From the Seattle Times’s Pacific Northwest magazine for yesterday: “What’s the matter with teachers today?” A long, interesting piece about K-12 education that asks the question, “Teaching is one of the most criticized jobs in America. What’s up with that?”
Naturally, these paragraphs jumped out at me:
And [teachers] also hate that, outside of the teachers lounge, they can’t raise the problem of poverty without being branded an excuse-maker. They consider poverty the elephant in the room. Not an excuse but a reality that affects test scores much more than the few bad teachers.
Even if we fired all the bad teachers tomorrow, they say, we would still have a big gap in achievement between the rich and the poor.
I really don’t have much commentary on that except: Well, DUH.
I’ve been searching for games for my beloved cell phone1 because sometimes i want a way to pass the time that’s a little more brain-intensive than Solitaire but slightly less concentration-focused than writing a zine article. Ideally i’d like some sort of educational games2 — perhaps a math game, since my goal this summer is returning my math skills to a respectable level.
Do you know how hard it is to find educational games geared toward adult learners? Apparently i get chess or sudoku. All the educational games are for kids. Which is fine, and i don’t mind playing a kids game, except the math games i’ve been looking at so far sort of peak right below the level i need. Basic algebra? You get study guides. No educational games.
Which got me to wondering. At what point in our lives does learning go from being a game to being a chore? Or is learning always a chore that we need to turn into a game to trick the kids into doing by choice?
1) Yes, i really did write beloved “cell phone.” And, yeah, i do kinda mean it. It’s amazing how this little device has transformed my life. In the 1st place, my purse has gotten a lot smaller. I used to carry a calendar/journal/address book plus a digital camera plus a phone, in addition to all the usual crap one carries around every day (wallet, lip gloss, keys). When i started seriously thinking about getting an MP3 player, eventually i came around to thinking, “Bugger this ‘i don’t like all-in-one gadgets.’ Gimme an all-in-one gadget!!” It was the perfect decision.
2) It’s hopelessly geeky, i know, but i love educational games. It’s my mother’s fault for giving me hopeful, aspirational toys when i was a kid. To this day i figure if i’m sitting around waiting (at the airport, doctors’s offices), i might as well do something useful (read, play a brain game). If you catch me sitting around seemingly staring into space, chances are i’m either trying to compose a zine article in my head or i’m falling asleep.