I’m a wishy-washy ole’ gal once in a while, especially this time of year. It’s July. The downhill slide to school. UGH! I hate school in July. I hate it for me. I hate it for my kids. UGH! School! Now, hate is a very strong word, I understand that, so rather, let me say:
I. REALLY. DON’T. LIKE. SCHOOL. IN. JULY!
School means students who refuse to read instructions AND too many schedules to follow AND everyone has a practice of some sort AND a lesson to go to AND now I have to wear a watch AND pack lunches AND buy t-shirts for this-that-and-the-other AND pay for school supplies AND now we also have to buy copy paper because Oklahoma has no money and…..sorry, that last comment just slipped out. School. UGH!
The problem here is that I really just LOVE SUMMER! I love the freedom, the heat, the sweating, the time with my kids, the time with my husband who I rarely see during the school year, the swimming, the blank days on my calendar, the sleep, the time to catch up, all of it! I love it! I always have, even when I was a stay-at-home-mom. Summer is my element. Olaf is singing my jam!
Then, school starts. UGH! But wait…two days into the school year, just like that, I LOVE TEACHING! Oh, how I’ve missed my JOB! I love the schedule AND my office AND my students AND my colleagues AND math. In no time flat, I also love that my kids are in school AND they’re learning AND have great teachers AND love to read AND we are back to a schedule AND let’s buy another t-shirt! Wishy-washy, I know.
Maybe that’s why no one ever asks for my opinion about education? I may be a mom and also an educator, but I guess I’m just too wishy-washy for my opinion to matter. I have a very vivid imagination and in this dream world, the “powers that be” send out a little survey once in a while to parents and educators alike to ask their opinions on what subjects and skills are necessary for all students to master before they are allowed to graduate from public school and venture out into the world to be productive citizens. Wouldn’t that be nice. I’m really good at surveys.
On my imaginary survey, that I would complete only after eating a healthy breakfast; using only a #2 pencil; with an approved proctor in the room, I would answer questions concerning the typical hot topics in education, because who doesn’t have an opinion on standardized tests and teacher pay?! However, I would also be sure to add comments in the margins on two topics that really get me fired-up: cursive writing and keyboarding!
Seriously, who decided that these two skills should not be mastered before leaving school?! Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we live in the age of efficiency? All of these amazing tools at our fingertips designed to make us more efficient and we are doing away with cursive writing?! Hear me out. I can write faster than I can print….it is more efficient for me, and a combination of printing and cursive writing has been proven to be more efficient for most people than printing. However, “the powers that be” decided that this skill is not necessary for our children anymore, and apparently hasn’t been for some time, as was apparent when a 19-year-old student called my writing “historical”.
For those shaking their heads, saying, there’s no need, everything we do now is via computer, as long as the kids can type, then all is well. Tell me then, what happens when your kid takes keyboarding, earns an A, and can’t type? Evidence: “brTSE”. (That’s Brayden’s version of his name without looking at the keyboard. I cut him off after the fifth letter.) UGH! Also, please take into consideration that often the act of actually writing something down enhances the ability to remember, whereas typing does not. Hence, wouldn’t the more efficient cursive, or a hybrid of such, be a valuable skill for each and every person – at least as long as they’re in school?
Call me wishy-washy. Call me old-fashioned, but consider this. As the education of today becomes less and less like the education of yesterday, are the changes we are seeing being made with the best interests of our children/students in mind? Are the students graduating today really more prepared to join the workforce or walk through the doors of higher education than we were? What little skill will “the powers that be” wipe off the board next? At this rate, before you know it, we’ll see “TI-85 calculator” on the school supply list for our elementary kids with the justification that I’ve heard entirely too often, “Why do we need to learn all of this math anyway when we can use a calculator?” UGH!
Hmmm…this is getting deep. All I had on my mind was this month of July. I better save the rest of my opinions on education for another season, and finish by channeling my inner Olaf to get me back to the glory days of my blessed summer:
“When life gets rough, I like to hold on to my dream,
Of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam.
Oh the sky would be blue, and you guys will be there too,
When I finally do what frozen things do
Disclaimer: Please note that we love our children’s school, teachers, and administrators and in no way is this post directed towards them, but rather, the system at large.