This post started out as Why do I still care, but it got too long, and eventually morphed into an over the top Why am I still angry. It will probably just be one of those rants I write for my own good, and never publish. I obviously have some things on my mind as school gets ready to start up, and I will not be going back, for the second year. Yes, I am still having back to school dreams, just like every other teacher…
In the middle of starting that post, I began listing a few things that occurred regularly during my 21 years at my old school – that are now gone – things that I really missed. As I thought about them before writing them down, I got real sad. The kids at my school loved these things, and so did I:
- a swimming program for grades 3 – 5 every week
- a school store for the kids (they spent “points”)
- the Mile Run
- the Hoop Shoot
- annual classroom musicals
- a Talent show
- a school choir – a video
- kids blogging (available to the public, still)
- classrooms sharing their work with everyone
- popcorn Fridays every week
- pepperoni Wednesdays every week
- open Library during recesses
- decorating grocery bags for Earth Day
- all school picnic at Lincoln Park
- an alternating annual Science Fair or Art Show
- after school sports (free)
- after school chess club (free)
- computer lab open to community after school (free)
- full day Kindergarten (free for all) After school programs and all day Kindergarten are now available. Only children whose parents can afford it get to go.
Times were certainly very different, and there are many reasons those events do not continue. But the fact remains that there is now a void for the kids – a void once filled with events just for fun – some were definitely learning opportunities – but none had anything to do with standardized tests, scripted learning, or competitive academics.
The things I miss built character, encouraged collaboration and socialization, stretched artistic and physical boundaries, and pushed kids to take chances of all kinds.
For a peek back into a different time, take a look at a few editions of the Jr. Seahawk Newsletter. Just choose a few issues at random – there are 18 years worth of student writing! The kids wrote about things they cared about and wanted to tell the world about. They were just having a good time, growing up. One example: the kids wrote about the event below in April/May 1997.