The more things change …

I am teaching To Kill a Mockingbird in my Pre-AP English II classes. In the second chapter, Scout goes to school for the first time. Her teacher — an earnest, attractive young woman who might be all of 21 years old — scolds her because she already knows how to read and write. Scout’s literacy is problematic for the teacher because it did not come about as a result of the one-size-fits-all method that the teacher’s college professors told her to use.

The novel is set in 1935.

You can imagine how hard I laughed when I read that scene and suddenly realized that Harper Lee’s description of a young teacher in 1935 was virtually identical to my experiences with 21st-century educational consultants.


One thought on “The more things change …”

  1. We had some challenges when we sent you to school for the first time back in 1980. You were tested and they found that you could read at a level comparable to a senior in the last month of high school. I cannot tell you how tiresome it became to hear teachers tell us how much they had dreaded having you in their classes, but how they had managed to cope with the situation. Damn. ALL kids should be reading by the time they start kindergarten. Glenn Doman should have been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. We are wasting with wanton profligacy valuable time by waiting until a child is five or six years old to start their education. Parents have been sold a load of guilt and doubt about their own abilities. If a child is allowed to develop their reading and math skills early, they become confident and eager to learn more. Those early successes set the stage for a lifetime of curiosity and sheer joy in the adventure of learning something they didn’t know before. They won’t look at study as something they “have” to do, but rather look forward to it as a fun activity that they “get” to do. It’s only work if you’d rather be doing something else.

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