An Open letter to the Mother who asked Me to Give her Child Homework

Written by: Jamie Lee, founder of Kids at Switch

Kids at Switch

Does innovation come from a textbook or someone’s imagination?

To the 35-year-old with a case-less iPhone in one hand and your Women’s Weekly in the other. When you walked into Kids at Switch in the middle of a Saturday and said, “Why don’t you give my daughter any homework?” I thought, surely, she’s joking. There is more than 50 tuition centres around North Shore that will be happy to give your child additional school work: that must not be the reason you sent your kid here.

I smiled, thinking that she would smile back.

In reality, both you and I have the same goal. When it comes to your child, we both want to aim a lot higher than just teaching them the skills to survive. We want to raise them in a way that lets them thrive. I’ve been teaching for more than 6 years and I saw the limitations of schools

Let’s take a moment and ask yourself: What do you really want for your children? What qualities do you hope they develop and take into their adult lives? Most likely you want them to be happy, independent and successful. You want them to enjoy fulfilling relationships and live a life full of meaning and purpose.

But reality is different. According to a recent article on Forbes, “more than 87% of workers worldwide are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces.” And I believe the problem comes down to education.

Think about what percentage of our time both in schools and out of schools is spending on developing these qualities in our children. I still remember there was one lesson where we got the kids to invent and innovative things. The younger the kids are, the faster they are at coming up with innovative and creative solutions. The older kids struggled. I was completely torn knowing that the school system had “educated” these bright kids to dispose of their passion, creativity and imagination.

As teachers, we’ve spent countless hours talking about your child and how to ensure that her interest is at the forefront of what we do. Every week, my team and I wrestled with the tension on how best to provide our students with the latest and most important information, while doing it in a way that’s fun, creative and immediately practical. And this is something you definitely can’t do through ascribing them with homework or exams.

Just for the record, she didn’t smile back at me. This mother pulled her daughter out of Kids at Switch at the end of the term – something, which I know, would’ve done no good for her evidently budding imagination and creative capacity.

Despite my disappointment, at the end I just want to be grateful. Grateful for the moments I got to share, for the stories I got to tell, for the lessons that I got to learn. And for the parents who believe in me.

Sometimes I think it’s a blessing and curse to be a teacher.

But damn, do I love my job.

About Kids at SWiTCH

Changing Education through Fearless Innovation.

One comment

  1. Some people just don’t get it. We just have to hope that they will someday.

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