Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 26, 2013

Day: Computers can’t replace our teachers

By Ray Day
Guest columnist

— The times change while we drift along with our thoughts of how to better ourselves, both in a comfortable and secure way, so that our children can live in a world without fear.

As a child at Willard School, we learned the traditional curricula of math, English and history. The teachers were good ones. Their hands were not tied down by the rules of today, brought forth by people who care less about teachers and students, and elected on a platform of universal change throughout the teaching profession.

In schools today, at least here in Indiana, we are setting our young folk up on using the computer instead of using the everyday subjects of my time. It is my contention that computers are OK as a way to bring forth another way of education.

Now, I am not saying computers should not be used. But my fear is that one day the computer networks will go down and not come back up for some time. If that happens, where would we be? The long-ago events in my memory are not in those who lean on computer use for the answers.

I say that people who come from the old school would want to keep the basics of learning to the books and the teachers who teach the classes. Thank goodness, we gave our notice of get-out-and-don’t-come-back in the recent election.

When I was in grade school, we participated in classroom discussion, blackboard work for the rest of the class, and homework to take home. Parents made sure that children did their homework before going to bed.

What you learned from the classroom discussion came into being with the homework taken home. Classes were ready to go as soon as the kids got seated. If there was someone in class that might be a little less inclined to do their work at home, they were kept after school and parents were notified the child was to be picked up later.

What I am getting at is that we can’t depend on using the computer as the main tool of teaching. That is what teachers are for. Does anyone with common sense think that computers can do the jobs of well-educated teachers?

Oh sure, I work on the computer maybe three hours a day, but it is to increase the knowledge of happenings that go on in the present time and not that of the history of our world. As one who uses a computer, I taught myself through trial and error to work it, but I don’t rely on it to be my only way to refreshen my mind of the things that made our country great. I would not have been able to do that if my early training was not brought forth by well-educated teachers who put pride into their work and got the most out of their students.

There are those out there who can’t master the use of a computer, so where would they be without having their primary education given to them by good teachers? If someone asks me what the Bill of Rights is, do I go to the computer or do I dig down into my memory bank to get the answers that were taught to me by human beings?

Don’t get me wrong, folks. The computer has a place in today’s world, but not to replace teachers who don’t have to push buttons for the answers. That is what our God gave us, a mind to use and to keep the answers in. I hope that we continue to get great teachers and fewer computers.

Ray “Uncle Ray” Day of Kokomo is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at uncleray@earthlink.net.