At the risk of sounding like a parent who doesn’t enjoy my kids, I have to say that I am so glad to know that school is starting for all three of our kids. It’s been a great summer, but it’s also been a long summer, what with travel and various family issues.
Further, this is a big transition year as our 7yo, G-, is going into first grade this year, so he’s leaving the shimmering, fun world of kindergarten and its play to the first real step on the academic journey towards college and life. He’s anxious about it — though he won’t admit it — and truth be told, I’m anxious about it too.
Among other things, I believe that schools have a hard time with boys…
I’ve been trying to figure out whether my school had a hard time with me as a boy too and, well, yeah, I did have a rather rocky K12 experience when I was younger. Heck, I was kicked out of fifth grade because I was too disruptive. Now I can look back on the experience and realize that it was because I was bored stiff, but that didn’t make it any easier at the time.
Then in high school I was “accidentally” placed in the honors program (I’d been in the MGM or “mentally gifted minors” (ah, the thrilling names bureaucracies have for things!) program in grade school, but they didn’t track it to high school) and then two years later they tried to pull me out of the program and drop me back into regular classes. Fortunately I had a great history teacher, Donald Zimring (aka “Mr. Z”), who lobbied on my behalf, pointing out to the administration that my work was on par with the other honors students. I stayed in for 11th grade, but dropped out of all the honors programs in 12th grade because I needed some new social blood.
School is not as easy a journey as it is portrayed, in my experience, and so much of that isn’t social at all, but rather the incredible difficulty of matching academic challenges with individual students. I know I have very bright kids, and further absolutely expect that it’s going to be a significant challenge to keep them engaged as they go through the years too.
And, yes, I do believe that the energy and passion that boys bring to a classroom makes it harder for traditional educational approaches to be effective. Boys need to run, yell, break things, hit, and none of that is supported or even allowed in school, all in the interest of conformity, of safety, of diluting school down to some sort of social programming project.
Ah well, we’ll see how that goes. Meanwhile, first grade looms and I am sincerely hoping that my son does splendidly while having fun and (don’t tell Linda) being just a wee bit disruptive, because it’s boring to fit in too.