|America's Favorite Game: Academic Challenge
October 20, 2014
I got more evidence this week about why I don't want to teach in secondary school systems. Discipline and punishment are apparently not appropriate when you try to light-heartedly correct classroom management issues, as in the case of the Washington state teacher who has gotten in trouble for using a "wheel of misforture" to meter out punishment to students. God forbid, we scar a teenager's psyche.
Mostly, I am frustrated that the Washington teacher's creativity gets punished. A wheel of misfortune is brilliant, even if I am not sure I would include getting pelted by rubber balls. I wonder if she could have used being jabbed by a banana or other fresh fruit (Monty Python fans now have Eric Idle's voice in their heads, saying "pointed stick!").
The state of education is a game show anyway these days. I guess this teacher just picked the wrong one.
- All teachers start their careers thinking they are playing "To Tell The Youth." This is the noble intention of education.
- They soon realize they are playing "Youth No Consequences." And it doesn't have any fun and zany stunts.
- They learn some students in the class play "Tweat the Chalk." Something is barely out of a teacher's mouth and on the board and someone in the class is tweating their disgust.
- At least the contestants in "Tweat the Chalk" are showing their reactions quietly through social media; contestants on "Profane Reaction" vie to see who can have the most uncivil in-class reaction.
- Meanwhile, the student who has missed three straight weeks is back with a "Tale of the Century."
- His buddy is likely to be playing "Scammy: Press Your Luck!"
- These students rebuked by the instructor? Don't worry, they will play "Win, Lose or Ma" (later reintroduced as "Win, Lose or Pa.")
- Helicopter parents think they are respected? Step behind administration's doors and watch them play "The Joker's Child."
- Through all of this, teachers are to maintain composure while school violence stories abound. They have to also be playing "The Price is Fright."
It's interesting because the second troubling story of the last few weeks that also reminds me to stay where I am at concerns a Detroit girl suspended because she brought a pocketknife to school. Sure looks like the Dearborn school she was at was firmly entrenched in their own version of "The Price is Fright."
There is nothing ultimately funny about a pocketknife at school nor about an honor student suspended a year for having that. However, if people watched all of the games being played at their local schools, they would realize that pocketknives are not the most dangerous things there. The sharpest and most dangerous edges in our schools these days may come from helicopter-parent-blades.