ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Making the Case for Teaching as a Spiritual Journey - Part II: Project Isa

Updated on March 9, 2011

     The most difficult choices you will face as a parent are your children’s educational ones. While volunteering at the school science fair setup, I met two moms who shared the sentiment. Two of us were new families to the school and the other a veteran. The veteran mom said, “We’re going through that same thing with our oldest son who is in middle school this year—and I just have to keep saying to myself, ‘When I look back, did it really make a difference?’ I mean, we all survived right? Did the school really impact who we are today?”

            There are many things I don’t remember about grade school. I don’t remember my fourth grade teacher’s name. I don’t remember the names of the bones in the body, though I do recall coloring a life-size skeleton. I don’t remember what it was about Jason Conger that made me crush so hard. And, I don’t remember the names of the boys who sexually harassed me on the school bus.

            I do, however, remember the way Mrs. Gretzmacher let us hula-hoop on the tables when we met our reading goals. And I do vividly recall the science teacher’s rage when I brought to his attention that he wasn’t being fair in his distribution of homework detentions. I also remember the way the Home Economic teacher laughed along with the kids who mockingly formed a circle around me, imitating sounds meant to represent American Indian chants.  

            I’m an educator. I have to believe it matters. If it doesn’t matter what experience your child receives in school, then my life purpose doesn’t matter. Schooling matters. Positive and negative, it all influences. I know what she meant though, and in a way, she is right to some extent. The positives of having a teacher like Mrs. G alongside the negatives of being picked on both influenced me, yet I am who I am today as a result of having lived both. We cannot shield our children from every potential hardship—and in fact, can do detrimental damage to them if we deny them the opportunities to face challenge. And yet, the challenges ought to be manageable. The challenges ought not break their spirit.

            I want my child to wake up every day and say, “I can’t wait to see what we’re doing today.” Is that really too much to ask? When I pick Isa up from school in the afternoon and ask her about her day, the only positives she can recall include recess interactions with other children and the earning of trinkets that affirm she is being a good kid.

            I know that she is learning. Her reading and math skills have sky-rocketed. The school is doing its job in traditional terms of “educating” her. And, with the use of a scaffolding reward system, she is meeting expectations of forming good character. So why isn’t she happy? Why aren’t we happy?

            Because she is not excited anymore. When I wake her up in the morning, she does not anticipate the day’s journey. As a room parent, I have the rare opportunity to observe her in her learning environment—and she is not there. She is doing all the right things. Filling out all the necessary worksheets. Gluing all the necessary pre-cut pieces together . . . but the essence of who she is as a naturally curious child is dimming.

            As both a parent and an educator, how can I possibly sit by and do nothing? I can’t. And so, this week has been spent in the tossing and turning reactions to a challenge we are not entirely knew to. Having survived these hurdles with an older child, we are having to once again face the challenge of determining the best educational choice for our child. What is the best way? Right now, with my own goals still in pursuit and not bringing home a consistent paycheck as an adjunct community college instructor, we can not contemplate a return to the private school environment. There are charter schools in the area, but it may result in getting her in and then falling into the same dilemma. We don’t want to bounce her around from one place to another. There needs to be a sense of consistency.

            As parents who believe in the importance of institutional education we never thought we would contemplate home-schooling, but that’s the alternative we are most seriously considering. My husband and I both believe children need interaction with other children, they need the social challenge of collaboration in a game of make believe (“You can be the monster and I’ll be the princess.” “I don’t want to be the monster . . . how about we both be princesses, and . . .”), they need the structure of classroom expectations, but they also need excitement.

            Project Isa. That’s what it will be. Can we provide her with enough opportunities to help her continue to face challenges while also preserving her spirit?

            I’ll let you know.  

Brief Bio: 

Jenn Gutiérrez holds an M.F.A in English and Writing. Previous work has appeared in journals such as The Texas Review, The Writer’s Journal, The Acentos Review, Antique Children, and Verdad Magazine. Her 2005 debut collection of poems titled Weightless is available through most online book outlets.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jenn_Gutierrez profile imageAUTHOR

      jenn_Gutierrez 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO

      Yes, for next year, I think.

    • livingsimply profile image

      livingsimply 

      7 years ago from Isle of Arran, Scotland

      did you decide to homeschool in the end?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)