The Silly Dramas of High School
A friend of mine emailed me this passage from the Student Conduct Guidelines at North Canyon High School in Phoenix:
Try not to engage in all the silly drama that comes with the high school experience. You'll find that in most cases this drama has no meaning or relevance once you're out of school. Pay attention in class and do your homework. You're preparing for your future.
While the second half of that guideline makes sense, take a look at those first two sentences again. As my friend pointed out: a)That's really vague. Some smart ass high schooler is bound to argue that his/her bit of drama is completely serious and not at all silly and b) Isn't the drama part of high school? Why not start to encourage kids NOT to go to prom... or talk at lunch... or go to football games?
Public educators talk about wanting to give children the tools they need to succeed in life. For example, here in Madison they proclaim that:
Every child has...
- an inexhaustible capacity to learn
- unique meaning and purpose
- the capacity to make responsible decisions
- freedom of thought and expression
- an obligation for the stewardship of resources
- potential to create their own future and the future of society
- the right to realize his / her full potential
- the right to be safe and to live free from violence and harassment
That's great. That's what schools should do. But too often I think educators want to teach kids what to think. And North Canyon's guideline takes that a step further. We'll do the thinking and the living for you. Don't bother with all that "drama" of living your life. Your silly, little high school lives and loves are all going to amount to nothing. We're teachers. We know better than you.
Of course, I realize that no high school kid is going to obey this particular guideline. But this still irritates me to no end. Not only is it far beyond the scope of what schools should advise (whatever happened to parents?), it's also stupid advice in the first place. As my friend said, this guideline is just a waste of ink.
Posted by at June 13, 2005 07:46 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/954
|# June 13th, 2005 10:43 PM Laura|
|Geez, don't let my daughter hear that nonsense about freedom of expression. She can think as much as she likes, but the policy around here is that if she wants to express herself, she better write an essay.
Okay, slightly sarcastic, but not completely... we actually have said that and were only partly joking. In all seriousness, I didn't send her to school to express herself or to output information. I sent her to school to take information in. Sure, some output is necessary to complete the cycle; output shows understanding or lack of. But schools have gotten way too involved with "socialization" as all of those policies show, and education has declined probably at the same rate.
Kids need an education to succeed. My mother got one in high school, I got one post-high school, and my daughter got practically none at all until I pulled her out and started home-schooling her. All of the drama of goths, preps and jocks, who's screwing whom, I got my nipples pierced, want to see? That 8th grader over there had an abortion, got any weed? We're having an, um, party and we need some more girls, want to come help? (This from a girl who had invited half the baseball team over to be serviced in an effort to be more popular.) Don't those jelly bracelets you wear mean you ___ (fill in the blank with a variety of sex acts)? I heard you said x about y, now her girlfriend is going to kick your ass.
That crap used to be background noise when I was in school but now it's a dull roar and some kids have a hard time working around it. And this was at a small private school - I have friends with kids in public schools who have more to manage. I suspect that's the kind of drama that they were thinking of when they wrote the conduct guideline, not proms and football games.
Added: I do agree the guideline is a waste of ink, though.
|# June 14th, 2005 7:59 AM JohnTant|
|I agree that if anyone ought to be in the position of dismissing a student's concerns as "silly drama," it ought to be the parents and not the school. And think back to when you were in school...finding your niche was anything but a "silly drama." In retrospect I think it was just as important as learning trig. It was a trial run for finding your niche in adult society. |