To the Editor:
I was at first intrigued by the title of the Commentary “Corridor Wit—Talking Back to Our Teachers” (Sept. 28, 2011). After reading the essay, I realized, excluding very sporadic valid points, it was nothing more than a juvenile attempt to create snappy rebuttals.
Let me begin by saying that I do disagree with a teacher’s use of sarcasm to create a point. Otherwise, this seemed to be an article created for the equivalent of a high school publication. A teacher asking for all eyes to be on him or her is not irrational. While it is true that some people can listen without tracking the speaker, the chances are greatly increased that students will take in information if they are looking at the speaker. “Eyes on your own paper!” Yes, there are times for collaborative learning; also, there are times for students to independently show what they know, or have learned. In some well-functioning real-world environments, professionals have to work individually. “I didn’t give you that grade; you earned it!”I agree that learning should be something worth doing for its own sake. However, there are times when you will and should be assessed on this learning, or lack thereof. And yes, you do have to jump through hurdles for a specific grade. If you do a mediocre job, and jump through few hurdles, you will earn a grade that reflects this. If you choose to work harder and do a more thorough job, then your grade will surely correlate with your efforts.
As I said, this Commentary did have a few valid points. However, there is only so far that you can take some questioning. I believe that any teacher who arrives at school daily with the best intentions for the students would take issue with this essay. This piece was a very childish perception of education and its importance to the future. Excuses can be made all day, but we must keep a realistic view of what it takes to function in the real world.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2011 edition of Education Week as ‘Corridor Wit’ Presents ‘Childish’ Viewpoint