jueves, 3 de diciembre de 2009

Reflection: failure in classes.

I was to have class today. As usual, I went through the classroom where my students are before going to our lecture hall, and get the session ready with the computer and video projector. Time passed and as has happened almost always the kids leave late from the previous class and as has happened many times, my class is the last one of the day, the kids flee from the School and I stay waiting. They haven't done the work they are supposed to do with me, strictly speaking they fail the class, they haven't worked and they know it. I wait an hour and nobody comes. They have left. This is not abnormal, is a daily attitude not only in my class, but I have found this to be the case, this is a constant in many students. The flee. When it is possible they do not go to class, they cancel classes, cancel exams, time advances and they know there will not be space to cover all the contents. Less classes, more likely to pass the class exam or less homework to do. At the Mexican public universities many days classes are cancelled. Unexpected events. Be they strikes, stoppages, protests, athletic or academic events, parties and festivities, long weekends, professors justified or not non-attendance. It is a constant every semester. Kids seem to be used to them. Years ago I was a good teacher. Evidences show it. I worked day and night to prepare the perfect class. Sometimes students clapped. It seemed marvelous. Then I found out this, modernity. Students in the center. It must be they that work and not I. I must guide them. They must demand of themselves. They should not follow authoritarian and controlling rules. I should take into account the sociocultural, and not only the cognitive aspect. I must talk to them to agree on their grade. I should not give tests. Contents should be as flexible as to allow each one to take in what she can, what interests her, with the desired depth. The professor is a facilitator. I try to take them to the Web. Kids refuse to work. They are used to sit down in their chairs and wait that the teacher gives them their knowledge. Students are stuffed by the other colleagues with excessive workloads and kids neglect my courses to fulfill what the others force them to do. They are incapable of protest. The Mexican is a culturally accustomed being to obey without protest, to endure everything, weather the storm. I feel total disillusion. Am I an awful teacher now? Should I turn back to tests and transmission of contents? University students carry behind them a whole educational culture. The Student-Teacher relationship. Instructors keep this relationship. They ignore the Web and activities there. Contents available on the Internet. Instructors, like myself, who try some change go against everything. Against colleagues' habits that reproach our actions. They have their lives made. "There are no conditions to do better" they say. They don't understand that we have to think on the future, not the present nor the past. The students continue to be used to reproduce what the teacher shows. Both fail to develop critical thinking. The cut and paste in homework is an example. There is not a critical thought. A mathematical thought for Mathematics students. Each actor seems comfortable with his activities. Why complicate life? Future will come and others will be the ones to practice a new technological culture. But, the students, are they aware of the future they are making? Anyway; I think on my classes failure. Maybe I should search for alternatives. Work in another school. The School of Educational Sciences maybe should be my next stop, the last try to survive with my ideas, my passion, my work.


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