So we're halfway through week three of school and I'm finally finding my rhythm. There is a certain flow to the year that doesn't settle in until the nervous and jumpy students shake their uncertainties and get comfy in their chairs. It takes awhile for everyone to get used to:
1. getting up early
2. sitting in traffic (there are four schools in one square mile, with many stoplights in between)
3. doing homework (which I loathe giving and receiving)
If it were up to me, school would start at 8:00 am and end at 2:00 pm, with a short lunch break in the middle. Every morning at eight o'clock students and teachers would exercise for an hour. Run, swim, bike, play games, anything physical to get the brain firing on all cylinders. Core classes would start at 9:00 am. Core meaning English, math, history, science, and languages.
At two o'clock students would be dismissed to their specialized classes. Students who excel in art would go to an art class. Students who are into athletics would train or practice or get ready for a game. There would be theaters for actors, studios for musicians, science labs, field trips for historians, think tanks for mathematicians, and, of course, writing workshops. Did I leave anyone out? Oh, right, financial planners and brokers. They would attend "honesty" classes.
The Utopian School is not realisitic, but some schools are getting closer, while others (especially state funded schools that feel pressure to perform on standardized tests) are drifting out to sea with no compass. In those cases, it's up to the teacher to provide much of what's missing from the standardized books.
Kids, like adults, cannot be good at everything, so why do we expect them to be? To make straight A's in a decently challenging school is quite an accomplishment. It takes effort, drive, and smarts. Not to mention, supportive parents, understanding peers, and a little luck. But let's be honest, how many adults can recount the details of major historical events, solve quadratic equations, formulate chemical ingenuity, and write a novel that's worth a damn. Not many. And those who can do all this usually end up in some kind of place with padded walls.
Schools need to change. Humans weren't designed to sit in desks all day. We were designed to be out doing stuff.
Recognizing and promoting the talents and interests of young students could go a long way in improving our nation's productivity and prosperity.
I'm just saying.