Unwilling Learners

Ever taught an unwilling learner? They are the ones that question the validity of the subject matter, question the expertise of the teacher, and/or refuse to do the homework because of priorities in their lives. I was a band director. I required practice from my band students. I got calls from parents accusing me of being unreasonable to require 20 minutes of practice EVERY NIGHT for band students.

“How DARE you require daily practice! Kids have sports, homework, and chores to do every night!”

“Oh? They never take their books home with them. I know, I watch them as they leave. They’re in 6th grade, how often and how long are their football practices? Oh? They’re not in football yet? Oh, they ARE in football but it’s club football, not school football, so practices once or twice a week for an hour? So you mean to tell me that on the nights they don’t have practice, they’re doing homework for two hours and chores for three to four hours and going to bed at 9:00? Too bad they won’t get to play Football in High school. How will they EVER squeeze in time for the mandatory two-hour practices for football every night? High School homework is what, two to three hours a night? And they’ll have part-time jobs as well in High School.  So unless they work only on weekends, they get home after football practice at about 6:00 PM, do three to four hours of chores, homework for two to three hours, puts them in bed at 1:00 AM.”

“What? You’re going to keep them out of Football because they won’t practice for your stupid band?”

This is a conversation I had many, many times. They refused to give their kids any sense of responsibility.  Of COURSE, they weren’t doing chores around the house. Of COURSE, they weren’t doing two hours of homework every night. They were watching TV, playing video games, hanging out. It was amazing that the students ever learned enough music to fill out a concert.

There was one 6th grade band that did so badly (because I had 0 support from the parents) that I made them play the concert anyway. They got 1/2 way through their third song and just basically quit because they were all lost. I explained to the parents (and the children that were upset behind me) that with band practice once a week, we only got together for 14 lessons. 14 lessons should give them at least 14 notes they could play, plus the ability to play in two different time signatures, and the ability to follow a director. But for the days between lessons, without practice, the students lost about 20% per day of what they had been taught, lost the endurance and strength in the muscles that allowed them to play more than five minutes on their instruments, did not improve or maintain the eye-hand coordination necessary to process the information on the page and could not improve their listening skills so they could be in tune and play together. That’s why practice between band lessons is important and it’s important that these kids learn this concept and that you, the parents, learn this. Ya, I got fired.

“Why don’t we teach tax preparation and finance in school?” We do.  Do you think that the tax laws remain the same from year to year? Do you think your kids will completely reject your advice about money and ignore the advice from banks and other financial institutions that profit from people’s ignorance when it comes to money management? Or do you think you have all the money issues figured out because of what your Insurance Agent told you was a good investment?

“When will I ever need algebra and geometry? I have my iPhone.” Which bag of flour is the better value? Which car is the best for my money? How long does it take to get to work? Why does my shed keep falling down? Where do I put the jack on my car when I have a flat? Show me on your iPhone how you would input that information to get the answers to those questions.

“Why do I have to learn this Olde English Shakespeare stuff?” Ever watch Game of Thrones? Where do you expand your vocabulary? Can you communicate in phrases that are longer than 140 characters? Can you make a point? Can you win a debate? Can you logically defend a choice?

“What do YOU know about math? (English, Statistics, Computer Science…fill in a subject)” I know more than you. I know where to look to get the information I need to fill in your gaps. Do you?

The culture has changed. Kids don’t HAVE chores. They can’t have fun unless it is regulated by parents. Playdates? Really? Organized sports for 5-year-olds? Video games and educational programs on a tablet for kids under 4? What is WRONG with us?!!! If we want to immerse kids into a love of learning, they have to be surrounded by people that love learning. Because we denigrate learning to something that only happens during the first 12 years in school, and we abhor reading or going to concerts or seminars, what have we taught the children? Learning is a CHORE to be endured. Maybe we should establish mandatory boarding schools!

Welcome to the House of Husker.  There are 4 teams: Crimson, Cream, Black, and Runza. Their respective Beasts are the Crimson Pegasus, the Cream Cow, the Black Spectre, and the Runza Dragon. Each team will be responsible for learning basic life skills such as Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Geography, Physical and Biological Sciences, American and World History, Civics, and Visual and Fine Arts. Each team will be responsible for a farm consisting of garden and farm animals including pigs, goats, chickens, and cattle. Each team will be responsible for the finances and business management of their farms and other related ventures. There will be related businesses such as cottage industries that specialize in industrial technology such as carpentry, metal work, small and large engine repair, information technology, and animal husbandry, etc. Each class in each team will be responsible for cooking for the whole team one weekend of every month. (7th graders–Breakfast, 8th graders–Lunch, 9th graders–supper on Saturdays, 10th graders–Breakfast, 12th graders–Dinner, and 11th graders–Supper on Sundays.) Homework will include a mandatory hour for every class taken and an hour’s practice in the Arts course in which the student has enrolled. The heads of teams will be two faculty members per team, a senior student leader, a vice-leader, a business manager, a project manager, and representatives from all the classes in that team. Each team will wear student robes with the team uniform during class time. Intramural competitions will be encouraged.

Applications accepted on a first come, first served basis.

 

Update: I have had NO applications up to now, 5/10/19. I thought I’d have at least a dozen!

Update: I STILL have no applications as of 7/17/2019. What is WRONG with people!

 

 

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