One of my friends recently asked me, since I criticize my education classes so much, how I address my issues with the assignments to my teachers. It isn’t so simple. Part of the education program is being able to mimic the instructor’s ideals of teaching and teachers — we are required to emulate professional teacherhood with a healthy dose of our own personalities.
This hasn’t been much of a problem for me. I speak easily in front of crowds and have no problem respectfully challenging authority once I know the boundaries in a group dynamic. But by the end of the semester I usually have one opportunity to make fun of what it is we’re expected to learn.
One of my problems with the program is all the emphasis on reflection. We’re constantly required to reflect on this part or that section of our educational experiences. While this is certainly relevant and brings a significant amount of discussion material, our instructors often ignored that we wanted to know more about specific subject material, interschool politics, classroom management, grammar, and how to write a freaking lesson plan, and instead required another reflection piece.
So, to offer my friend a bit of pictorial evidence for how I challenge the material in front of the group, here is an example of the dog poopin’ project (and its lackluster presentation) and a picture I just found of another project I was required to complete.
This is the peacock mirror that I made in response to yet another reflection piece. I did my project on what? — reflection assignments and vanity and how students are perfectly aware of what their expected response is supposed to be on reflection assignments: bullshit to impress the teacher. Many students in the secondary school are there because they have to be, jumping through hoops and doing just enough to get by, pass the class, and get out of there at the end of the day. Reflection pieces for these kids are five-paragraph essays loaded with faux growth and faux reflection on faux sentiments written for an audience of one, the teacher.
I chose the topic of vanity for one reason: the end of this project was a big exhibit of all the ed majors’ artwork and accompanying essays. It wasn’t so much for us but to impress a certain person who was about to become the head of the ed department after the seat sat empty for quite a while. We all knew it. And I, I was the one miffed enough with the assignment to turn in this horrendous mirror with a sarcastic essay about self-esteem that included trite truisms like, “I’ve realized, like the peacocks, that it is okay to be great when no one else is watching.”
For the record, I got an A on both the mirror and essay. I also sold this hideous mirror at a garage sale to a rich woman for $40.