Friday, July 2, 2010

High School Daze

You can tell its summer time in Oklahoma when wheat dust, grill smoke, and the acrid smell of fire works fills the air. Its a relaxing time, but also a little busy at the same time. Tomorrow, I've got my 10 year high school reunion. Hard to believe its been 10 years already! Not to mention the fact that I'm still in school, sort of. Like most people, I had a small group of actual friends, and everyone else fell into the category of "acquaintances." In a graduating class of about 100 kids, you're pretty much forced to interact with everyone at some point. 10 years later, a person can really examine the pros and cons of their high school experience with clearer eyes. Could I have made it better? Of course, everyone knows they could have done better, tried harder in some way. Who knows?

There's not much point in dwelling on the past in such ways. Although, as a teacher, not using my own high school experience to try and enhance the experience of my students would be a waste. As much as I enjoyed a number of my history teachers in high school, its just a fact that I wasn't taught the nitty gritty that makes history fascinating and vital to a free society. The No Child Left Behind experiment of the last decade (and the failed experiments before it) has made history and social studies back burner subjects. There's currently a generation of kids who aren't being taught basic truths. The Constitution isn't being read in class, controversial issues are ignored to keep the peace, and spineless relativism is the dominant philosophy being passed on to students. Teachers who teach truth face discrimination and unemployment. Politically correct curriculum has replaced fact-based study. Schools in Massachusetts refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but have no problem handing out condoms to elementary school children without parental consent. How does this make any sense to a logical, rational, thinking human being?

As I try to decide whether or not to pay for an over priced meal at the reunion, I think its also important to use this opportunity to try and find ways to make the future better. Teachers have a unique place in our society, in most societies for that matter. They have the power to create or destroy the futures of millions of children. Am I being a little hyperbolic? Sure, why not. But, I don't think I'm that far off.

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