Today as I was brushing my hair and readying myself for work as a school librarian, the song Kodachrome by Paul Simon ran through my head, particularly the first two lines (When I think back to all the crap I learned in high school, it is a wonder I can think at all.) All the way to work I reflected on what a "crappy" education I received in high school compared to what is expected of students today.
I graduated high school in the 1970s at the height of the experimental phase of schooling where we had a sort of "build your own plan for graduation" going. I had to take a few classes but not the ones you would think. Here is a few things I remember:
- My last math class was sophomore year where I sat in the back of the class totally lost, doodling.
- I took four years of French and can barely speak a sentence.
- The only "classic" book I remember reading was The Great Gatsby, and I don't think I actually read it, just skimmed it.
- For one of my English credits I took The Bible as Literature. (Can you believe that?)
- I took judo for PE one semester, which was pretty cool. And in another PE class we had archery lessons. Can you imagine that today?
- I didn't take US History, I took some current world problems class instead.
- In my Home Ec sewing class I made a blazer. It took me all semester to finish it. It was so ugly I never actually wore it. In the cooking portion of the class we learned to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. Yummy but not exactly a healthy life skill.
- I went to the school library ONCE and it wasn't to check out a book.
- I was in a student leadership class where we discussed important things like what we should do for the next assembly.
- I liked my Chemistry class but I was really bad at it since my math skills were so low. Sigh.
- I took pottery classes, as many as I could fit in. I don't think anything has survived from my 'pottery phase', however.
- Every day we had one period off to study or walk around the school. It is bizarre to think about that. I'm sure I should have used the time to improve my math skills but I just remember visiting with friends who had the same period off as me.
- I didn't smoke, but we had a smoking spot on campus where students could go when they needed a cigarette. Gasp!
When I think back on all the crap I learned (or didn't learn) in high school, it IS a wonder I can think at all!
When you feel like criticizing today's youth for something related to education, think back on your own high school experience and compare it to what we expect from kids today. I'm pretty sure I had more fun but learned much less.