Outdated Rituals

It’s interesting that I posted about whether marriage was an outdated ritual, when I was thinking about stuff we do at school.  Meh, there’s where the outdated rituals lie!

This week something came up about having kids visit the local high school to see what it’s like.  Uhm, it’s like school only the students are BIGGER, the day is LONGER, and you have more homework.  Do we really need a tour to tell us this?  Perhaps it’s tied to this weird California thing about school choice (which, like the swim clubs is minimizing your connection to “undesirables”).  You don’t just go to your neighborhood school, you pick the best school for you (allegedly.  We are talking teenagers here).  You know, the one that meets your needs.  This makes sense with colleges where you’re looking at a field of study (we hope) that is going to serve you well as you embark on a career.  However, visiting a number of high schools to decide which one is right for you, waste of time.  Seriously.

The usual argument is that it will show kids what high school is like.  Easy:  see those high school shows on TV where it’s really cool, kids have fun, no one looks ugly or unhappy,  and there’s no work whatsoever.  Not like that.  High school will be just like every other school you’ve been to, only now you’ll have to be more responsible.

These visits/tours are often brought up as a way to increase student motivation.  Most likely because on those days, teachers don’t teach what they normally do.  It’s like breakfast cereal, for 175 days of the year, you’re serving Shredded Wheat, Special K, Cheerios or something of that ilk.  To impress incoming kids and not make it threatening, you serve Frosted Flakes or Cookie Crunch Cereal.  Yep, bait and switch.  It does wonders for motivation.

We allegedly live in a media savvy world where kids “get” what’s going on earlier, faster, and with more insight than ever before.  If that’s the case, why are we clinging to these antiquated ideas of eduction?  Do we honestly think so little of incoming students that a pretty picture and easy work will influence their educational decisions?  Furthermore, if they’re that naive, do you really want to teach them?

While we’re at it, Back to School Night and Open House need to go too.  That’s just poor PR (we can do better) and dog and pony shows put together to allow for teacher shopping. It needs to stop. Come on, give me my paradigm shift, please.

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