Intercultural Responsiveness

A Blog By Tom Altepeter

Balance

ImbalanceAll work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Remember that scene from “The Shining” when you see the tap tap tappy from Jack’s typewriter as he worked on his novel was actually him stroking the keys in order to repeatedly etch this phrase on paper? Cree-py. When I worked one summer as a bellhop at the hotel which inspired Stephen King to write that novel, I was lulled often into the terror of that story: Losing one’s mind due to the lack of stimulation required to feel human.

Now, it’s probably a bit of a stretch to think that schools do this. I mean, after all, let’s be honest, Jack had just a few more issues than feeling bottled up. However, let’s also reflect as educators around how often we’ve heard this phrase from students … “School is so boring,” as well as how often we’ve dismissed it with comments related to blaming a student for simply not being engaged.

We’re in that place once again in education where we’ve allowed the pendulum to swing so far that it somehow got stuck instead of making it’s way back to normalcy. Saturating students with literacy and math, throughout their entire day, applying more and more interventions, and measuring their growth with unhealthy fervor like mad scientists banging around their labs.

It takes brave and courageous people to do it, but at the top of our lungs, it’s time to shout out to everyone, “Slow down! Stop!” I mean, we’re all so used to thinking this is just the way it is, we aren’t even recognizing our own crazy. Listen to a student’s story about what’s happening in their life and actually be responsive to their needs, wants, interests, passions? Whatever, we’ve got too much to do.

Schools should be magical. Schools can be magical. We just need to make time for it. Don’t tell me we haven’t the time, because we certainly make the time for all things not magical. Seriously, it’s time to believe again.

2 Responses to “Balance”

  • Kathy Mayer says:

    I’m not an educator, but I sure do salute everyone who is–and I appreciate those who keep the magic going despite oppressive regulations. My 11-year-old nephew had a magical teacher this year, and what a difference it made to him. A clever and cute end-of-the-year idea she used was A-B-C starting with A on the 26th to the last day of school. It’s probably not a new idea for teachers, but it was new to this aunt. And each day there were things related to the letter of the day–but even more important to the kids, a countdown! Hats off to every educator, may your summer be restful and your spirits renewed.

  • Dayna White says:

    I am a teacher — for years I have maintained that we try to cram so many things into a school day/school year that we are dragging students along in order to “get it all in.” I like the current trends toward personalized learning and teaching students how to learn rather than stuffing them with information as if they were a Thanksgiving turkey to serve during standardized testing.

  • Leave a Reply

    *