If school is a kids’ “job”

“I tell my kids that just like me, they have to get up every morning and go to their place of work.  Mine is my job, theirs is school,”  a parent told me once.   “Except they’re lucky.  They get more than two months of vacation from their job and I have to work all year round.”

Yep, those lucky kids!   School:  A “job” they didn’t choose, don’t get paid to do and cannot quit.  (Well, actually they can.  One good resource in that regard is Grace Llewellyn’s “Teenage Liberation Handbook” .)

There was an article in the Sunday Jobs section of the New York Times titled, “To Stay on Schedule, Take a Break”.   It was all about how humans need regular breaks from mental tasks in order to “stay on task” and be more productive.   Virtually everything they talked about in this article goes against the way most schools are run.

For example:

“…taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion….”

And yet you constantly read about schools and administrators calling for longer school days and/or less “downtime” for students. (I believe advocating more “time on task” is the actual mantra).

“Symptoms of needing to recharge include drifting and daydreaming.”

Drifting and daydreaming?  Gee but you never see that in schools.

“‘Mostly…we don’t take enough breaks — especially breaks involving movement,’ says James A. Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo-Clinic…’The design of the human being is to be a mobile entity’, says Dr. Levine, who is also a proponent of standing and even walking while working and during meetings.”

Dr. Levine is my new hero.  Walking during meetings!  Can you imagine a teacher allowing kids to stand or walk around while listening to a lecture?  While reading their assignment?

No, you can’t, can you?  Because being too “mobile” during class is a sign of a problem child who can’t concentrate or sit still and pay attention and who probably has ADHD.

Or maybe they’re just a normal, healthy human being who finds long periods of inactivity restrictive physically and mentally.

Parents who like to tell their kids that school is their “job” are giving schools too much credit and selling jobs short.

Not to mention lying.

One comment on “If school is a kids’ “job”

  1. Miriam says:

    Interesting. When I was in school, several teachers said that school was our “job”. However, they also said that since most parents did not bring their work home with them to do, we had time in school to do our homework and rarely had to take anything home. We also had regular breaks (recesses), and even in high school, we moved between each class (5 minute breaks); 55 minute class, 5 minute break. I don’t know about the breaks between classes in high school, but almost all the other stuff has gone away.

Leave a Comment