Sunday, January 27, 2013

Childhood in Murka

Been reading Escape From Childhood by John Holt (1974), and it has hit home.

Kids are not cute to be cute, though we teach them to be manipulative that way.

Kids are not living the best year of their lives--those of us who believe that need to get lives.

Kids do not need to know the quadratic equation in a world where they do not even need to know how to make change.

Kids deserve better than we give them, not because they are kids, but because they are people.

I teach science, and I think I do a reasonably good job at it. (On the other hand, pretty much every teacher thinks he or she does a decent job, and we all know a few that a few of us suck, so some of us must suck without realizing it. Hmmm...)

In the end, though, maybe what matters is that my students see a few adults who like kids for the people they are, and that my students see that a few adults are reasonably happy in this world.

One of my stated goals each year is to avoid turning kids off to the natural world. So far this year I've done that much.

No mean feat.....


Anonymous said...

An assessment of how badly I've screwed up this year, before January is even over, is something I have to start doing. By the time it gets to March, my list is usually too long.
Do you think the stance we share, that we should at least be nice to kids who already have too much to deal with, results in "low expectations?" Are we doing bad in the long run? It's a real question with which I struggle.

doyle said...

Dear Anonymous,

"Nice" is the last thing they need--and plenty of interested kids still fail.

It's weird, but even those who fail still come by to chat science. Tough to fail my course, but certainly possible.

John Spencer said...

"Kids are not living the best year of their lives--those of us who believe that need to get lives."

I'm constantly reminded of this with my own kids at home. My oldest son is reading Beverly Cleary books right now, along with Harry Potter. Both are realistic. Both deal with big themes. Both treat children as complex humans dealing with huge fears and big conflicts.

rborrelli said...

I read once that children in indigenous cultures (the few still remaining) are able to survive on their OWN (get food, make shelter, protect themselves) by age nine. I thought that was fascinating. That is a lot of untapped energy/ability/potential that we're squashing down.

And you posted Michael Franti. This is why we're blog friends Doyle.

doyle said...

Dear John,

Well, you get this. Many, maybe most, do not.

Dear Brazen,

It's amazing what humans can do, of any age, when not squashed down--but you know this already.

Franti is joy, joy, joy!
Tempered by truth.

This ol' Luddite still not sure what to do with "blog friends," but he'll take it....

rborrelli said...

ha! Touche. You are a friend :-)

doyle said...

Dear Brazen,

Ah, heck, not meant to be that kind of comment--I meant that as someone born in the '50's, I have a weird disjointed feeling when talking with folks only through the inet.

I have met a few of them--share a cigar with one on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean at midnight. So good things happen.

If I'm ever in Austin (and I have a decent excuse to go there), I'll buy you a Guinness.

If Guinness is legal in Texas....