by ALISTAIR BOMPHRAY
This is going to be a quick one today. I just got back from a weekend backpacking trip in the Sierras and was more than a little surprised to discover over three hundred new comments in the Teacher, Revised mailbox, many of them covered in a suspicious Anthrax-like powder or emitting a strange ticking sound.
I’m not going to lie. I read less than a quarter of them. And I didn’t make it all the way through Jesse’s post either.
The Geeks vs. The Idiot. Homeschools vs. public schools. Yawn.
I don’t have much patience for that kind of a discussion. And I fear that most of our readers (excepting the thousands of homeschoolers who visited our site this weekend), tuned out about as quickly as I did.
Obviously, tone was an issue for me, on both sides of the argument. But mostly it was the lack of complexity. There are wonderful things about homeschooling. And there are some not so wonderful things. It can be done really well, and it can be done not so well. The same goes for public schooling.
As a public school teacher who knows very little about homechooling, I would love to know what it takes to be a good homeschool teacher. I have questions like, How do you balance being both parent and teacher to your child? How do you incorporate technology into your lessons? How do you go about teaching a subject you know very little about? How much homework do you give? Is it even called ‘homework’ when it’s assigned at home? Do your students have to take the same standardized tests as mine? If so, how much test prep do you do each week? In short, I want to know your best (and worst) practices.
And as homeschool teachers, aren’t you just as curious about the life of a public school teacher? If for nothing else, to rethink and reshape your own teaching philosophies?
That’s why I want a discussion that readily includes all of those complexities, that examines all sides of the issue(s) in a way that is both intellectually curious and generous. This was and is my vision for Teacher, Revised.
Public school teachers aren’t competing with homeschool teachers, for the love of God (who, I must say, played a strange role in this weekend’s exchange). We’re all teachers here, and therefore we’re all in this together. You love your students as if they were your own children, because, well, they are your own children. Well, we public school teachers try to do the same.
Forgive me if I sound a little like the Steve Carell character from Anchorman when he yells, “I DON”T KNOW WHAT WE’RE YELLING ABOUT!” But that’s kind of how I feel.
Deep breath. Now exhale.