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Activist-Educator Says Teachers 'Teach Students, Not Subjects'

teacher working with students one on one

In an emotionally-driven piece in the Huffington Post recently, M. Shannon Hernandez writes about hypothetical students who are getting lost in the shuffle in the standards driven, test-focused educational climate. Short-shrifted "Leigh," "Vihann," "Andrew," and "Abigale" are sadly like many students in classrooms across the country.

Hernandez shares that while many children have exceptional artistic, engineering or literary skills there's little chance for these children to do what they're good at "due to testing demands." Schools are also rightfully mandated to teach children who deal with mental health concerns and are hungry yet these students need to "have their basic needs met, before they can even begin to focus on curriculum and content. The terrible news is that guidance counselors are being shared between schools and positions cut completely, and it's unlikely these students will get the support they need," she wrote.

Teachers end up filling the social services and mental services gaps for students when they don't have enough support in school at at home.

Thus, a personal mantra I have lived by for 17 years goes like this: "I teach students, not subjects." This seemingly-obvious approach to education focuses on preparing our children to succeed in life, rather than teaching to a jam-packed curriculum with room only for academic knowledge. Yes, academics are essential, but critical thinking skills, social skills, life skills, and a healthy emotional well-being help bridge the gap between book knowledge and applied knowledge.

 

Corrie Kerr, EducationWorld Editor

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