I've been waiting a long time to read this book--The Student Whisperer. I've finally got it to myself for two weeks via interlibrary loan.
And I'm furious!
I'm so disappointed.
That's why I'm writing. I feel as if there is wisdom to be found, but I feel so blasted by arrogance and superiority that I'm reeling and have to find my center again. I need to purge my mind of my frustrations to make way for lessons that might be beneficial.
So Round 1 is my horror of how the authors believe they know what's best for all . . . maybe they don't believe that . . . but that is the message that I feel when I read it.
There is a section of Tiffany Earl's narration in which she recreates a conversation with her mentor Oliver DeMille about a student who leaves her school. She's devastated that the student is "lost;" she feels like a failure. Over the course of the conversation it is revealed that the student was withdrawn from the school because of a conflict between what the parent wanted for the child and what the teacher wanted for the child.
Ms. Earl writes the following:
" 'The next thing I knew, his mom called me to withdraw him from the school. She said, "My son studies too much. He misses our family activities of watching movies together, sometimes he refuses to play with his friends, and I'm just afraid he isn't playing enough!" '
" 'Needless to say, I was shocked! I'd finally inspired my students to want to put in the necessary time and I lost one.'
"I was beginning to learn that one of my greatest stumbling blocks to reading the youth and inspiring them to get a Leadership Education was figuring out how to get the parents to want it first, and to understand what it meant." (p 130)
I find the lack of respect Ms. Earl has for the parent of her student staggering. Instead of accepting that people have different priorities, different home cultures, different philosophies, and wishing them joy in their journey, she determines to set about convincing people that she is right.
My husband read almost nothing through his childhood and youth. Instead he spent hours playing outdoors with his brothers and the neighbor kids. He played baseball and soccer. He went to church and participated in the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He went on long camp outs and long hikes. He did what he was assigned to for school--only studying just barely what he needed to be an average-to-good student in the public school system. He got jobs and worked for his spending money. His parents shuttled him from activity to activity--sparing no effort of time or energy in loving and serving their children.
My husband's parents never wanted nor sought for him to obtain a
"Leadership Education" as defined by Tiffany Earl and Oliver DeMille. Instead they gave him themselves. And along the way he became a man of strength, humility, faith, courage, common sense, and wisdom.
In his adulthood he has become a careful, conscientious reader. He seeks wisdom out of the best books and applies it the best way he can. He is simply the finest man I know.
The parents of that student might have had a bit of the wisdom that my husband's parents have. They might have wanted a different perspective, a different experience for their child. I cannot fault them for withdrawing this child from a school that was teaching values that conflicted with theirs.
I do not want a "Leadership Education" as defined by Tiffany Earl and Oliver DeMille for my family. I opened this book because I do want to be a good mentor to my children, and I do want to know how to recognize good mentors when I am not enough. Because I want to learn I am putting this opinion down. In so doing I have greater personal clarity about what I hope for my children--I want them to find their own passions, their own joys, their own missions, and I want to help them develop those passions, joys, and missions.