Marie Corral
Ms. Hamm
English 1013.06
18 September 2010

The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher

“…The fourth lesson I teach is that only I determine what curriculum you will study. (Rather, I enforce decisions transmitted by the people who pay me). This power lets me separate good kids from bad kids instantly. Good kids do the tasks I appoint with a minimum of conflict and a decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to learn, I decide what few we have time for. The choices are mine. Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity. Bad kids fight against this, of course, trying openly or covertly to make decisions for themselves about what they will learn. How can we allow that and survive as schoolteachers? Fortunately there are procedures to break the will of those who resist. This is another way I teach the lesson of dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. This is the most important lesson of all, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives…” (Gatto)
After reading the passage, I've come to the conclusion that “Mr. Gatto” is complaining about the fact that his curriculum is determined by people in a higher level of authority. Because he depends on these people for compensation, he has no choice but to teach the children what authorities have deemed necessary to learn. After teachers are forced to abide by the rules set forth by “certified” personnel, the children are expected to learn the material given without hesitation or questioning. A teacher will be considered a successful teacher only after its students have proved that they are knowledgeable on the given material. Their intelligence is proven by a series of standardized tests. According to Gatto, there is no room for children to try and form their own opinions about society or education because that is believed to inevitably lead them to rebel against the school and the government. Students...