My Ideal School - The One Room School House I Dream Of
One Room School House
I Left Most Of This As A Comment To Another Hub
8th Grade Graduation Test
My Grandmother Taught in a One Room School House
When my grandmother graduated eighth grade she took a test to become a teacher. I saw it once and it was fairly simple. Basically, if you knew reading, math, geography and history, you could pass it. Of course, she passed and until she met and married her husband, she taught in a one room school in the boonies of Arkansas. She taught children aged 5 through 15 or 16. Some were a little older. She didn't teach kindergarten, first, second and so on grades. She taught children by ability. If there was a ten year old and a five year old at the same ability level they were taught the same. She was also allowed to teach the children in the ways she thought were best - she didn't have to follow a specified curriculum and didn't have to teach a subject for ninety minutes and follow what someone told her to. She taught as long as the subject needed to be taught. And she taught the way that best fit each child. She was also allowed to let the older students help the younger ones, and was able to create a family style classroom. The students she taught all passed their courses because they knew the subject, not because they were given an easy grade because a parent threatened the teacher. Sports and music and art were all a part of the school year, but it was made plain that academics came first and were most important. In the years she taught, only two students quit school. Both were young men who had to help take care of the family farms. They didn't give up because things got too tough at school - they quit because they were needed more at home.
Learning In A One Room School House
But I Don't...
In the district I teach in today, we have a specified curriculum for reading and math. We have to follow this curriculum just as it is written and just when we are told to do it. Lesson one is taught on day one and at a specific time of the school day and of the school year. Everyone in the district that teaches the same grade should be on the same lesson at the same time each day. Social studies, history, and science are supposed to be integrated into reading somehow - again without altering the curriculum. If we alter the schedule at all, we are given a lecture about it. This is done because there is great mobility in our district and the suits in charge say that when a student moves from one school to another in the district, they will not have missed out on anything. Which, as a reason, is a good one. I moved around so much as a child that this would have been nice for me.
However, I am a special education teacher and am still expected to teach the curriculum in the same way. My students are at least two grade levels behind their peers in the regular education classroom. They have learning disabilities in reading, writing or math. Some have disabilities in more than one subject and others have difficulties in every area. Our curriculum gives one 90 minute lesson to teach a certain concept in reading. My students can sometimes take 90 minutes just to get their supplies together and put their names on the paper. Some of my students do not know letters and sounds, but are expected to know story elements and comprehension. The curriculum does not fit my students and my students do not fit the curriculum, but the higher ups come to observe in my classroom and wonder why I am only on lesson six on day twelve. Of course, they don't stay long enough to see where the ability level of my students is. They just leave written notes saying things like "not on the correct lesson" and "three students were not in their seats during the lesson - one was standing, one on his knees and one was actually sitting in the teacher's lap!" It was obvious that these "officials" had never been in a special education classroom and had never worked with children with special needs!
Schoolchildren From A One Room School House
But One Day I Will Teach In My One Room Schoolhouse
My dream as a teacher is to one day have a school of my own just like the one my grandmother taught in. I am not sure that it would go over very well, because parents nowadays don't want their children to have to think or work hard for themselves...but maybe there would be enough parents who truly want their children to become working members of society and be willing to give the school a chance.
In my "one room" school there would be students from ages five through eighteen. Children with special needs and children with behavioral needs that are not always welcomed in regular education classrooms, would be welcomed with open arms.
In my school, I would teach a concept until it was understood. If the group understood the concept in half an hour, we would move one. If it took three hours - or three days to understand the concept, we would take the extra time. Reading for understanding would be taught, and math concepts would be taught until it was thoroughly understood and could be taught by the student.
In my school, we could read a novel one day and a picture book the next, as long as it could help teach the concept. Reading would be an activity that students wanted to do, and not a chore they had to do. There would be puppet shows and plays and reader's theater to encourage the love of reading.
In my school, math would also be fun. Math would be used for real life applications, such as learning about money by being "paid" for class chores and having to "pay" fines for not doing assignments or for treating others badly. They would learn measurement and geometry by building things in the classroom - birdhouses, boxes or other small projects.
In my school, older children would be able to help the younger children and students would be grouped by ability level. If an eight year old and a ten year old were having the same difficulties with a concept, they would be in a group together - perhaps with another student who knew the concept well enough to teach - in a child's words - the concept.
In my school, students would get along with one another and take care of one another. Bullies would be taken care of with natural consequences and with special lessons about how bullying hurts their school family. Students would be allowed to have fun while learning. Songs would be sung and games would be played all in an effort to help students learn in ways that are best for them.
In my school, students would love to come to school and not want to stay home to play video games and watch television. They would be excited about learning and couldn't wait to see what exciting thing we would do the next school day.
In my school, parents would appreciate the teachers and the school itself. They would allow their children to be taught about respect, responsibility and resourcefulness. Parents would help their children with homework and not do it for them.
Inside A One Room School House
One Day It Will Happen
One of these days, my school will be a reality. Hopefully, "my" school will start a movement across the United States and children will be taught so that they may learn, and not just so they can pass a test.
One of these days, this will happen....