Time to light some more fires here at Dawn’s Place! 🙂 Feel free to comment; let’s get a discussion going!
I am taking a class called “Critical Issues in Education.” Basically, the teacher (and the text he is using) is trying to light fires under us, and get us mad and uncomfortable and thinking. It’s fun. 🙂 Everything is presented in a completely dichotomous way, with two sides presented as mutually exclusive. The point, of course, is that they are never mutually exclusive, and it’s good to critically examine both sides and work toward a new idea that would be better than either “side.”
One thing that comes up over and over again is the categorization of kids. Some kids are “low socio-economic” kids, and on the other side, some kids are “sheltered wealthy” kids. These labels are not always true of course, they are just generalizations. And of course, many more people fall in between those two extremes. However, my “labels” as a child would have put me on both ends. I was a “free-and-reduced lunch kid” some of the time, but I was also a “private school kid” all of the time. After teaching in some true poverty, I recognize that I identify much more with the “private school kid” label. The things kids in true poverty experience…I had it good.
There is another teacher in my class who was a “private school kid.” At one point, there was a discussion of what kids do to each other in junior high, and the two of us made eye contact with shocked looks on our faces. The boys look down the girls’ shirts??? They smack their butts? They snap their bras? They really do these things???? Of course, that’s only two pieces of anecdotal evidence about private school, but we did go to different schools. And all of the people who attended public school said, yeah, that’s just what happens in junior high.
That’s “just what happens????” Like, it’s fine? Maybe I was sheltered, but OMG!!!! I will take the sheltering. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for sheltering me from “typical” junior high boys! Like junior high didn’t have enough awkwardness and misery!
Today I’m reading an article about homeschooling for one of my projects, and it is examining some myths about homeschooled kids. One sentence begins: “The common argument is that by sheltering children from the real world…” I just have to ask, women, at what point in the real world do you get your bra snapped, your butt smacked, or your shirt looked down by a man? Furthermore, how often in the real world do you have to raise your hand before speaking, or get prizes for doing something right, or are told exactly what color of notebook, folder, and pen you need to have? Not everything that happens at school is bad, but let’s stop pretending that it’s the “real world.” We may not be sheltering students from what would be considered sexual harassment in the adult workplace, apparently, and good teachers have good reasons for what they do, but we are sheltering them from the real world. For a purpose. To prepare them for it.
I would argue that most homeschooled kids experience more of the real world than most classroom-schooled kids, whether that’s good or bad, but that’s an argument for another time.
(In the photo, you see the building where I experienced my sheltered junior high years! 🙂 )