Kids should like coming to school. Now there’s a revolutionary concept. All kids should like coming to school. There should be something for everyone. The academically smart kids will love to show off just how quickly they can learn. The children who excel in the arts- visual and performing- should have a place to display that talent and learn to perfect it. The skills will open their lives and their spirits. The students with athletic ability should be taught to work as a team player and as an individual star. These skills will be vital in the work place.
Some children hate school. Why is that? Easy answer. For far too many children school is a place where they are beaten down. Where their failures are put on display for all to see. I remember a teacher who punished poor students by requiring they read aloud in class so they were embarrassed into submission. What a barbarian thing to do?! We would never do that. But we do, when we test kids into submission. Children with academic challenges know full well that tests show how much they DON’T know, not how much they do know. Yet we keep rubbing their collective brains into the test.
School should be a place where kids are reinforced for their abilities. It should be a place where each child gets to shine in some portion of the school day. Imagine as an adult, that you had to go to a workplace every day. At this workplace you were constantly reminded of your shortcomings. This was a job that carried a 12-year sentence and you could not quit. You were surrounded by bosses who could embarrass you again and again- and you could not quit.
School can be a place of learning and a place of fun. Raising standards does not mean punishing children or teachers. Raising standards should mean raising the number of kids who are challenged by learning. Raising standards should mean raising a student’s achievement by starting where that child is right now and not where we think he or she should be. Just think how much more kids could learn if they actually enjoyed the process in an emotionally and physically safe place. Kids should like coming to school.