Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A New Experience

Today at the university I teach at, I was asked to do a Q & A for the International Officers visiting the army post near the university.  I had "taught" all day and then volunteered my time for the question and answer session on the American educational system with the International Officers.   I was nervous when I walked into the conference room.  I looked around and there were four females on the panel and all asking questions were male.  The majority were from African nations (about 40), a few from the Middle East, fifteen from Asia,  and a table of ten from Europe.  

Most of the questions came from the men from Africa.  It was interesting because even though the questions were about our education system, they all related to how our children are raised.  One asked, "We have parents that work and we have parents that don't have jobs.  If a parent doesn't have a job we ask that he or she works in our schools.  It seems to me that in the states many feel that the parents aren't involved enough...so why don't you have them volunteer or work in the schools? "  Hmmmm... to me that was an excellent question.

Then one of the U. S army officers stated that the parents in the U. S didn't do the job that they should.  He went on and on about the problems with families in the U. S.  I boiled, steamed, simmered, and almost exploded.  How could he say that it was a "parent" problem?  I do not think anyone educating students should BLAME a specific group.  If I, as a teacher, blames parents doesn't that open me up to be blamed by parents if their child wasn't succeeding in school?  Granted I am opinionated but I have many years of experience and I wasn't going to allow this group of individuals think it was one group's fault.  So I spoke up...I explained my views and watched this conference room packed with men look at me and try to process what I was saying. 

Another International Officer asked, "Do you think those from the United States are better educated than international students?" Again, an interesting but I thought biased question.  All these men had "international" experiences!

And then, "What do you think of the standards that are to be met in the U. S. compared to the job of learning?"...again a hmmmm question.

And at the end of the question and answer session the International Officers presented us with a plague and other gifts, snapped pictures and thanked us for our time.  A new experience!


  1. Wow. Sounds a little intimidating. I particularly like the section where the US Army office said American parents aren't doing their job. How would even know that? Where would he get that information. Like you, I think I would have had a hard time controlling my emotions and my mouth on that one!

  2. This did not sound like fun at all. Sounds like most of their information was from heresay. I don't think I would do that stint again.