Saturday, May 05, 2012

We are one tonight

Really? Is that for me? Really???

How the heck am I supposed to blow that out? I don't got no lips!

Oh, very well... say grace first.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ooh... sensitive!

So much drama, being in the Drama Club. One misspoken word over the public address system during morning announcements by one nervous announcer, and the Tech Union is all up in arms against us claiming besmirched honour and the right to satisfaction.

Note to club members: do not EVER say anything that might be construed as dissin' the equipment while holding a 'live' mike. The techs will take it as a personal affront to their profession and will sue for libel or defamation and seek punitive damages for their bruised egos.

Game face on. Time to soothe some ruffled feathers. Perhaps bringing along a sacrificial scapegoat or two might help, though maybe with things this delicate only an offering of gold, frankincense and myrrh would suffice.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Not my job

Sometimes I have to ask my kids if they are working to learn or learning to work? Work is inevitable, but the approach to the work makes all the difference. There is also no doubt that the kids are all hard working individuals, but I wonder if they are only capable of working within very narrowly defined parameters, beyond which they will unionize and go on strike.

While they don't walk out of class with their feet, from their blank stares we can tell that any problem we set for them is assumed to be pre-solved and they'll hang back and wait for an answer to appear rather than try tackle it on their own. If an activity does not seem directly related to The Exam, it's beyond their job scope, no thanks, pass. "Can I write an essay instead?" ... followed by protests of their lack of creativity, can't do this, can't do that...

When we do focus on exam-related material, they work a lot more diligently; but they're tired, bored and go with the attitude of doing the job just to get it out of the in-tray and move to the next item on the daily checklist. To them, that's a good, honest day's work.

There doesn't seem to be any spark of learning excitement, no sense of adventure or exploration, no willingness to be creative. So here we are at a dilemma: the kids resent school because it's no fun for them, it's regimented and narrowly-focused, and enforces conformity; but try to offer a different kind of learning experience and they worry they won't pass (or ace) the exams -- their raison d'etre for being in school.

I don't think this situation is confined to any particular school system, however. I daresay this is the case regardless of where the school is located on the global map. It's clearly the case in Asia, developing nations are grateful for any kind of education they can get, and since the US is currently focused on getting its grades up, they're pretty much facing the same problem on their education frontlines.

Perhaps it's time to acknowledge that formal schooling has its limitations. We train kids to be cubicle workers, and maybe I should come to terms with that. It's not too bad, being in the rank-and-file. The job may be robotic and routine, but it puts food on the table. That's all anyone can really ask for in life. Anything more is just cherries and whipped cream, which some will undoubtedly get once they leave school and forge a life of their own. But that's not my job.