"What's this, Miss?" someone asked.
I explained that it was a note for Education Week, and that we'd be having a special "Education Day" during the week to celebrate public education.
"Education Day?" someone asked, with crunchy eyebrows. "Isn't that EVERY day?".
I couldn't fault their logic. Education day IS every day. Even when they're not at school.
But anyway, I moved beyond the philosophy and semantics, and headed back towards pragmatism. I still ended up at why DO we have Education Week?
I know this makes me sound like the Grinch. I know that it makes me sound like I'm not part of #teameducation. But I also think it's a valid question.
Now, I'm not against the idea of celebrating public education. I think it's a great idea. Seeing the awesome things our public schools manage to do (on shoestring budgets) is a worthwhile cause, and I love seeing the tweets and hearing the stories.
But I do question the timing and authenticity.
For starters, it's plonked inconveniently in Week 3. Generally, you're just beginning to get into the meaty bit of teaching and learning, but you've not yet reached a point where you're ready to showcase anything. So you have this random event that interrupts a session/day/week just so people in suits can have a moment of warm fuzziness. You often engage in some random activity that isn't linked to anything you're teaching, which further reduces the small amount of time that you actually have to teach what you're supposed to be teaching.
Why not move it towards the end of a term, when you've got a bunch of stuff that's hot off the learning press that kids can proudly showcase to parents and the community?
Better still, why not have it towards the end of the year (but before the crazy sets in)? It's generally a reflective time, and communal "look back" at the achievements of schools over the year would be a great way to celebrate public education.
Next, is the issue of authenticity. We have neat little assemblies and model lessons and we invite parents in to spectate. Does this have to be so artificial? Shouldn't we be designing teaching and learning experiences that consider how parents can be involved, all the time? Shouldn't we be sharing the learning online so parents have a window into the classroom? Why does there have to be one neatly boxed week, or a neatly boxed day, with a neatly boxed plan?
Anyway, I never used to be such a grizzler about these things, and I wonder if it's simply the case that there's so much to teach these days, and not enough time to do it all, so all the 'random' stuff is really starting to get my goat. Or, maybe I'm just getting old. :P