of varied ages, as well as four "teachers" who, in my opinion, are of the amazing variety.

And last of all, I don't pretend to have an education in teaching. But I think I know my children and can guide them well.

"I survived high school, and I hated it. I never learned anything, but it made me strong. I think everyone needs the experience of surviving a 2000-kid high school, so they're prepared for life."

Well I don't. But if my children want to attend, I won't stop them.
Having said that, I don't recall ever seeing a social or political system like high school, anywhere else in my life. Whatever high school prepared me for is evidently yet to come.


  1. How about a response of "what makes you think you know my kids' learning needs better than I do?"

    When I get these kinds of nosey questoins I just remind people that we're well within the Schools Act and we still pay our taxes so their kids can go to school, and that it's none of their business what I think or don't think about teachers or schools.

    I wonder how the same parent would react if you asked them "what makes you think that sending your kid to school isn't damaging them for life?"

    It's just rude.


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