Accountability for a Soulless Classroom

The arts require intellect, yet it’s absent on your tests

A graphite stroke, confirmed a joke, by the dollars you invest

Multiple choice mutes the voice and restricts a seeking mind

When theatre has no place in schools, outcomes will decline

A dream plays second fiddle to the “rounding” of a child

Kid’s worth, is in a value, yet dreams don’t make their file

A boy is deemed as gifted, assumptions from a score

Yet, care is void for content prescribed in Common Core

His train of thought is never taught, so why would he engage

He yearns for ovations while standing center stage

Since birth the boy was dancing, while being bottle-fed

His tippy toes, were tapping shows before, he’d found his tread

Music brought a smile, when screams were all he knew

Daddy finds his mother’s face, and paints it black and blue

Headphones in, he danced from grim, fleeing homely hell

A grieving face is what’s embraced, without savior from the bell

His life’s in reach, yet teachers preach, no content to his dream

No person to simply question, “What would you like to be?”

The boy’s been patiently waiting for the question beings asked…

“I want to bow in ballet shoes, the lead in Swan Lakes cast

I want the chance, for toes to dance in perfect pointed form

I want the world to realize I won’t settle for the norm

I want my mind to fall in line with pirouette precision

I want a place to dance, when dad gets out prison

You say my mind is gifted, yet this box is in its wrapping

Bound in twine, the card your rhyme, no time for toes now tapping

You say I could be anything, yet I want nothing on your list

You want extension in the classroom, yet I seek it in my wrist”

Take the time to see his mind is absent in your day

Curriculums equate to hate, in light of the Ballet


During high school, education for me, was something that occurred through exposure, not through seeking. Its value was in team sports, arts programs and writing. I was rarely curious or captivated by curriculums, resulting in the Common Core devaluing my individuality. We wonder why standards are consistently declining? Last time I checked, children are being told what to learn, how to learn, and when to learn. That’s what we call a dictatorship right?

The motivation for this poem was unearthed when scrolling the enchanting abyss of recommended bloggers. I was unprepared for what awaited when clicking on We Don’t Need No Thought Control. The blog mandated reflection, giving me no option but to grab my laptop and start tapping away at realism. Are there more people who feel standardization, No Child Left Behind and the Common Core are contributing to our intellectual demise? Is the end result America compromising its leading role amongst the global stage?

I understand content will always be contentious and I agree that specific learning objectives should be in place. We all need to learn the basics right?  To understand simple math, while being able to express ourselves adequately through writing? Addition, subtraction, grammar and organization have a place in the minds of all children. How we learn however, is where my inner monster rears its head to say STOP! If a child loves music, teach them how to read through a crescendo of lyrics. If a child enjoys being active, provide content on distance, measurement and percentages in relation to their specific physical accomplishments. When to learn disturbs another sleeping beast. Research keeps presenting to us optimum learning times are dependent on age, yet we continue to take onboard a generic timeframe from kindergarten through to senior year.

Don’t get me started on learning styles and boys vs. girls. Visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic are all ways in which we can optimize content absorption. Learning is nothing without practicality. Why learn content if it is not going to be utilized after a multiple-choice test has confirmed retention? No Child Left Behind cuffs kids to their peers through comparisons, shackling them to their expected grade until graduation. When hatted and gowned, the cuffs are unlocked, yet these teenagers are not equipped for the freedom they face, as freedom has been absent for the majority of their lives.

Schools are becoming glorified babysitters, not because teachers are failing, but because standardization is holding teachers accountable for a soulless classroom. Let’s ask our kids “What would you like to be when you grow up?” Chances are they will be readied with an answer that is overdue for pursuit.

We wonder why mental health issues are on the rise. We are devaluing our own children’s identities by stripping them of individuality and choice within the education system. When we fail to recognize a child’s dream, we fail to provide avenues for individual expression within academics.  The next generation will only see value in values. The number of likes, shares, friends, snaps and comments will be the trade underpinning self-confidence. A digit should not define a child’s worth. We don’t learn in a standardized manner, so why teach to one?

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7 thoughts on “Accountability for a Soulless Classroom

  1. mrsmariposa2014

    As a mama to four, my heart cries yes! The soul has been snatched from our classrooms! Teaching to the test frustrates me deeply. With two on the autism spectrum, teaching methods frustrate me even more. I am immensely blessed in our lovely small town schools and a fine staff that strive to push beyond those binding boundaries and to find those ways my children learn best. But, that said, we are still currently mired in assessments that mean little and new math that complicates the simple. And rarely does the question come, especially for my two spectrum kiddos, what do you want to be? Unless it is posed in a patronizing way that doesn’t allow for the encouragement to actually achieve it. Whew. Sorry to be long-winded. You hit on one of my passions. Thanks for a beautifully written, thought-provoking read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your kind words. The right teacher and resources can move mountains however it is getting harder and harder for their creativity and personalization of methods to shine through the mandates. A child who believes in their own dreams is a child that will success in reaching their potential. Harnessing strengths bases and interest based learning is most important for kids on the spectrum. Your child’s light must be the guid so that people can navigate within their world not force them to navigate through unfamiliarity. I wrote a poem and short blog for parents of children with Autism if you are interested. https://mindtounbind.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/lets-love-eccentric-lets-revel-in-eclectic-lets-not-attach-an-identity-to-autistic/ Thanks again for the comment. I am new to blogging so I appreciate the follows, shares, likes and comments. You sound like a passionate and intuitive parent!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tlk69

    Lovely, passionate, articulate poem and post. Thank you. -As a mother of two gifted girls, I was extremely frustrated with public schools, as my girls were bored as teachers had to teach to the lowest common denominator. Pulled them out & put in a “gifted” school, but could only afford 2 years. Made a huge difference though.

    Like

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