Wednesday, November 17, 2010

School Choice (Resources!) and Texting in Class/Intimidation

School Choice (Resources!)

There's a concept in Social Work that is all about resources: teaching people
about them and granting access to them. This is the role of Social Work that
involves networking clients with and referring clients to additional resources
and opportunities.
So, that's what I've been taught in my two Social Work classes thus far.

Today, we began discussing School Social Work. Prof. Good opened the topic by
asking what problems school social workers must handle. Bullying, family issues,
truancy, etc. Truancy. Prof. Good cited a case where a father would keep his son
from going to school because he needed him to function as a translator (they had
immigrated from an African country). The father did not understand the compulsory
school attendance of Virginia and simply cared about being able to communicate
with others through his son. The case ended up being taken to court where the judge
ruled that the father had to make sure his son complied with the compulsory school
attendance law of Virginia.

Alright, so, obeying the law and everything is all well and good, but in this
case, I do not believe that the school counselor, school social worker, school
administration workers, or court officials did their job to the fullest extents.


As far as I know, according to how Prof. Good relayed this story, no one ever
told the father that he had other options. Education, regardless of compulsory
attendance laws, is not a matter of go to school or die (rather, go to jail).
There are other options. Homeschooling, cyberschooling, out-of-school-schooling,
etc, etc.

Certainly, I am severely biased in favor of homeschooling, but I recognize that
no method of education is completely foolproof, ever. The effectiveness of an
education is determined by many, many different factors, although I feel that the
most important of these is that of parental involvement. But that is also a stance
to be debated.

Anyway... this is a pretty severe disconnect between the referral role of social
work and the strict adherence to compulsory attendance laws. There are other options
and other opportunities and other means and methods! Why did the school social
worker not suggest any of these? Sure, it may have taken more work in the long run
to make sure a "proper" education was occurring, but other referrals should have
been made, in order for the school social worker to have integrity within the roles
of social work.

So even though I am severely biased in favor of homeschooling, what I am MOST in
favor of is the freedom to choose any method of education. Maybe public school will
work the best for your family, maybe private, maybe Catholic or Christian, maybe
prep, maybe distance, maybe cyber... regardless, the most important thing is that
you are aware of all these various options, have access to a great deal of info
about them so that you can be well informed, and have the freedom to choose the
one you deem as the most appropriate for your situation and your child.

Texting in Class/Intimidation

So, news flash! I break rules, too. Yesterday, my Wellness class watched most of
a documentary called, "Kilowatt Ours." It was about alternative energy, so I was
fairly interested in the topic, since I had studied it for Envirothon. Even so, I
texted a friend a few times during class as we were watching the film.


During the course of the film, Prof. Campbell approached another student and asked
him for his phone since he had been texting as well. She took it from him and put
it on the front desk until the end of class.

But I didn't get away with it. After class was over and as everyone was leaving,
my name was discreetly called by Prof. Campbell so that she could confront me
privately and individually.

Now, this is not particularly a story about the importance not texting in class
and the consequences of failing to do so. (...failing to not text in class? Yay,
split infinitive!) What I find so fascinating is the difference in reprimand
methods. There was also another student who Prof. Campbell, as far as I know, did
not see texting.

Why did Prof. Campbell publicly take away the phone of the one student, while
waiting until the end of class to confront me one-on-one? Honestly, I have no
concrete, valid answer. The only thing I know is that I feel Prof. Campbell acted
somewhat intimidated as she talked to me after class.

I also know that this minor reprimand has reinforced my knowing that I am such an
over-achiever, even if I care only minimally about this class. Even this minor,
private reprimand has made me feel bad enough to fear that Prof. Campbell will now
grade my assignments in a more negative light because of it. Oh, heyyy, paranoia.

Oh, what lessons we have learned.

Things are fallin' down on me,
heavy things I could not see...

Also, I seem to be much less inclined to continue a political debate-discussion when
I am in a good mood.