My parents had their challenges when deciding on my schooling and they acted in my best interests. It also seems that my parents had very good, real alternatives to their challenges. I would expect, so many years later, that I would have better and more alternatives. But it seems I don’t.
My son attends one of the best schools in Johannesburg. When I think of the alternatives, I would be getting more of the same. Environments that condone and cultivate racism, classicism, sexism and many other negative isms. These premium schools that promise top notch teaching often have teachers worse than the teachers I had and some of the teaching I have witnessed in many township schools.
Teachers who are incapable of teaching to all the learning styles and catering to multiple intelligences. So they send the kids off to all sorts of extra support (I am not making light of children who need extra support), which more than likely impacts on the childs’ self esteem to the extent that they believe that cant and wont ever learn. They pile the children with homework, which in effect means that they leave the teaching up to us, the parents.
Sending my children to anything but the best that’s available is not an option for me. My parents gave me the best and I will do even better for my kids. Schools who have more than 20 children in the class is not an option for me and my children. I realise that these environments might have really great teachers, but I know teachers cannot give their optimum to many children. So this option is off the table.
As a parent in 2015, I am consciously parenting differently from my parents. Firstly because I am an older parent, only starting this journey un my 30s,not my teens and twenties. Secondly, education has afforded me the luxury to ponder the mistakes that were made with me and my finances afford me the privilege to parent consciously. If you troll numerous parenting websites, shows, articles, its evident that I am not an anomaly. Parents around the world have take the stance to parent their children in in this vain.
For me, it is therefore imperative that I find schools that have also shifted their paradigm.Not enforcing corporal punishment, is not the definition of changing your paradigm on how you raise children (Yes, you are raising my children too!!!). Taking the cane away and strengthening emotional punishment and exerting unconscious adult power, has become a norm in schools who are acclaimed for having “changed”.
My crisis/challenge: I am finding it difficult to find Education that is child-centric.
I want a curriculum and teaching methods that reflect what and how children learn right now and what this means for their future. I require Teaching that is not an old fashioned static skill, but an ever evolving skill, based on the child in front of you, not the child that you were.
I demand that every teacher that is hired has the ability to see every child as an individual. They see their “bright eyes” for all their possibilities. I want every staff member supported to grow out of their paradigms to make space for the children they are working with.
I believe Child centric education is in its essence a “swim in loud chaos”, not as a means to silence and order it, but to unleash its greatness.
Education is consciousness. Education serves the agenda on unlocking dreams. Education is our one true gift to future generations. We need schools that reflect this and serve the children who are our tomorrow. I will continue to try to find a school that can deliver on our mandate to our children and I will never allow my children to “Suck it Up”.
Their role is to grow into their lives and I will continue to search and agitate for environments to be their garden.