Sunday July 31st, 2011
|The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher - By John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, 1991
posted 07/31/2011, 1:11 PM (John Taylor Gatto)|
Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do at the time, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. The license I hold certifies that I am an instructor of English language and English literature, but that isn't what I do at all. I don't teach English, I teach school -- and I win awards doing it.
Teaching means different things in different places, but seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood Hills. They constitute a national curriculum you pay for in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what it is. You are at liberty, of course, to regard these lessons any way you like, but believe me when I say I intend no irony in this presentation. These are the things I teach, these are the things you pay me to teach. Make of them what you will.
A lady named Kathy wrote this to me from Dubois, Indiana the other day:
"What big ideas are important to little kids? Well, the biggest idea I think they need is that what they are learning isn't idiosyncratic -- that there is some system to it all and it's not just raining down on them as they helplessly absorb. That's the task, to understand, to make coherent."Kathy has it wrong. The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach disconnections. I teach too much: the orbiting of planets, the law of large numbers, slavery, adjectives, architectural drawing, dance, gymnasium, choral singing, assemblies, surprise guests, fire drills, computer languages, parents' nights, staff-development days, pull-out programs, guidance with strangers my students may never see again, standardized tests, age-segregation unlike anything seen in the outside world....What do any of these things have to do with each other?
Even in the best schools a close examination of curriculum and its sequences t... (more)
|"From Each According to His Ability, To Each According to His Need"
posted 07/31/2011, 1:11 PM (Ayn Rand)|
Well, there was something that happened at that plant where I worked for twenty years. It was when the old man died and his heirs took over. There were three of them, two sons and a daughter, and they brought a new plan to run the factory. They let us vote on it, too, and everybody - almost everybody - voted for it. We didn't know. We thought it was good. No, that's not true, either. We thought that we were supposed to think it was good. The plan was that everybody in the factory would work acco... (more)
"...The plan was that everybody in the factory would work according to his ability, but would be paid according to his need..."