Re: How We Come Off to Others (was RE: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom)

From: Karen Locke (villagespecialed@charter.net)
Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 17:05:28 EST


>>Dawn,

Your words were very interesting to me. I tend to think of "judgemental"
as a bad thing, but as you point out, people who don't clearly say what
they mean may give the impression (correctly or incorrectly) that they
agree with something bad that's happening. I tend to like the SVS mail
list precisely because there are arguments like this. Living in Minnesota,
I get "Minnesota nice" stuff around me. And it's not just flexibility;
often it's people behaving in passive-aggressive ways and couching it in
"nice" terms. I think each person in these discussions has his/her own
viewpoint, and it's interesting to hear what things seem like to them. I'm
glad they're not always sensored or trying to make an impressions to
outsiders. That helps those of us trying to do something real in our schools.

I too have had arguments where people got very defensive, saying they HAD
to teach as they did because .....it was better than other choices the
children had, it was all they could do without getting fired, etc. I know
it's difficult to hold up to these principles. But I'm also sure that for
me it's inwardly destructive to think one thing and do another.

When I try to demand that kids study something they don't want to learn, or
coerce them into "wanting" something that I think is good for them, I get a
bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I finally had to quit teaching in
learning disabilities because it was literally making me sick. Then I
tried private tutoring for awhile, but most of the jobs were for parents
wanting their kids to get better grades (not exactly an inspiring job). So
I gave up on that too-or rather, jobs dried up when I said I don't teach
anyone anything they don't want to learn.

I actually sold consignment clothes for awhile rather than work in the
school system. Now I'm teaching at Village School of Northfield, which is
getting more democratic (and Sudbury-like) all the time.

I'm not saying that everyone should quit or make my own pledge. But I
think if we share our stories we'll help encourage people who think that
EVERYONE gives in. Not quite everyone. Not yet, anyway!

Karen Locke

>>If one looks at the world as I do, there is no shame in being passionate,
>>uncompromising, critical or judgmental in defense of my core beliefs. If
>>traditional teachers and ex-teachers want any support for their complicity
>>in this repressive system. I think they should look for a different
>>discussion group. Because while there may be some diplomats among us, this
>>discussion group has some people who will not compromise our values to make
>>them feel comfortable with what they have done to children. I'm less
>>concerned with making them feel ok than I am making a clear statement to all
>>the students, parents, and others who may be bystanders/lurkers and trying
>>to figure out why they feel so out of step with the rest of the world.
>>Ironically enough, my controversial style hasn't hurt me none, as far as I
>>can see. I have found that the best people like me for my convictions and
>>my willingness to express them. In my opinion this separates the proverbial
>>wheat from the chaff.
>>
>>Dawn Harkness
>>
>>
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "william van horn" <wmvh1@excite.com>
>>To: <discuss-sudbury-model@sudval.org>
>>Sent: Monday, November 05, 2001 11:33 PM
>>Subject: RE: How We Come Off to Others (was RE: re[2]: DSM: democratic
>>classroom)
>>
>>
>> > As an "outsider" who asks questions, all I can say is that I see an
>> > attitude of extreme belief in the Sudbury model and a sometimes snooty air
>> > in defending it.
>> >
>> > You may be right, but I am still exploring and formulating my ideas on how
>> > education should be offered. I certainly do not think that the public
>> > schools are doing a good job and I am skeptical that they could ever
>>change
>> > enough. I think there may be too much inertia built into the system. And
>> > though I see Sudbury as a fantastic answer, I am not totally convinced.
>>But
>> > I am part of this discussion to learn more, so excuse my naive questions.
>> >
>> > I'm curious, how do you respond to a student when he or she asks what
>> > appears to you a stupid question?
>> >
>> >
>> > William
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________________
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