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The odds are that by now you have seen the viral video below. It was recorded in a high school in Texas. Sophomore, Jeff Bliss, is shown frustrated and passionately explaining to his teacher that she can't spark her student's desire to learn from sitting behind her desk and assigning packets. A fellow classmate recorded it, posted it, and the rest is history.
Watch it here:
If you watch the local news interviews of Jeff, and of his mom, you learn some interesting things:
1. Jeff is 18 years old and in 10th grade, due to his dropping out to go to cyber school on-line, until his return this year to Duncan High School.
2. He was a pretty quiet kid, until this outburst.
3. His mom was a teacher for 40 years....which may explain his insight and knowledge on how teachers need to touch their student's hearts and get kids excited about learning.
4. There was an earlier part of their exchange that wasn't recorded, but apparently the teacher told him to stop, "B----ing." His use of that term was in response to her use of it.
I couldn't help but note how the other students seemed unaffected by the outburst. They seemed nonchalant, blasé, even bored. Are they used to this type of thing?
Some people look at this scene and are put off by the teacher's lack of respect and engagement towards Jeff's passionate (or disrespectful, depending on your point of view) monologue.
Others see this as an example of the shift happening in schools due to high stakes standardized testing, and the external pressure to get students prepped for tests that claim to show if our kids are "college or career ready." Packets, practice tests, and disengagement, oh my.
Jeff may be onto something here. Excited & engaged teachers create (or at least don't extinguish) the passion of their students.
Let's say that both perspectives are right. Some teachers need to be more passionate, engaging, and creative. While other teachers may be feeling like test prep robots, and are disengaging due to the lack of autonomy and the forced focus on seeing their very human students as "data."
So now (in Pennsylvania) it's time to substitute "Keystone" for No Child Left Behind...
So thank you, Jeff Bliss, on behalf of all parents and teachers.
Thanks for reminding us that, as Albert Einstein said,
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."