Data Bound and Data Gagged: How Teachers are Made Ineffectual and Silent

Make no mistake, the decision to become a teacher is an overtly political act which, in many ways, denotes an inflated sense of one’s morality, values, and knowledge to such a degree that it is strong enough to act as role model to hundreds or thousands of students over the course of an average career. This is especially apparent in the decision to teach in the two contexts where I sharpen my pedagogical instrument: the elementary school and the college classrooms. In the elementary context, more so than my base of knowledge, my values and ability to maintain and instill order and the basest level of societal conditioning are in play in my transmission and practice. In the college setting it is more my base knowledge, my expertise in the course I am teaching that is of the most importance.

Does this mean that where the weight is on the one, the importance of the other is absent? No of course not, but it is important to be reminded that in elementary school, students are, above all else, being prepared to enter the American society first and prepared with information and skills second. The importance of this cannot be denied, as skills acquisition is an incredibly cyclical and incrementally sequential affair. Academic understandings can only be mastered in small bites, according to developmental capability and reasonable expectation as per the amount of 1:1 time that a particular student might be able to receive in a class of 24-32 others. What has become increasingly frustrating, nay, infuriating is the extreme callous with which really both of these aspects have been eschewed from being transmitted so that they can collectively be measured.

One comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.