Suspend your disbelief….and you’ll feel no pain.


Why don’t teachers give their students evaluations on their class at the end of the year?

Why do teachers complain about a kid after they tell them that their class is boring?

Why do teachers repeatedly complain that kids are getting lazy and apathetic?

Why are teachers not tapped into how kids really feel about their class?

Last year I listened to a group of kids get interviewed about their school experience.  As the kids reflected on their school experience and I just cringed.  How did so many teachers not realize that the kids felt like they were just wasting their time?

In the movie the Matrix, Morpheus offers Nemo two pills.  One is red, one is blue.  If Nemo takes the red pill, he will see the truth.  If he takes the blue pill, he can believe whatever he wants too.

Do teachers need a Morpheus to hand us a red pill?  Are we taking the blue pill and suspending our belief of reality so that we can make it through the day without feeling pain?  Why do teachers and students have such different views of what goes on in a classroom?  Why do both place such a different value on the experience?    

Garth Holman recently introduced me to a new blog written by Cameron Godfrey.

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Her last post is written to teachers: “I can’t tell you how to teach, but I can tell you what I think from a student’s perspective.” She includes many good reminders to teachers in her post.  I won’t include them here…click on the previous hyperlink.  As a matter of fact…stop reading teacher blogs today and just scroll through her posts to get a perspective on school through the eyes of a pupil.  You will not be wasting your time.

When you are done with her posts, check out her twitter home page.

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I love the wit and boldness of her bio line.  ”…I’m here to leave a legacy.”  

What if we were all so bold in our teaching?

As I write this my daughter is researching and preparing for a presentation that she initiated at her school.  She is upset that the school is starting to hand out tickets for “good behavior” and using other PBIS initiatives. She wants it to end. She has been reading everything from Alfie Kohn to a book on public speaking.  Cameron states in her last post “If I set my mind to it, I could search and dive into topics that no teacher has ever taught me, WITHOUT waking up at six in the morning and lugging my book bag onto a crowded bus to school.”  My daughter is getting the same education right now in her room glued to an ipad. 

The kids are taking the red pills, maybe we should too…

You might also enjoy my other blog, They Never Taught Me That In School.

4 thoughts on “Suspend your disbelief….and you’ll feel no pain.

  1. SOME kids are taking the red pills.

    There are all kinds of stories about people who manage to educate themselves despite overwhelming odds. Some students are so motivated that they will learn in any environment. And while teachers have the chance to provide guidance and perspective, and ideally some additional opportunities for those students to challenge themselves, it’s also important to remember that those students are not the only ones in the classroom.

    The internet has made it easy to find out more about things that interest us, and to find people who are like us and can support us in those interests. These are wonderful opportunities! But there’s also value in learning to work with people who annoy us, or bore us, or frustrate us. And the topics that we develop an interest in on our own are not the only ones worth learning about.

    That is the purpose (at least in part) of PUBLIC education.

    • Ahhh…while both stories had the “online” connection, I wasn’t pushing an out of school education. I am a big fan of making kids not follow their passion for times to broaden their knowledge base, and explore things that might make them uncomfortable or bored. There is value for kids to work with people who annoy, bore, or frustrate…but I think the problem is when those people (the teacher) does not respect them.

      All in balance, and right now the balance is out-of-whack.

  2. There’s an incredible unschooling process which has to go on for secondary students to not feel bored. The same classroom will get different results from different students. I know how my students feel about our class and our new school right now (6 weeks in). We talk about it often. Those that are “bored” have brought that baggage with them (to our new, different school). Those students reject everything at this point, even if it’s different from their previous, boring experiences. There was no need to bring that baggage, but it’s here.

    Or maybe there was a reason to bring that baggage. How can you trust anyone called a “teacher” after so many have let you down (or put you down)? It’s a process to change these perceptions and biases. Kids have taken the red pill, and they’re the bold ones saying “I refuse to learn in this system. I refuse to be dehumanized and degraded.”

    The schooling institution is acting antithetically to its supposed stated goal. It takes a lot of faith and compassion to nurse the wounded back to health. It’s not linear, the human mind is much too protected for that. Our students don’t only need the opportunity for quality learning, but they need to re-find their spark, their hope, and their love of the world.

    Wonderful student blog you linked to, btw!

    • That unschooling process can take 5-6 months…be patient.

      There are stories of parents who take their kids out of school to “unschool” them….unschooling is a “branch” of homeschooling…and the kids just sit for months recovering :)

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