At my son’s last Boy Scout Troop meeting, an analogy for schools surfaced. Griffin being new to the troop, I just took an seat in the back of the room taking time to search my twitter feed for articles to read. After reading a few tweets I notice a lady approaching me. She asks about Griffin, takes an order for the summer camp T-shirts and then asks about my occupation. When I stated that I was a teacher, a conversation began.
I shared how hard it was for some students to find their way in school. The curriculum is not engaging for them no matter how hard I try. Many students have made career decisions already, some wanting to be hair dressers, truck drivers, work in skilled trades or in customer service. I stated the need for broader educational standards so these students’ life needs would be addressed. “Where were they going to learn about interest, credit and insurance?” She listen to me attentively, then calmly offered an analogy: “Schools are like an hourglass, pulling our focus in for the few years we attend!’
How true! We come into the world all spread out, full of wonder. As we enter school our focus is pulled towards reading, writing, math and organized learning. For the brief span of time we are focused, sharing an experience with our peer group. When our organized learning is complete, we fall to our own will. Once through the narrows of the hourglass we guide our education to where we want to be. Some of us struggle to remain on top, others elect to be buried at the bottom, most of us lie in between. We all travel through the hourglass that is education.