As I was listening to the radio the other day, I heard a call exclaim how glad they were to be entering their final year of school. Excited to be done, the DJ’s response caught my attention: “Then what? Your excited to be finished with the best years of your life and to go to a job everyday!” As a teacher I feel the excitement of school being out for summer and hear about student’s desires to be “done” with school. We have all heard the Alice Cooper’s anthem School’s Out for Summer.
Is school being out forever something to celebrate? Sure it is great to celebrate the accomplishment of graduation and moving on to new challenges but the end of learning? Most people want school over to get “into the real world”. Isn’t school part of the real world? Now that I am in my mid-forties reflections of school bring back the fondest memories. When will you only work 40 weeks out of the year again? Heck I wish I could JUST be a students again.
Students fail to see how school connects to life. They see it as a right of passage that they all have to get through. School has many similarities to jobs. Show up on time, complete task by deadlines and be respectful to your co-workers and boss. Luckily for students school is different than most jobs in that it is ever changing. Each year different boss and co-workers. During the day different subjects are tackled. Only professional careers look similar, most jobs are more mundane. The school year looks very different than most job years. Schools have more breaks and planned time off. Most jobs only have 2 weeks of vacation the first year and make new comers work holidays and weekends. So why are students in such a hurry to get done?
Society has created schools to be a task that has to be completed. Forgetting that being educated is a life long task. Grade levels have been arbitrarily created to match up with ages not knowledge level. Students see school completion as being an adult not being educated with core knowledge. When a person starts any job they start with a training program and mentors that mimic school. Our society needs to shift how we look at school, we need to focus on life long knowledge growth rather than school being out forever! Are we ever finished with learning? When my students ask this question my answer is “You are finished learning when you are finished living!”
Now it is time for a school is in session anthem!