Thoughts on education: summer course

Okay so here’s the thing. You walk into the classroom.It’s sweltering 35 degrees and the fan is pushing the hot air from one side of the room to the other.You look at the new kids, grades 9 and 10 who have shown up for the summer course, to make it into a better class next year, or because the school demands it of them.

Now you know they won’t learn enough in 10 days to make a difference, and you know that it’s a money- spinner for the school .But you can’t do anything about it….

Some of the kids are really trying hard. I mean they don’t know that New York is a city and not a country but they really are prepared to make an effort. However, once they finish the course and are put in the weak group ,their frustrations will begin to come through. And then,when faced with the Bagrut (matric) paper which is really more of an intelligence test than an English test, they will look to cut corners.I have seen it now so many times,but it still frustrates me. I can’t help them .I can’t change the system.

There are a lot of teachers out there trying to change it , but apparently there are too many “powers-that-be” who stand to make revenue from it and so the chances that we will ever be able to get the Bagrut cancelled are minimal.

On the other hand, it was nice to go back to the classroom after my sabbatical and see that I don’t hate it.I was scared I would not be able to make it through the day, especially as the mercury climbed even higher by 3.45 ,the last period.

Now I am back to earth,having delved into wikis, flat classrooms, cooperative classrooms and suchlike in my virtual life this year, I bumped down to the reality of no air condtioning, no laptops and no freedom to do what I would really like with these kids.

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