We barely teach geography anymore. Even teachers who want to teach geography may be unable to find the time, given the burgeoning math and English curricula that must be finished each year. Another common loss, sacrificed to the focus on standardized test scores, has been telling time. Specifically, I keep getting middle-school students who cannot read analog clocks. Other teachers report the same.
Parents, teachers and grandparents: We are dropping important topics in education today, but I don’t see that problem being solved or even addressed in the near future. May I suggest taking time this summer to work on telling time? Specifically, kids need to understand analog clocks. They need to know how the big hand and the little hand work. Once America’s children would have learned this skill in school, but now the clocks are not expected to be on the test so students quite possibly will never work with those “old-fashioned” clocks. Even math problems that add and subtract time likely will use digital clocks, leaving the more traditional clocks of the past — still quite prevalent in society — untouched.
Eduhonesty: As we gut our curricula, at least in terms of breadth, parents and family will need to do more home schooling. Our kids should know the states around them. They should be able to find Africa and South America. They should recognize the import of a big hand between the three and the four along with a little hand on the six. I’d like to ask parents and family to help with these missions.
Please check your boy or girl’s background knowledge. Ask questions. And if you find too many questions without answers, complain to your local school board and principal. I have taught multiple students who entered my classes thinking they lived in the country of Waukegan, students who could not tell South America from North America or a continent from a country.
We owe our students much better but, in the meantime, if the school’s are failing as they scramble for higher test scores, we parents must pick up the slack.
Clocks should not be a mystery.