Read Part One of Waving Goodby to a Brick & Mortar School detailing our adventures of moving to virtual school at home, before reading Part Two!
My Daughter’s Perspective
As I mentioned in Part One of this series, along with a myriad of my other opinons, my daughter increasinly expressed her growing disdain and intolerance with and to the school system.
While a choice to switch to virtual school will always impact an entire family, it really is about my daughter’s education and ability to learn, so here is an interview with my 14 year old daughter Nally to see why she wanted to not only wave goodbye to her brick and mortar school but be running away from it while she did it.
What are the main reasons that you wanted to leave regular school and try online school?
School to me is supposed to be a learning environment. You should be learning new things daily, not just testing continuously throughout the week, with teachers snapping at your neck like a pack of hungry wolves for good grades. You see, teachers in public schools do not care about your education, because really all it is about to them is the money, and they call it a ‘job’. In my point of view if you say you want to be a good teacher, say encouraging things. Saying “teaching is my job…”, it almost feels like you do not want to actually teach. That you hate it!
Why do you say that it’s all about the money?
Because if the kids do badly on the FCATS they don’t get any money. Let’s say you are nearing the time of the FCAT testing, teachers get really mean then and they get quite vicious. What I mean by vicious is the fact that the teachers will threaten you with idle threats saying that “If you don’t pass this FCAT then you fail this course no matter what your grades are”. Which is not true! As students we look upon them fearfully and quite frankly, sometimes in the morning we would wake up nervous to go to school, when you should not have to be.
Threaten is quite a strong word, can you expand on that?
Teachers threaten or bully you about testing all the time. Every single lesson pertains to the FCAT, each lesson starts with the statement that, ‘this will be in the FCAT you better know it’. All the handouts have FCAT this and that on it. If it is not being tested on the FCAT we don’t do it. It is a negative and toxic environment.
What else is toxic about a brick & mortar school?
Threats from the staff that work there like the counselors and office ladies. You have to worry about what clothes you wear to not be judged by other students also which friends you have. Everything is about your appearance and if you don’t look like what they want you to look like then you don’t fit in. If you don’t fit in the popular kids talk behind your back, they also suck up to teachers and make you despise meeting other people so to not get judged. The kids bully you, the staff bully you it’s just a ‘come here and get bullied’ environment.
What will you miss about a regular school?
“Really, there is very little, if anything at all, because the experiences there have been very unpleasant. I will say that I will miss seeing my friend. I am not that confident because with the years of public school it gets to you and you tend to harden.
People say that kids educated at home are not socialized properly and cannot make friends. What are your comments and feelings about this statement?
“Well, that is just… false! Instead it is the total opposite, because you open up. With online schooling it is not about what you look like as nobody can see you, it’s about how friendly and open you are online. School doesn’t socialize you either it just teaches you to be defensive!
People say that kids educated at home don’t get enough exercise what are your comments and feelings about this and how will you ensure you get enough exercise?
So, you have to have motivation, for instance I will have a scheduled time to wake up in the morning and I run every day with my Mom and then do Power Chores. I will stop for lunch and walk the dog and get some sunshine. My diet will change for the better being at home as I will make my salads and stuff and not eat nasty fatty, greasy disgusting school food. I will continue to do martial arts with my Dad and Horse Riding at the weekend and I’m going to volunteer at the barn or an animal shelter to get out and about and also get experience, socialization !!! and exercise.
How are you preparing for Virtual School?
There is nothing much to prepare, I know my classes already, I have my supplies and set up my desk. I’ve watched the FLVS Student Orientation Video and signed my Honor Code and School Rules. I’m nervous and excited at the same time.
Thank you Nally for your insight, feelings and opinions. I had no idea how strongly the teaching to the test and having teacher evaluations tied to student test results was affecting the students. I knew the curriculum was narrowing but sanctioned school bullying by teachers is new to me and very saddening. Conducting this interview has reinforced our decision for Virtual School.
Read Part Three, for the general enrollment process and parent duties. If you have any questions for Nally please use the comment section below.
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