About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Politically Correct Teaching

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it! I used to get so tired of listening to kids whine about how long someone else got to play on the swings. If you want to swing, tell the other kid to get off!


Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself. When kids would ask me, "Is this good enough?" I would always say "NO!" If you have to ask, then it's not. If their feelings are hurt, sobeit; they haven't worked hard enough for any praise.


Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both. (see #6)


Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. This made me laugh. I was always saying things like, "If you think I'm tough, wait until you get a job!"


Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity. My kids' first job was shoveling sh*t cleaning up the backyard from what the dog deposited. We'd all laugh about how they could tell their own kids that they actually did shovel sh*t in their lives. We'd tell them everyone has to start at the bottom. (And yes, they got paid well for the chore.)


Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them. This is a good one. One time we were studying Sound and the task I gave the kids was to make a musical instrument out of nothing. I showed them examples of attaching rubber bands to empty tissue boxes to make a guitar, putting dry rice in a tupperware bowl to make a percussion, banging pencils on coffee tins for drums, etc. One boy had his Dad make him a guitar with his table saw and fancy woodworking tools. The problem was that the guitar made no sound, so the kid ultimately got a bad mark on the assignment. All the other kids thought his "guitar" was so cool, but not I. He did not make it. The buck stopped at him, in my opinion.


Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room. I don't think I've had a problem here.


Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life. Here's another buggaboo to me. Our school used to have this argument all the time. There shouldn't be any awards at the end of the year. We need to change our A,B,C+,C,C-,D,F manner of grading, etc. And no one "fails" a year, they just continue on with extra help. I'd be tearing my hair out (in my head) and would suggest that "life isn't really like that and what would we be teaching the kids if we did this," etc. etc. But.....


Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time. It's funny how kids think they get the whole summer off. Mine were out working even before it was legal for them to do so. There's all sorts of things kids can do. My younger daughter made up flyers, delivered them in our subdivision, and started up her own "Summer Vacation Pet Sitting" business. She ended up getting so many clients who had her even come to water the lawn and the inside plants along with caring for dogs and cats and birds.


Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. See above.


Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one. So true. When I went to my 30th high school reunion, it wasn't the so-called "popular" kids who'd made it. It was the average guy/girl who had had to work hard in school and learned how to succeed. Nothing had come easy for them but they had made it in life!

16 comments:

Josie said...

Omigosh. Yes! Yes! Yes! Blandness is being programmed into kids now. They aren't learning to fend for themselves. Everything is organized by their parents, who all seem to micromanage them. How will they ever learn to think? How will they ever learn to be competitive or to do their best? Remember that presentation Phinnaeus had to give? He wanted to type if and make it look its best, but his teacher insisted everyone write it, so that no one's presentation was better than anyone else's. Huh? That's not fair to the children who want to really do their best!

Yay Bill Gates for "telling it like it is!"

Josie said...

I meant "type it". But you knew that. :-) typo typo typo...

leslie said...

I always gave the option - write it neatly, double spaced, or type it. I didn't even care if the parents did the actual typing. I would tell them that if I couldn't read it, I couldn't mark it. Full stop! *hmph* ;D

the teach said...

e, great post! Bill Gates and your comments underneath are awesome! :D

Cedar said...

There should still be nap time.

leslie said...

Yeah, for the teachers! ;D

Ellee Seymour said...

You are right about life not being fair. I try to tell my sons that to prepare them for future disappointments. I used to think everyone else had the luck, but now my luck has turned and things are picking up for me in an amazing way.
I do prefer being an optimist, btw.

geewits said...

He is one smart dude, but I think we already knew that. Kids today think they will go right out and continue to live in the manner they were accustomed to as children and it's a totally unrealistic expectation. Unless we are heirs or heiresses everyone has to start at the bottom and work their way up. And here is something I think is very important: I believe a budget and finance class should be mandatory for all high school students. It's such an important part of life, but is not taught in schools. I think that's ridiculous.

Book Owl said...

Sad as it truly is, my sons learned from a young age that life is not fair and the only things guaranteed are disappointment and waiting. They were also shown how to accept their own failings, that they are Human Beings, not Human Beings. Success is not loads of money. I am with Bill on most of this except the self esteem one - for me, that comes from loving yourself as God loves you. That becomes the wellspring of all that we achieve.

Heather said...

Hi Leslie... love your comments! You make me laugh. I always hated those year discussions about awards ect. too!

leslie said...

Gee Heather, it's too bad we didn't both fight harder for the awards. I always felt that school was for reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic plus some other stuff. Why give awards to kids who "improve the most" in Music and not have kids honoured who had worked hard all year to get good grades? hmph! And the way they made such a big deal out of Best Male/Female Athlete almost made me gag - because it was pumped up and seemed to have so much more emphasis than grades. Sorry! But I'm hot and tired and grumpy right now. We've gone from dead of winter to a record breaking heat wave! lol

meggie said...

What a good post this is.
It has become 'fashionable' to dislike Bill Gates, but I admire him. What is more, he is so SANE, in a world gone mad.

Smalltown RN said...

Leslie...I sure am seeing a different side of you..and I really like it...I was reading your comments over at Josie's and your said it like it is girl..and now here you are making some pretty bold statements..but I like it...

I never understood why they did away with grade scoring...I know I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed...but it game me something to strive for as it did my girls..until they did away with them in elementary...they do grade scoring in high school and my youngest is very driven and she works and improving her grades all the time....it's good to have goals..even if it is improving your grades....

I feel the same way about competition....why did they do away with individual recognition on sports day....everyone can't be first..doesn't mean they didnt' try...life as you say isn't fare...some people are better at things than others...the person who excels on the field maybe mediocore in the class...and the acedemic maybe weak in the field...but that is what life is about...I think we do our children a dis-service by taking away competition...it's all around us whether we like it or not...I say go for the stars and be rewarded for yor efforts...

Great post Leslie...I too loved how you highlighted your comments after Gates....

Belizegial said...

Hi Leslie,

I like your style. It's better to be realistic.

Watching Evan Almighty and making a mini rounds of the blogs.

Saludos,
Enid

Russell said...

I love this!! There is another fellow - can't recall his name - who wrote a long article (probably a book too) and used to give speeches just like this. He was really blunt and in your face, as the kids say.

Regardless of whether it is Bill Gates or someone else, it is wonderful for the kids to hear this.

I often feel that I should have a pulpit instead of a podium when I am teaching my classes!! I do a lot of sermonizing about life. I am sure a lot of kids tune it out, but maybe a few actually listen and think about it...

I really enjoyed this post!! Take care.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

A fine bit of commonsense. I like his last piece of advice especially.