Lefties in Elementary Schools (was:Re: [PEN-L] From Michael Yates (on academia) )

Karen Saunders Karen_Saunders at fc.brattleboro.k12.vt.us
Sat Nov 8 08:34:17 MST 2003

Xenon Zi-Neng Yuan wrote: "equally, if not more important, it seems to me,
is the presence of lefties in primary school education, where essential
critical thinking skills are 
more easily assimilated. "
Speaking as an elementary school teacher, I whole-heartedly agree!
Young children are great thinkers, less fettered by the years of
propaganda that narrow people's outlook and understanding of the world. 
They need teachers who can help them retain and refine their critical
thinking skills.  They need teachers who will help them understand the
ways in which the different material conditions in which people live
inform their perspectives and decisions, understand the ways in which all
of us are part of one interconnected human family, see history as a series
of struggles in which people have organized to change the conditions in
which they live, rather than as a series of great leaders with great ideas
who have changed the lives of ordinary people.
Children need teachers who will take the opportunity to teach them of the
mathematical and scientific contributions of many peoples and cultures
while teaching them to think mathematically and make scientific inquiries
about the world around them.
Children also need teachers who are excited about learning, and interested
in just about everything.  They need teachers who are intensely curious
about how the human mind works, respect children as fellow learners, and
believe that every child has the right to an environment in which they can
be successful learners.
Teaching at the elementary level is exciting, important, and incredibly
hard work.  I spent several years working in factories before going to
college, then worked as a teaching assistant and a forest ecologist during
college and graduate school.  Nothing I did was as challenging as teaching
10-12 year olds and nothing was as exciting.    
If this sounds like a recruitment effort, it is! 

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