It is often said that school days are the best days of our lives.
Considering that I have had far more days at school than not (as student and teacher) then I should probably agree, else I’d be saying that most of my days haven’t been the best.
For many adults it is not the in-class time that is most memorable or of which they have the most pleasant memories, it is the playtimes and the before and after walking to and from school times.
For some children, the in-class time drags while they daydream of long summer holidays and activities with family and friends. Other children thrive with the structured learning, soaking up everything offered to them.
In her post, School: A Suitable Place for Fiction? Anne Goodwin wrote that she is ‘always pleasantly surprised when children these days claim to enjoy school’. On the other hand, in a comment left on previous post here, Lori Schafer said that all her life she had ‘failed to understand why most children don’t like school. Why don’t they enjoy learning, and why don’t they enjoying studying, and why don’t they enjoy writing papers? Because, of course, there are a small percentage of us who do genuinely appreciate the discipline of schooling.’ She was one of them.
In his post, School’s Out – and Education’s In, Geoff Le Pard said that ‘People confuse school with education, as if they were synonymous’. (I have written a poem to express differences I see between education and schooling. You can read it here.) He goes on to say that ‘education is a constant, not a time limited schooling experience’ and disagrees with the cliché that school days are the best. He says that ‘all those days and bits of days when learning occurs make up the best days of your life’. I agree with Geoff that learning new things, particularly things one has an intrinsic motivation to learn, gives great joy.
Irene Waters said in her post about school that she loved her primary school days. As the end of her high school years approached, unable to see the point in continuing, Irene wanted to leave and start her nursing career. Her parents convinced her to stay and finish year twelve. While she didn’t at the time, she now appreciates the value in having done so and is grateful that her ‘parents laid down the law’.
Talking about education and schooling is nothing new for me, that’s what my blog is about after all. However for a lot of people, once finished, school is a thing of the past and not much thought is given to it later. The reason why so many others are talking about it this week is the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Each week Charli challenges writers to pen a 99 word story about a particular topic. This week her topic is school.
In her post, Charli describes an abandoned one-room schoolhouse that is close to her home. She explains that these schoolhouses ‘were often among the first structures built by pioneers’ and comments on the importance that was placed on education in those pioneering days. Indeed education has been important throughout the history of humankind. It is what sets us apart from other creatures.
In the words of Jean Piaget,
I have touched on these aspects of education in previous posts and will definitely do so again in future posts.
In a tweet Anne Goodwin hinted that she thought I may find this post difficult to write as I have so many options to choose from. Charli Mills thought I might mention how we wrote on slates when I was at school (my children would probably have suggested I write about using dinosaur bones to scratch crude messages in the sand!)
Instead, I thought about the strategies schools use to create uniformity, and of the many pathways that one may take through life after finishing school. I hope the analogy makes sense to you.
The final school bell tolled and the students erupted from the building like a burst box of chocolate balls, scattering in every direction and at varying speeds. Some stuck together along pathways safe and sure. Others crashed and bumped over roads less traveled seeking excitement, new discoveries and secrets to explore. Others stopped abruptly, their journeys foiled by stubborn obstacles. Still others, rolling upwards, failed to maintain the momentum to carry them over and beyond with those more adventurous others.
Who would know?
Inside the box, they were identical, centers hidden. Outside, their uniqueness was on show.
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