Here is a response by Laurie A. Couture to CNN Article – What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents.
My version of it in Plain Manglish. Please note interpretation is mine as a reader.
Many parents are shaking their heads at the audacity and insolence of the CNN article, What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parentsby Disney-and-Oprah-endorsed teacher, Ron Clark. His article is dangerous because it represents how the majority of traditional school teachers view children, parents and teachers’ roles as authorities over children’s lives. In my post, What Teachers Really Need to Hear From Parents, I challenge Ron Clark to consider the dehumanization of children and the undermining of the parent-child bond in the institution he represents.
That article is stupid. It makes students feel like we are only robots. It also makes parents feel like we are second-class citizens who don’t care about our children.
Most parents in industrialized societies are conditioned by their own schooling to be obedient and unquestioning of their children’s schools and the so-called authorities therein. A frightening majority of parents are unaware that most everything that traditional school teachers do is developmentally inappropriate and even harmful for youth of all ages. However, a growing movement of parents are parenting through awareness, consciousness and connection to their children’s needs. Many of these parents are opting out of public and traditional schools are are seeking refuge for their children in child-centered and democratic schools or through homeschooling and unschooling. As a mother of an unschooling teen son, and based on the years of complaints I have heard from parents and their children about traditional schools, I have compiled a list of concerns and presented them to teachers in the context of their own education:
Parents are already brain-washed. So they don’t know that teachers and schools do things that harm their children. They scratch head when their children are depressed, unhappy and jump off building, runaway, have bad habits. Your parents don’t know that what your school teachers do to you is harmful for your intelligence, growth, happiness and future success. That is why they force you to go to school.
However, more and more parents are becoming clever liao. (Like me!) So we take our children out of school and we detox them (unschooling) from the torture and harm that school does. Here’s a list of complaints : (You can scroll down to the end for the Plain English version.)
1. In college and Grad school, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was an elementary principle that you learned. Maslow stated that if basic physical and emotional needs are not met, a child cannot properly attend to higher level functions such as learning. Yet, despite your “education”, you hurt our children’s bodies, emotions, minds and spirits every day in the name of routines, rules and “classroom management”. Here’s how:
You don’t even let me sleep enough, play enough, eat when I want to. You look down on me and make me feel scared of punishment and exams. You don’t care at all I am happy or not. So how to learn? My body want to move also cannot you say must sit still. I want to talk also you ask me to shut-up. You make me so sien and no mood to go to school. How to learn like that? Maslow also support me.
2. As “trained professionals”, you seem to be ignorant about the basic functioning of the human body. You deny our children their right to eat when hungry, causing their blood sugar to drop and putting them at risk for fatigue, nausea and mood instability. You deny our children their right to use the toilet when needed, causing them intense pain and desperation and putting them at risk for urinary and gastrointestinal dysfunction and damage. You deny them hydration, causing them to dehydrate and putting them at risk for headaches, mental fog, lethargy and medical problems. You deny our children physical activity at their will, causing them distress and putting them at risk for hyperactivity, challenging behavior, inability to focus and obesity, weakness and medical problems. You also act oblivious as to how preoccupying and awkward sexual development can be in a school setting for our teen boys and girls, putting them at risk for shame, distress and early sexual activity.
Hungry also you don’t let me eat. Make me feel so headache and stomachache and tired when in school. Want to do my own “business” also must wait for you to tell my body can or cannot. Drink water also you want to control. Feel like running and go outside stretching and relax also you say lazy. What my body needs you make me feel like I am wrong, wrong, wrong. I grow up got sex feeling but you put me in same building day in and day out. Want to mix with others naturally also so hard. Don’t want to mix with some people in school also so hard.
3. You are responsible for referring our children to the mental health system to be labeled as “learning disabled”, “mentally ill” and “special needs”. Our children are prescribed powerful chemicals that alter their natural neurological functioning and do harm to every system of their bodies. You do this rather than deal with the fact that children need touch, movement and play and are not meant to be away from their families all day or learn in the conditions you force upon them. (In 19 states, you actually legally assault our children! It is unconscionable that you have failed to learn from your Master’s-level training that violence physically and psychologically traumatizes children.)
First you make it so hard for us to learn naturally. Then you call us stupid or slow. Then you use your power to make our parents take us to doctor and feed us drugs to “change our thinking” and “behavior”. You do all this rather than to treat us as humans and give us touch, movement and play or understanding and basic needs.
4. Through your studies in college and Grad school you should be aware that play is the very means by which all mammal children learn. You are aware that children learned for millennia through play and community interaction and that many of our world’s greatest minds were minimally or not schooled. You also observe every day how children long and beg to play and will, at all ages, risk getting into trouble to steal a moment of play. Yet, you refuse to allow our children to do as nature drives them to do- Play, move, jump, run, climb, explore, create and have fun. You seem to take the joy out of everything you give children to do and then you punish them when they act like children.
Research shows we must Play to Learn. But you block our natural feeling to Play. Then you make us feel bad about ourselves.
5. You know that one of the most dreadful times of the day for parents and children is homework time. You know that our children have been cooped up all day, away from their families, homes, friends, the outdoors, our communities and their interests. Yet despite the research that indicates that homework is not beneficial for children, you make our evenings at home a nightmare by forcing our children to do reading, paperwork and projects for you. You seem callous to the tears, tantrums and distress our children suffer every night and the helplessness we feel to be able to give them the time they need to be kids.
Already whole day in prison at school. Come home you also want to take away our time to rest, play and be with family. The homework you give is useless. Research many years already proved that homework is completely useless. (During my time I never did homework – not even essay writing. Look how fantastic my English is today!)
6. You are aware from your training that there are at least seven forms of human intelligence and at least three modalities of learning. You are aware that most children, especially our boys, are kinesthetic, hands-on learners. Yet you insist upon keeping children sedentary, all doing the same work, in the same auditory, linguistic or mathematical manner. You are aware that this sets up many children, especially our boys, for failure. You view most of our boys and our children who are artistic, musical, kinesthetic, creative, athletic, introspective, extroverted, quirky or perseverant as underachievers, lazy, learning disabled, mentally ill, behavioral problems or having “ADHD”. You view their passions as “hobbies” that do not count as “academics” and you rule out seeing that their “hobbies” are often more intricately academic than anything you are “teaching”.
Different people have different styles to learn and our passions tell us what our style is. But you simply say what we like is stupid or useless. Then you make us learn things that we know in our hearts is stupid and useless. Why you so like that?
7. You take our children away from us. They will be children for less than two decades out of a long adulthood, but you steal those critical years from us. Our children are touch and love starved all day in school. Your academic training taught you the vital importance of parent-child attachment and how a disruption can cause psychological problems. But you disrupt the parent-child bond by infringing upon our family time, causing emotional disconnection to deepen with each year. You subordinate children, causing them to form and focus on toxic peer networks. You can do little to protect our peer-tormented children because you have set yourselves apart from children, like another species. By the time our children are in their mid-teens, they are so depressed, angry and overwhelmed with busywork, pop-culture escapes and peer expectations that society has to write books to try to convince us that “pulling away” is natural in the teen years when in fact, it is not.
Because of school children spend less time with parents. In school children don’t get what they need as children. In the end the relationship is broken. Children grow up dysfunctional.
8. You talk to us as if you know our children, their needs and what is best for them better than we do. We assure you, you do not! Despite learning about Maslow, Bowlby, Ainsworth, Montagu, Harlow, Gardner and others in college and Grad school and despite your own common sense observations about children, you seem to do everything opposite of what our children need. Then, you gravely misjudge and punish their distress signals and define their humanity by their behavior. You treat our children without respect, empathy, compassion or love unless they behave according to your rules and expectations. You seem oblivious to their pain, vulnerability and distress.
School teachers talk as if they know what is good for the students. They scold you, punish you, etc. BUT LOOK AT THE RESULTS! Students grow up with no confidence, not happy, don’t know what to do in life, feel stupid, feel like nobody love them or care for them or can teach them what to do in life, etc.
9. You cause so many of our most creative, spirited children to hate learning and to lose their passion, creativity, interests, motivation and their charismatic or poetic personalities. Everything you expect takes their attention away from what they were born to do. You replace that with some federal agenda to do homogenized work, pass one-dimensional tests and seamlessly usher children into taking their “place” in the economy, either as perpetual students, workers, laborers or drop outs. Children processed by your system have no time to make up all of the living they missed from preschool through high school graduation. From there on, unless they find themselves, they will have a life of perpetual work and consumption until they die.
Students who are clever also let you make until stupid.
10. Know that a growing movement is showing us that our children do not have to live this way. There are joyful, free ways for our children to learn; ways they can play, thrive and feel happy, safe and good in their own skin… Ways they can manifest lives of passion, creativity and ingenuity in their own ways… We also want you to know that you do not have to be a part of the school system. If you truly love children, you could help us raise awareness to how the education system harms children. You could work in a democratic school or become a caring mentor to children in need. If you agree with us that the system does not allow you to meet our children’s needs, then work to restore childhood back to our children.
There are thousands and thousands of students out there who learn in a happy way and become very happy and successful in life. If school teachers really care then don’t teach in school. Tell the truth that school is harmful for students. You can work in small schools (or work for / with people like me!) or becoming a Teen Coach and Mentor (like me!).