There are days that I’m happy that, despite the majority of my school’s curriculum switching to engineering fundamentals, that I’m a shop teacher. There are other days that I’m really happy that I get to teach my “Manufacturing Technology” a.k.a. wood shop classes.
You see, what I see happening to the world of education is a tragic spiral of suppression. We are being made to teach every student the same content, to expect the same measure of success, to prepare each and every child that comes through our doors that not only are they being pressured to go to college, but we imply that to not go to a four year university is a travesty, an abomination, and anathema. We are asked to teach success over failure, results over technique, and end above means.
And I am thankful to God that I get to be a part of the opposite. My students come to my room to learn how to do. I help them gain skill and knowledge that they can use, not just in my classroom, but for the rest of their lives. I don’t want them to be successful. I want them to fail. I want my students to learn to deal with the harshness of defeat, and then to overcome it and attain success. Too often I see our kids being pushed to perfect results, and taught that anything else is worthless.
I wish I could make those responsible for the trend of change overcoming adversity makes you stronger than avoiding it. I wish we could teach that success is something that comes only when all the failures have been overcome, and that without failing you can’t improve. I wish that I could teach that mistakes are wonderful when used, and terrible when ignored.
I wish I could change the expectation that everyone should go into higher learning.
And that’s why I’m doing what I do, and why I plan to stay right where I am. I want to show my kids something they won’t learn in college. I want to show them that they can fail, and be better for it.