It seems to me that even in this new world of technological learning and advanced pedagogy, a few things remain true to the old. Students are not students first; they are sons and daughters in a single family structure. At the age of five they are merged by force into a new family of sorts, with several hundred siblings crammed into the same building, eating from the same kitchen, learning from the same books - and all must instantly get along. Does this make good sense to you? Who walks through the doors and what values and personal angst they bring with them creates a microcosm of society of one world under one roof for 180 days a year. Educators must juggle psychology with mind reading and DNA with duty, hoping that the social band-aids applied en masse will buy enough time for some knowledge to seep in. No matter how much progress we make in researching the way kids learn, nothing prepares us for the way some of them live.
On any given day, in any given town, in any given schoolyard, these are the thoughts on the minds of many kids before the first bell even rings. How is anyone supposed to get an education?
I want the kids in my class to like me. I just want them to like me.
I wonder if anyone will notice that I wore the same clothes twice this week.
I hope I make it to breakfast on time in the cafeteria this morning. I haven't eaten since I left school yesterday afternoon.
My parents told me not to tell the truth about where I live and where they work.
If I can avoid that mean guy in the corner hallway today, it might be a good day.
I'm so angry....and I don't know why.
I'm a liar. I had to fake my absence note because my mom was too drunk to write an excuse last night.
I told everyone that I don't want to go on the field trip. I told my parents the same thing. I know they can't afford it.
We had to move out of our house yesterday because the rent was due.
I hate Parent Night at school. My mom is in jail and it's hard to explain.
I wish I could go to the baseball game this afternoon instead of babysitting my little brother and cooking his dinner.
There's a hole in my shirt.
I don't care how I behave in school. My parents told me it's OK to say whatever I want to the teacher.
If I'm very very quiet and don't make a fuss, no one will ask me what's wrong.
I am afraid the teacher will ask me to read aloud.
The guy next to me keeps drugs in his locker. But I am not a snitch. I will never be a snitch.
I'm glad I wore a long-sleeved shirt. I hope no one notices when I have to change for gym class. My dad lost his temper last night.
My parents are getting a divorce. I heard my mom cry herself to sleep.
I am not going to bother making friends.
We are moving again next week.
I hate myself. I hate my life.
I hope nobody sees me.
Until we accept that children not only learn differently they also live differently, there's no hope for reading, writing and arithmetic on a grand scale. Schools are failing because society is failing. Society is failing because families are failing.
I don't think our buildings are large enough to house all those problems.
Perhaps they never were.