Heena, Kindergarten Teacher, GA
Imagine your daughter is now in her 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
Honestly, I'll be happy as long as she's happy. I want her to be educated- I prefer that she goes to some sort of graduate school- but honesty as long as she’s doing something that she enjoys, it's not about how much money she's making. Hopefully she's doing something in service where she's helping others because that's something that our families- my parents and my husband's parents- are all about. So I guess, at the age of 30, I want her to have some sort of graduate degree, and I want her to be doing something she enjoys. For her, it's not about the money, but really just about helping others and feeling good about herself.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
Schooling should provide a community in which she feels comfortable trying new things- figuring out what she likes, and what she doesn't like. It should also be a community of collaboration with peers her age where she learns about differences. Not all of us are the same and that's ok. School should open her eyes to other cultures, how other people live, and different socio-economic statuses. But really school should serve as where she figures out what she wants to do in life, what she enjoys, and what motivates her.
How do you think the role of schooling has changed over the years?
We have definitely pushed down the rigor of academics to a much younger age. For example, I'm teaching Kindergarten this year and we are teaching fractions. Multiplication has been pushed down to 2nd grade. Kids learn geometry in 3rd grade. Trying to keep up with other countries and nations has made us push academics and rigor down to a much younger age. We expect so much more out of our kids, which is sometimes hard because they aren’t developmentally ready.