We’re getting “trained” again…

So, I hate “trainings.” They make me feel like I’m someone’s performing seal. We had to get up at one point and had to do a silly game where we were clapping with a partner in multiples of three and four. We had to play charades with constitutional amendments. We always, always end up having to make a poster or presentation of some kind. Yesterday I burst into tears over it. Today I was just pretty sullen. I don’t want to be sullen. It’s a sin. I know that. But it just keeps happening whenever I have to get “trained” in various inane and research driven ways.

What it ends up coming down to is this: I don’t believe in this stuff. These in-service trainers are not trying to teach us things. They are trying to be agents of the change of my thoughts and feelings and beliefs. Yesterday was all about “conscious discipline.” What that actually meant was that it was not about discipline at all. It was about taming the passions and helping children to do the same. Only, being an Educational meeting, they couldn’t use those words, so it was about pop psychology – the animal brain stem and the frontal lobes where our brilliance comes from, and whatnot. Which is fine to know, even if it is a bit silly. But then this person wanted me to change how I think and feel and believe so that I’m “living in my frontal lobe” or something like that. And I couldn’t tune it out, because we had to do activities and present on our findings and whatnot, so I don’t want to let my partner down. The whole thing is sick. Manipulative and sick.

Today we learned about the statistics derived from a poll. All afternoon. And we got to read each question, see the statistics about it, and then write out a poster on pink butcher paper, using colored markers. Seriously. This is wrong, people! I feel SO bad for kids who have to go through twelve years of this BS.

Right now I’m just reacting, but let me try to explain. I won’t feel so bad perhaps next week: I’ll look back and go “so it was a little silly. What’s the big deal?” I’m beginning to believe that people tune things out for a reason. It’s a kind of survival method born of over-stimulation. I can’t think about that right now, so I’ll tune it out. This is perhaps not the best course of action, but it works. If I can tune out information that makes my head feel like it’s going to explode, then perhaps I can go through the day without humiliating myself, and learn something this evening. Perhaps I can even learn something now by reading an article or something. But that’s rude, so I’ll just not get very involved. Go through the motions, look attentive, and try not to let all this stuff stir up too much internal confusion (or anguish, for that matter). But the presenters go out of their way to force it upon me. Become involved! Not in giving a reasoned viewpoint, but in spewing back whatever mush we were feeding into you, and saying how it can be applied in a real situation. Never mind if it’s philosophically consistent, or even true. Let’s just agree to disagree. Which means I get to pretend I agree to avoid being considered a poorly socialized nuisance.

100% engagement, I have decided, is code for “you will be assimilated.”

Forgive my incoherence. And my bad mood. If you get a chance, say a prayer for me too.


2 thoughts on “We’re getting “trained” again…

  1. Just a thought, a shot in the dark, let me know if I am way off the mark. I like to play with “what ifs” and see if they come close to reality or not. I know you hate advice, but I offer this as merely an alternative point of view.

    It seems pretty straightforward that you have an issue “professional educators thinking that people are like computers: program to believe something and they will”. Maybe these meetings are like the classes these educators teach. I certainly have issues with this. In religion and philosophy, or whatever, I find myself to dwell in the “special cases”, while other people dwell in the “generally true”. For example, you could say that in general, it is bad to steal. This is a good rule to teach kids. But my mind wanders to special cases. What if you are starving and the person next to you has a lot of food? What if you give it back later? What if they stole it from you first? Its two totally different ways of thinking. Maybe its the same with teaching. Some students learn better with “one-size-fits-all” teaching methods, while other students learn better with individually tailored teaching methods. Maybe you get students who don’t fit a particular learning style, who can’t be programmed. So these students fall through the cracks. You have a choice. You can follow the teaching methods they give you and teach most of the students “good enough”, or you can use a specialized method to reach the unique students. Perhaps you can relate to students who don’t learn by these standard methods, but can’t relate to other students, so maybe that’s why you don’t feel motivated to teach them? In any case, a first year teacher should not sweat being unique. The standard annoying training is not to make you a better teacher. It is there to help you survive your first few years where you are a crappy teacher (not you personally, but all new teachers) and you need easy ways to get by teaching them “something”. In any case I definitely think you subconsciously object to being “forced” to think a certain way and you much rather accept it on you own terms. Don’t sweat it too much. You will learn how to be a good teacher by practicing, reflecting, and repeating.

    When reading this, remember, I’ve never taught a day in my life. So you certainly know better than me. Let me know if I am even close to being on the mark 🙂

  2. That was good. Much better than me. I’m still at the point of thinking cynically “and some ‘students’ learn better when they care and have a little discipline, while some teachers teach better when they don’t have six classes to prepare for, none of which they properly understand themselves.”
    But then I get cynical the same way I get the flue: I come down with a bad case of it every once in a while when I’ve been hanging out too much with people who have it, and then recover eventually. So now is not a good time for me to think rationally, since I’ve got a pretty bad case of cynicitis.

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