Friday, 20 January 2012

Against the grain

Colin had a project assignment this week that brought an interesting parenting/teaching moment for us. He had to prepare a poster of photos that illustrated several different aspects of his family. Under the heading "my family" he taped up our latest family portrait, but because of the new baby coming soon, I also got him a copy of our last ultrasound to include. He was really excited to have something so unique to talk about.

Two days before his presentation, Colin came home from school dejected. When I pried him for information, he told me that his teacher said that the kids could not include any babies who were still in their mommy's stomach as part of their family. Colin felt pressured to take the ultrasound off, and sad that he couldn't talk about the baby.

I immediately countermanded the teacher's instruction. Obviously this baby is a huge part of our family already, especially given how it has affected the boys' day to day living. There is no way I was going to let the teacher tell Colin that just because the baby was not born yet, it wasn't a part of our family.

I firstly told Colin that he did not have to take the photo off, and that indeed the baby is part of our family. But the more important school-related lesson here is that you don't have to tailor your work to be exactly the same as everyone else's, and to exactly what the teacher wants. As long as the specifications of the assignment are met and the work is done, then being creative and unique is what education is all about.

It was an interesting moment for me, since I spent my whole school career giving teachers exactly what they wanted just so I could be rewarded with an A grade. I have since come to realize how limiting this can be in one's education. Thinking outside the box is the biggest thing that will lead to success in the "real world" and I don't want my children to fall into the typical school trap of simple regurgitation. I want them to know that good teachers will encourage discovery, and only bad teachers will punish them for it. And they will come across those kinds of bad teachers, but in most cases I'd rather they stay true to themselves and their ideas than only strive for certain letter grades. Because there are no As in the real world.


Wendy said...

I am so curious why she would say that. I hope you will follow-up with this little story!

Terri-Ann said...

We didn't hear anything back from the teacher afterwards. From what I gather from Colin, he actually forgot to mention the photo in his presentation, but a student asked about it during question period, and Colin spoke about it then.

Erin said...

Funny...that was the only thing Amelia mentioned about his presentation!! That's weird she said he couldn't include it. Talk about squashing free thinking.