Exxon Gas Station
Monday, March 22, 2004
Teachers Get A Raw Deal
Mr. Electric is a retired electrician with mostly gray hair and brown eyes. He is a willing participant and he has heard about our study on the television. He starts the interview for me by saying, “I use math everyday, especially when I am working.” Mr. Electric says, “If I didn’t understand math, in my line of work as an electrician, I could have easily made one wrong move and I would have been dead from the shock.”
Mr. Electric believes that receiving a better math education would have given him greater skills, which would lead him to either advancement in his career or could have allowed him to own his own business. Yet, now, in the next breath, he tells me that he doesn’t feel that advanced math should be required, but it should be offered. “If the individual knows what they want to do with their life then let them take the math. Otherwise they shouldn’t have to worry about it. In other words if they can’t do it there is no need to fail them.” I smile because now he is starting to speak more openly.
The next thing I know he is on his math soap box. He tells me, “The teachers are getting a raw deal. The teachers are to blame for the lack of math education or the failure of math programs in our schools, but it is the parents, community, and dumb state laws that are causing the problems. The main reason the students fail is because they have no respect for teachers or anyone else anymore. No respect in the classroom leads to no discipline and that can mean no education. It’s that simple,” he concludes.
He says that, “No one makes their children behave any more. They need to start when they are young so they will behave when they are older. Then they pass dumb laws saying the teacher can’t paddle kids and that if the parent or the teacher does whip’em, they can go to jail. Put the paddles back into the hands of not only the parents but the teachers as well, and then you’ll see a change for the better.”
Listening to Mr. Electric, the solutions sound simple. Yet, most all of us know that no resolution to complex problems comes that simple. If the child is not disciplined at school or home then how will they have the discipline to study and learn the essentials of life? How does math and discipline relate? As Dr. Lucas tells us, sometimes in folknographic studies, we come out with more questions than answers. I know one truth for sure: without some type of intervention and care for the young people here, the future of Padua’s youth appears to be bleak.