This is a work in progress…mostly a rant, but eventually something more.
I am a teacher. I can’t help it. It’s how I am wired. I don’t need a classroom; in fact I am probably better outside the traditional classroom because I hate busywork, irrelevant information, and standardized tests.
I teach because I love to learn and I want everyone around me to get excited about learning with me. In this country’s value system however, I am unorthodox. I don’t believe in standardized tests. I think they are the single greatest waste of time, resources, and energy ever created by government to ensure that no one thinks critically. Every question in education can be sufficiently posed and answered on a bubble form sent through a machine that marks the answers as either right or wrong. And they call that education.
NO! (I’d add a few choice words for emphasis, but you can add them in your heads on my behalf.) It is the most ridiculous thing in the world to limit answers to A, B, C, D, or E (with E being “all of the above”). Yes, there are right and wrong answers in education. 2+2 does in fact equal four and nothing else. The air we breathe is indeed a particular combination of oxygen, nitrogen, and a touch of argon. There are facts that are right or wrong, but knowing facts is not education. Recitation is boring. And yes, there are things that must be memorized in order for understanding to evolve, but our current education system has focused so much on right answers that we neglect to teach WHY the answers matter and HOW the answers affect us.
The unorthodox teacher, no matter what his or her classroom, is one who challenges students to understand why and how along with teaching the who, what, and where. And a standardized test can’t measure that.