Thursday, November 04, 2010

School Randomness

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Goethe (If indeed it really was his quote-which is still being debated).
Nice quote. A weird place to deliver it though -at a high-school 'Salute to Excellence' where, lets be honest, you are getting an award because you jumped through the hoops.
Not exactly a measure of genius and boldness and all that brilliant stuff.

I was at this school at the awful hour of 8.30 am to see my daughter receive her award of excellence along with at least 300 other kids.

"You're good at school. You hand in your work on time. But will you be good at life? "

This was a question asked by a trustee of the Hamilton- Wentworth District School board at the opening ceremony  to the grades 9, 10 ,11 students receiving their awards.

It was a good question to ask but to me at least, ironic in many ways. It sounded like the case of "those who have put out their eyes now blame them for their blindness."

What can we understand by that?  Only that the school doesn't prepare you to be good at life-but to be good at school.

What an exercise in contradiction because seriously, who believes that school prepares you to be good in life? Nobody, even the school people. So why ask? 

She went on to ask that they "question society, ask the bigger ideas." And I thought, why not start by questioning the institution of schooling?

On the stage stood the banner of the school, awkward, archaic, Alius Alia Via Ad Astra Ascendit- Each Reach For The Stars In Their Own Way (but we only honour the ones who have 80% or higher).

All the time, "our talented school orchestra" (comprised of mostly kids that can afford private strings lessons) played Handel and in the aisles the students, sweating and standing waiting to receive their bits of paper, cursed and swore, and as my daughter reported, called one another 'fag' and 'homo.'

These uninterested, bored, teenagers were told by principal, school trustee and other school folks alike that they "will change the world to a world of equality, equity, tolerance, love" and what have you.

  Ironic that an a salute to excellence where the emphasis is as usual placed on the academic who are still lets face it, considered better and smarter than so called 'non academics' that they kept talking about a place of excellence "where you know who you are and have a strong sense of self-a place that speaks to your inner self."

What were they trying to say? That you've got school smarts-but that you need to use these smarts to make a better place.

Did I need to wake up early to hear this?

And really, is it only the ones with school smarts who can make this world a better place?


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog.

Our society always blames and taunts the victim of others' violence.


rfs said...

@Danae-thanks very much for the compliment. Thanks for commenting frequently.

Anonymous said...

Society values the academic mind -which really translates into the mind that has being schooled to the school's highest standards. Unfortunately, this is the kind of mind that our societies employ. SO what's to be done?

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