Monday, November 09, 2009

Yellow Brick Road

It is funny how I started with blog with the best of intentions and now seem to be using it as a vent for all of my supressed and poorly-expressed rage. I am attending a concert tonight at the Recher Theater in Towson, Maryland. The headlining band is Hatebreed and the tour's name is the "Decimation of the Nation" tour. I have no idea what that implies, but it most likely refers to the fact that 99.9 (repeating, of course)% of all concert goers who attend shows like this do not take proper auditory precautions. I will be stopping by a CVS in order to buy earplugs before attending.

Anyhow, I mentioned to a friend of mine that I would be attending this show and he immediately asked me,
"Why are you so angry?"
I responded by saying,
"I am an extremely happy person as a result of these people being so angry."
In a way, these concerts and this type of music is a way for me to outsource the rage that builds in me on a regular basis.

The point I am trying to make with this post is that I feel as if certain elements of a high school education have been removed from many students' equations. These elements might have been considered "negative" or "mentally damaging" but those buzzwords are simply that. I am not talking about being beaten at the high school I attended for chatting out of turn, or getting a shoe in the ass for illegally betting against a teacher in a history class on the wrong football team. Those experiences were both worthwhile and "mentally damaging" in their own right, but I am referring to those particular aspects that I had forever thought to be part and parcel of a young person's high school experience. Things like, being horrified of a particular teacher for no other reason than the rumors upperclassmen spread about him or her. Failing a test for the first time ever because you procrastinated and your parents locked you in your room for 2 weeks. The ever-laudable, not doing your work for 3 weeks in a row because you had "emotional problems" (which really just boil down to you wanting to watch television or nowadays "HULU"). All of these experiences people of my generation and those before them lived through and, hopefully, learned from.

My job experience (and please remember it is limited to a very small cross section of students) lends me to believe that parents these days, in attempting to always make life better for their children than what they had as young people, are attending too much to children's "needs" and not allowing nearly enough education to happen passively or on an experiential basis. The safety net that is cast by virtually all private schools in order to help teachers protect themselves from extremely aggressive parents also allows students, with many times minimal effort, to skate through the system and obtain high school diplomas.

Somewhere along the line, parents (and this does not pertain to all, but to an ever-increasing majority) began to think that it would not be suitable for their children to learn via negative experience. My mother and father believed wholeheartedly in supporting me when it was necessary, but also in the idea that, "Hey, that idiot blind kid with the coke bottle lenses touched the hot pot on the again. Do you think he'll learn when they have to saw his mangled finger off that the damned pot was hot?" That was extreme, but applies here. Parents have gotten much more hands on in the past decade with regard to understanding how their students learn, what makes them tick, and how they can best succeed in a multitude of different, difficult environments, but in this attempt at getting to know their children better and help them succeed, have we neutered their abilities to think for themselves and learn intuitively?


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