Sunday, March 3, 2013

Talk to me

Dear Adult,
I really would like to talk to you, interact with you and be with you. But first, put your device down and turn it off. Then make me put mine away. I'll balk and argue that you don't understand and are being so unfair. But within about 5 minutes of turning it off, I'll be ready to talk about the things that are important or to laugh with you or to play a game.
But first, put your device down. Please.
Your kid (or student)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Testing Shows If I Can Take A Test

Dear "Education System",

Do you really think that all of the standardized tests give you any valid information about who I am, what I have learned, what my teachers have taught and how successful I'm gonna be? I don't think that you do. And I think that you are stuck in a rut and you can't get out of it.

I'll tell you what the testing does indicate.
1) It tells you whether I've got my game that day or not. If I do, then I score better than if I don't. Whether I've got my game on or not can be because of so many different reasons. For instance, if I got a good night's sleep. Or if I had a peaceful night and morning at home. If I got to eat breakfast. If all is right in my world or not.
2) It tells you if I can perform well under pressure. But if I haven't yet learned how to and I still get anxious and overwhelmed then your test doesn't show you any of what I am capable of.
3) It tells you whether I've learned what you think I should have learned. But what about all of the other great facts and skills I learned that you didn't ask?
4) It tells you a lot about what race I am, how rich or poor I am and whether I can speak English or not. The questions you ask, I might not be able to answer because I don't know what you are referring to. That doesn't mean I'm not smart, intelligent and capable. It just means I don't know what you are referring to.
5) It tells you whether the classroom I was in was ideal for testing. If a worker was fixing the heating system outside my classroom, then I was probably distracted. If the classroom next door got noisy because their teacher let them have fun when they all finished early, then I was probably distracted. If the sick kid next to me vomited up his breakfast then I was probably distracted.

So, I'd like to beg you to reconsider all of this testing. I'd rather have those two weeks to actually learn new stuff with my teachers.

Thank for listening,
An Average American Student

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Be my parent, not my friend

Dear Mom and Dad,
Even though I balk at your rules please don't take them away. I need the structure that you provide. Please don't let me just do whatever I want whenever I want. I'm not old enough yet to know what's best for me even though I think I do. Deep down, I know that I still need your care and support. So please, step up to the plate and be my parent. Don't try to be my friend. And I'm not going to like you all of the time, so please deal with that. Don't give in to my ridiculous requests just so that I'll like you. You see, it won't make me like you more. It will make me respect you less. And while, in the moment I'll be psyched that I get to stay out past midnight or do whatever I want after school or watch as much TV as I want, deep down I'll wonder why you don't care more to put some rules in place. I'll wonder if you really love me because if you did, you'd show it with the structure that provides the safety net that I need.
I don't need another friend. I need a parent.
With Love,
Your Child