Saturday, April 4, 2009

Thoughts On Education

For some reason the topic of education has been on my mind recently. More specifically the type of school I might choose for my children. Growing up it never crossed my mind that I would one day make a decision that would determine the type of education my children would receive. And as I only have one child right now who isn't even two I guess that decision still lies in the future but still these are my current thoughts:

First my background. The schools I attended growing up were nothing special if anything they were bellow average. I attended a Church of England primary school in which I had a teacher who controlled his classroom with the use of a whistle not too different from the father of the Von Trapp Family from the musical "The Sound of Music." The High School or junior high that I attended failed major education inspections for two of the four years I attended. The head teacher or principle was a homosexual and openly discussed his partner in assembles (awkward). I had a teacher who refused to call you by anything but your last name and terrified students, one student caught her hair on fire when asked to demonstrate a scientific experiment which involved a Bunsen burner another student burnt his eyebrows off. My French teacher resigned a couple years after I left and ended up in a mental institution. One teacher threw a chair at a student. I think you get the picture so on to the community college or high school that I attended. Nothing special, a very small school. As it was small school everyone knew about everything. Everyone knew I was a Mormon and so I has countless opportunities to share my religion, be discriminated (mostly by teachers) and constantly have my standards challenged. Apart from a select few teachers the teaching was appalling; many teachers lacked any type of classroom management and frequently left class crying. Teachers yelled profanities and obscene words at students and students respected nobody. In England you can leave school at the age of 16 after completing intense testing called GCSE's, in my year 75% of the students left at 16 because they were consumed by addictions such as alcohol and drugs or didn't receive good enough grades to continue in school.

At BYU in a teaching training class my teacher asked us to think of an exceptional teacher from school that loved us. Nobody came to mind. SAD. There are a few teachers that I have fond memories of but they taught the subjects I was most interested in so what do you expect. But I can honestly say I never felt that any of my school teachers loved me and the majority didn't love what they were doing in most cases I think they hated it.

The point I want to make is although I had a pretty pathetic environment to develop academically I knew that I was a daughter of God and that my parents would do anything for me. My home was literally a haven, my very own sanctuary. I had a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and tried to be courageous and share it frequently. I held my standards high for all to see and tried hard to keep them. And at the end of it all I got accepted into BYU and excelled in one of their programs. Now I am married to a man who loves me and honors his priesthood. We were married in one of God’s temples and made a sacred covenant with each other and with our eternal father. Each day is showered with blessings from God and the lessons of my life teach me more about my heavenly potential.

As I think about what type of school I will send my children to I think the most important aspect is that I focus on my home because the home is truly the heart of all learning. It was for me and believe that is the way God intended it to be. At the end of the day I don’t really think the school is going to make of brake an individual but their home defiantly will. With these thoughts I plan to improve myself so that I may become more like my savoir Jesus Christ and teach as he would have me teach.


Lesley-Ann said...

What a lovely post Jess, very thought provoking. I totally agree with you and in spite of the schools you attended, you did excel against the odds and you were rewarded with the wonderful experience of attending BYU and here you are about graduate. What a wonderful achievement, we are very proud of you and love you very much, Mum and Dad X

Lisa Hargrave said...

Hi Jess! Just wanted to clarify, Mrs Arnot is my friends mum, she didnt end up in a mental institution (altho she did suffer with her nerves a little I think, and stress of course!), she works as a translator at the airport. Cant imagine she'd like the thought of us all thinking that! I like ur stories, just be glad you aren't starting your education in England now, its much much worse! I imagine Mr Guilder chasing some youth's over the fields part way through a class, and Mr Hall making the naughty boys read the dictionary at lunch times is a regular occurance now!! Hope you're all well, and im sure it goes without saying that your little Jack is gorgeous!! x x

Anonymous said...

I felt a need to comment on your blogg post reference education. Partly because I shared a lot of your experiences and partly as you were in my dream last night how odd.

You know I too think about education a great deal and I don’t even have children yet! Was the head really gay! I thought that was just a rumour although my Dad was convinced he was. When I first started reading the post I thought it real wasn’t that bad and then I thought may be it was! I suppose that I didn’t realise how bad our school was until I got to uni and everyone was sharing there school experiences and I thought gosh we didn’t have that opportunity or we never had that. What I will say though is that there are a fair few success stories from our school that are doing really well in life and fair play to them. Yes our school was small but I think that there was something special about knowing every ones names and each person individually. Maybe it is/was my naivety but I saw very little bullying. I was never offered drugs and I wouldn’t even know what they looked like which is quite the contrary to many of my friends that attended fee paying schools, no one springs to mind that was an alcoholic or drug addict? Also I think that I have a lot better time management skills than many that had a better education due to the fact our education was of the attitude you either do the work or you don’t, no one will really care.

That said I am not trying to claim that we had an amazing education quite from it and I often think how much better I could have done if I had of been ‘pushed’ more. I do think we got something that many didn’t the opportunity to mix with people from all walks of life, backgrounds and cultures. If I am in a position when I have children that I can pay for their education comfortable I will do so. I couldn’t agree more though when you say your home life is the key to focus on. I have met with people that received the best education but have the most appalling outlook on life with very little respect for others. You seem like your doing a fantastic job with Jack I am sure are both fantastic parents. Take care chick xx Katie

Jessica said...

You are right there were many succeses and many good things about our schoooling. I was just trying to make the point that regardless of the school experience if a child is loved and taught in the home they will excell in life.

Hayley said...

Jess - you should have come to my schools! Yes, I'm sure they had troubles but I can honestly think of at least 2 teachers at each school that I thought "loved" me. They were always so caring, nothing was ever enough (even though they had the rest of the class to deal with) and I felt they were always there. Obviously everything wasn't always sweet and honey but I feel I had a good education on the whole. Saying that, I totally agree with you that the love should start at home. Saying that, if teachers don't know how to handle kids, or love them to the expectations of others, surely the home is also to blame - shouldn't the home be teaching discipline so that children know how to behave (in life and in school), and needing a teacher to "love" shouldn't be the substitute for love giving within the family. xx

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