Sunday, June 21, 2009

Can We Move Away from Lukewarm Please?

The school year is over. Phew! I am so glad to be shut of it. I know that those of you who know me will probably be surprised to hear that because my children are doing well in school, but believe me when I say this: I am glad to be done with this school year.

Why? You ask. I'll tell you why. I am glad to be done with this school year because I am tired of dealing with people who don't have my children's best interests at heart. This year has emphasized for me that people in general do only what is absolutely necessary to get by. My children are all very intelligent. I am not bragging when I say this. I am just stating a fact. They think about things in interesting ways. They continually surprise me by the complexity of thought that they are capable of on a regular basis. If you are connected with me through Facebook, you will see a good example of what I mean. My daughter wrote a poem for a class. It is amazing. And she writes stuff like this regularly.

And the school does nothing to encourage her writing ability. Her teacher this year was terrific. But she had a class of 28 to manage. She barely had enough time to handle the requirements of MCAS preparation, let alone focus any attention on a budding writer.

The teacher my son had this year for kindegarten does what she does. The kids tend to like her and benefit from daughter loved her when she had her. But my son could take her or leave her. He did very well in school and brought home glowing reports. But when asked if he would miss her he said, "Nah. Not really." She did nothing memorable with the class, and I can't recall one single thing that Christopher came home bubbling about. Nothing.

So my children cruise through their educational experience unchallenged. They don't stretch themselves. They aren't challenged. They are learning how to conform, to not rock the boat, and to do what is expected of them.

I suppose I should be happy that they are getting A's on their report card. I should expand my chest with pride when reading the "Is a pleasure to have in class" comments. Part of me is glad to see those things for sure. Having friends whose children are really struggling with the world of academia makes me appreciate that I don't have those struggles. (Boy, did that sound snotty or what? Sorry.)But I am not completely happy. I'm not happy because my children can become background. Because they do not have a "problem," they can get passed over. Their talents may not get recognized, polished, or developed. I want them to develop what they have to the fullest potential.

So what do I do? How do I help them to develop the talents and skills that they have? I want them to enjoy being children. I don't want to load them down with extra "work," but I want them to challenge the things they take for granted as constants. I want them to ask why and what if. I want them to poke, stir, add to, change and create. I want them to play. I want them to inquire, investigate and hypothesize. So where do I turn?

My children are amazing, talented, creative, smart, funny, compassionate and kind people. I don't want those things to wither on the vine, unnourished. So where do I turn to feed these soul traits of theirs?

No comments: