I’ve heard the arguments and I get it. The industrial model isn’t working. The system needs to change. We need authentic learning. I get it. Really, I do. What’s funny with the whole outdated industrial model is that teachers often agree with the point and in many cases, we’re the ones trying to fight against the system.
I fight against the system in small ways (that I’m sure are not “big enough” for many who want to go with a fuck-the-system-altogether mentality): refusal to use punishments and rewards, project-based and problem-based learning, student choice in assignments, painting murals, filming documentaries, abolishing grades and moving toward independent projects.
Despite this reality, there is a purist mentality (bordering on being puritanical) that states that anyone working within the system is corrupt. On one popular blog, teachers have been compared to child abusers, prison guards, slave drivers and thieves.
We’re fighting the same fight. However, I continue to watch both sides attacking one another. Unschoolers and home-schoolers assume that teachers simply need to humble ourselves and admit that we are a part of the problem and then resign. Teachers, on the other hand, often bar any alternative education communities from having a voice in the dialogue.
In the battle for education reform, it’s starting to feel like people are fragging their own soldiers because one side isn’t quite militant enough for their army. And maybe that’s the real issue. Maybe it’s not a war. Maybe it’s not a battle. Maybe it’s time we ask more questions, propose a few more solutions and listen to one another.