Friday, January 13, 2012

How Is Teaching Like Marriage?

Whether a successful teaching career or a successful marriage, it is all about the relationship.

Now, this is an interesting idea, taking the current political and social climate regarding education.

Educators need to research best educational practices, plan an educational strategy (a curriculum), meet the diverse needs of the students, and evaluate the success of the students and the curricular practices. Who can argue with that? I don't.

Let's compare education with marriage.

To have a successful marriage, each partner individually and the couple together should research and find out what constitutes a successful marriage. They should also form a comprehensive plan that is aligned with these practices--consider the changing needs in the marriage from season to season and year to year, consider children, parents and in-laws, retirement and health and recreation. I'm sure I've left a lot out. No one can argue that these are important aspects to consider in a marriage.

What if all these good ideas, practices, and material needs were required by the state's marriage licensing agency to be written up and then regularly evaluated as having been met--and those evaluations be sent to the state Department of Marriage?

Even if the ideas and practices professed or the means of evaluation suggested were sound (a big if), many would say that it was too much work--too time consuming. Sure, the ideas are good, but to document them and send them off? Some would even say that so much time was being spent ensuring that the marriage was good that there wasn't time to be married!

Lots would say, "Forget it! We'll just shack up."

I think that is the state of education in America today. So many well-meaning people have accumulated so much good information about what constitutes good teaching, so much information and direction on best teaching practices and curriculum development has been amassed, and so much demand has been placed on "Show us you're doing it right" that teachers no longer have the time to focus on the one most important element in education--maintaining a lively connection with the students in the classroom and having the time to practice good teaching.

Teachers are so busy preparing to teach and proving that they are teaching that they don't have time to teach.

I believe fully in using the best teaching practices in the classroom. So much pressure is being placed on teachers to write down everything they do--to write down their planning, to document their teaching, to provide assessments of their success--that there is little time left to stimulate the natural curiosity that children have.

That takes a good student/teacher relationship. And, unfortunately, the current social and political environment has forced the "couple" to call off the honeymoon--so much time was spent planning and documenting what the perfect marriage would be that no time or funds were left for the marriage.

Maybe that Department of Marriage should be called the Department of Divorce--marriage is way too complicated for bureaucracy.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


  1. Nice article!

    But through a vedic approach its really possible for a happy married life where husband and wife love and appreciate each other truly.

    1. I recently attended a vedic wedding. The wedding was at 1 PM, and the reception was at 4 PM. I asked my wife, "What are we going to be doing between 2 and 4?" And then I found out that the ceremony was three hours long!