This is Me in Grade 9…Baby

” I found my locker and I found my classes” BNL

This week marked the beginning of our son’s career in high school. Over 30 years have passed since my high school debut, back in 1979. Back then, as I squeezed my red Adidas gym bag and boom box on the the bus, I imagined that the high school experiences my children would have would be much more…modern. Maybe they’d be zooming to school in a Jetson-like hover car to work on space age computer tablets (like on Star Trek). Well, no hover car yet but…the tablet.

After a bleary-eyed drive to the school, we, students and parents, shuffled into an hour-long assembly to learn about school expectations, programs and routines. Staff were given a quick introduction and off we went to pick up the timetable, student agenda and I.D. card and find the locker.  All in all, the process went smoothly; the fact that only the grade nine class was in attendance helped keep the crowds small, and it was evident that there had been a high level of advance preparation and organization. Nice touch having the parents there. Not sure how our son felt but he did sit with us. As a rule, slowing down while I jumped out of the family car was as close as I ever wanted my parents to to get to my high school.

It is remarkable to me, however, how little has changed in 30 years. On the surface, the routines and structures are almost the same, even though the items and vices may have changed. The same energy and doggedness that used to go into stamping out smoking on the school grounds now seems to be directed at texting and cell phone use. My son is exited that he can access of  his course ware and textbooks are online, but what of the content and context. Will he develop the creative, adaptive and critical thinking capacities that our world will demand of him? We’ll see.

I am encouraged by a conversation we had about something new my son learned in school (and not just because we were actually having a conversation about something he learned in school). My son was telling me that he’d learned that  half of the top 10 jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago. In 1979, we all pretty much knew what we could be, or even would be. He shared that  he felt good about that, since he wasn’t  really sure what he wanted to do yet anyway. And, my son assured me that he planned to keep learning so he’d be ready when he knew. I’m counting on my colleagues, his teachers, to make it so.

After all, somebody needs to invent a fricking hover car!

  1. Royan Lee
    August 17, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    OK another sorts analogy:

    Your kid sounds like the ‘disgruntled shortstop’ or ‘misunderstood power forward’ who just needed a fresh start to win a championship.

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