Fight. Fight. Fight. Fight. Two boys are standing in C-Hall junction, surrounded by what seems like every kid in the whole schoo, starring and yelling. I’m not in the mood. I continue walking through the crowd, in between the two circling each other, and through the crowd again. All the while, I am being starred at and gasped over. I’m not brave or tough or even that interesting, I just can’t take it anymore.
This is a common scene in schools. Kids just get mad over girls and boys and mommas and babies and Facebook and MySpace and some things that never even happened. Why does school harbor such violent emotions for kids? Why is it so easy for us to be upset?
Remember when school was fun? We would sit on magic story rugs, eating gold fish, while the sweet sounding voice of your teacher echoed mystical tales of mice eating cookies. Remember the feeling when you got your math papers back with “Great Work!” stickers and holiday-themed smiley faces on them? Remember the butterfly-in-the-stomach, gasping moment the first time you were really, truly reading? School was fun. i didn’t dream that. I know that at one time it was all I could do to fall asleep at night because I was so excited for SCHOOL.
I think there are many things that contribute to high emotions and distract from learning in schools. I think that sometimes schools worry so much about holding an institution and having control over everything, that they lose sight of what a school really and truly is meant to be.
Have you ever actually read the Student Code of Conduct? It reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons where Rev. lovejoy says, in regard to the Bible, “we’re not technically allowed to go to the bathroom!” At some point, dress code turns from eliminating distractions to creating them. It’s ridiculous for a teacher to have to walk around the room, checking everyone’s ankles for frayed edges on jeans when they could be…teaching. If you get sent to the office for somethigns so trivial, you’re being removed from the learnign entirely. I think that spending so much time and effort enforcing some rules does mroe damage then what the rules are against.
At the beginning of this school year, during my second period class, I recieved a copy of the Student Code fo Conduct. Page 99 said that I had recieved and read my copy. We all had to sign that page and return it before we were allowed to leave class. I know most kids don’t care, but that makes me really upset. obviously, I hadn’t read it in the thirty seconds it had been in my possession. I was then suppsed to have my parents sign page 100 which asks us to keep a page for our personal records so we know what we signed.
It’s like everything is a process. What you’re doing doesn’t mean anything; you just have to do it. Sign this. Read that. Sit down. Shut up. Hold your breath until 2:45.
I feel like we get caught up. We get lost between the layers of bureaucracy. We worry about so many things interfering with our education, that the actual educating gets knocked lower and lower on the list. It’s like driving a car and holding a map up over the windshield. You want so badly not to be lost, that you don’t see what you’re actually doing. When you finally get around to the road, you don’t know where you are anymore.
When I was in 8th grade, my teacher had a little trinket ina frame hanging on her wall that said, “A school is four walls with a future inside.” I always liked that. It made me feel like I wasn’t just a kid but that i was really a part of something special. It made me feel important.
high school is different though. It feels more like people look at us as four walls with a problem inside. Like we aren’t tiny vessels of potential and promise, but rather little menaces to society, a terrying preview of what the world is coming to. I feel like you get into high school and the rule of “the bigger they are, the cuter they ain’t” comes into play, and nobody really cares as much as they used to. Everything is more stressed, more pushed, less important, less meaningful. The kids aren’t happy, the teachers aren’t happy, the administration isn’t happy. It’s almost like we’re in school not to learn, but to keep us from ruining society during the daylight hours.
I don’t want to be a problem. I want holiday-themed smiley faces. I want to give a mouse a cookie. I just want to be the future inside the four walls again. I want that back.