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home : opinions : columns November 20, 2014


8/6/2014 6:00:00 AM
COLUMN: School Daze a'coming
Bob Weete, columnist
Bob Weete, columnist
Bob Weete
Essay

Oh, boy, school is about to start up again. Are you ready for it? If you are a teacher, you are probably dreading it, because of all the free vacation you have had. Unless, of course, you have spent your summer "vacation" attending summer school to pick up a couple of courses you need. Or, you have needed to teach summer school because you needed that little bit of extra money to put into your bank account.

If you are a student, and you are in an elementary school, you probably have mixed feelings. Probably sorta anxious to get back into school, because you have run out of things to do, and you are bored. However, if you are a sixth grader, and were excited because you thought you were going to be in the middle school this year, well you may be disappointed as you will not be going to the middle school; you will stay in the same elementary school you had last year.

If you are going to be in seventh grade, you will still be in grade school. And you probably don't quite know why you'll still be in elementary school. And you probably are not absolutely sure why this is happening. And you're wondering how that will be worked out. What classes will you have? Who will be your teacher, and how will your classes be set up?

I can understand your concern, but I can also understand some things you must do. My mother frequently told me: "Don't get mad; you'll just have to get glad again." And that is so true. As kids, there are a lot of times when you don't get things the way you want them. Trust me. It happens to adults, too. But the main thing is that those times in your life are meant to be part of your growing up to be a better person.

I know, but you wanted... You will survive. Really. Disappointments are a part of your young lives for a meaningful reason. The more you learn that this is a part of your life, the more you learn to survive, to grow stronger, so that you get practice in how to overcome the glitches and move on in a positive way. "Suck it up", they say.

"I never promised you a rose garden", they say. I grew up learning little statements like these, that have been passed down, generation after generation, and they are words of wisdom that those who came before us used to help us get through life's little problems that are so common to all of us.

When we learn these points of wisdom, we learn that we have been given the power to avoid or hop over the pebbles in our paths so that we can make better choices if there comes a big rock and we allow ourselves to see ourselves as victims, and then we go around with our eyes down, instead of looking straight ahead to see the next obstacle facing us and we can choose to steer clear and move peacefully on, or to allow that "thing" to take us down.

Frankly, I agree that this sudden decision to make this change was not made with much consideration for the people who actually experience the results. Had it been made a year ago, with a good deal of sharing of details why this is "good for the kids", then there probably would not be the resistance to this act by parents and kids.

It is "hard" for people, young and old, to have to just suck it up because this is what the board is going to do, anyway. They have already told us that. A reasonable and real caring decision would have been to plant the seed, water it with information, get the sunshine of that information warm it, and the change could, I believe, have resulted in more understanding, and actual cooperation.

I do know, from my own experience, that there will always be someone who does not like change. That is a given. But when a major change like this affects so many kids, parents, and teachers (who, I understand, had no clue, either), it is naturally going to make the change more difficult.

When I have to take my car in to a mechanic for some kind of repair, I have to have the trust in him and his skills, to use the best methods and tools to fix my car, as I am not trained in that respect. And a parallel can be found in the schools, too. We send our kids to school to learn, to prepare them academically, for life. The school must create an atmosphere of trust in the parents; I believe that is part of their job, too.

So, kids - and parents - "Don't get mad; you'll just have to get glad, again," and school administrators, you can't just say "it's good for the kids" and have the constituency just accept that, if you first don't get their trust.




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