Things Which Don’t Let Education Work

Over the many years in my life that I have spent as a student, and as a teacher, I think it is fair that I mention things which I think do not, and never will work in an educational setting.

There are certain attitudes that many teachers tend to have. One of those, is related to a quote from my mother, “Students don’t come pre-taught”. Teachers seem to think that they can make photocopies of material in a book, pass it out, tell you to study it, and think that that is educational. The teacher has not considered how the students learn best, what they already know, what they likely do not know yet, what other factors may be effecting their education, and whether or not the students even know how to study.

I don’t have a problem with small in-class group work projects or discussions. You sit in a group of a few people, discuss some things, maybe work on a lab, and then you move on. No one is really responsible for someone else’s grade, unless they are permanent lab partners.

What I do have a problem with, is long term group projects. Inevitably, at least one person in a group becomes the yes man/yes woman, someone does most of the work, and someone takes the fall if it doesn’t work out with a shiny grade like planned. It will amaze how many times I have done group projects with friends in a class, and those “friends” have thrown me under the bus because they couldn’t get their shit together.

And I learned what from this? That people are assholes? I got that loud and clear. I learned that group projects are a waste of time, energy and research. I learned that no matter how hard I work, no matter how nice I am, I am still the villain, just because that is what they want me to be.

I wasn’t aware of how many people are on the same page with me on group projects, until I talked to people about it. I have found that people younger me, mostly were neutral to or were fine with group work. But talking to most of my friends and family members who are my age (26) or older, loathe group projects. Most of their reasons included fear of someone else being responsible for your grade, not getting the presentation if applicable done in time, communication, not wanting to do all of the work and let someone else take credit for it.

Another thing which seems to be deeply hated is standardized tests. I was talking to a friend about them today, and brought up how when we took the CMT’s (CT Mastery Tests), we often times got bored so we just randomly would bubble in the letters without a care. The time, energy and studying that goes into the CMT’s is enormous for a 4th grader. It is even enormous for an 8th grader. The studying you have to do is similar to that of studying for final exams at a university. Since when are 10 year olds prepared for college exams?

Yesterday, my psychology professor gave us an optional test for extra credit after we completed our final exam. This test is to help prove that standardized tests, and timed tests, are not appropriate in education. Not everyone finished, in the time we were given. I think that says a lot.


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