“…My child, beware of “good enough,”
It isn’t made of sterling stuff;
It’s something anyone can do,
It marks the many from the few…”
I’m finding myself incredibly and immeasurably disheartened with the state of our public education system, and the lack of importance they appear to be putting on, well, education.
I don’t quite know when the shift happened, but somewhere along the line we’ve lost site of what we need to be teaching our children. Our future.
The importance we once placed on excelling, and challenging ourselves has long since disappeared. Extracurricular activities that focus on enhancing their education and stimulating their brains have all but disappeared – at least they have in our division.
I’ve been researching science fairs recently, as my daughter adores science, and is always thirsting for more knowledge and information. I found absolutely nothing within our home school, or division and went on a broader search which netted great rewards. Thankfully, I’ve stumbled across the Manitoba Schools Science Symposium which hosts a fair the final week of April at the University of Manitoba and is open to all students from grades 4 to 12.
If this symposium is open to all students, why am I not receiving a correspondence through my school informing me of this potential? We don’t hold a school wide fair, there are no spelling bees, we’ve done away with percentages on report cards as it is not a ‘adequate way to determine how a child is excelling in class’.
In trying to fill out the student information form, I find our school isn’t even listed in the drop down menu. There are dozens of schools from our division listed, but not ours. Why are we not encouraging these young minds to think, and explore and risk failure? Why is the status quo just good enough? Are we afraid of hurting their feelings? Life is a competition, whether we like it or not.
These kids need to realize that they are competing with their classmates and peers for scholarships, class availability and jobs, and they need to find what it is that will set them apart from the pack. Settling on good enough will not set them apart and just getting by is not an acceptable standard to be setting. The bar is so low, we keep walking into it.
This September, during meet the teacher night, my first inquiry was around the expectations of homework that teacher would be setting. We were informed that due to the high enrollment of extra curricular activities most children engage in, she doesn’t hand out homework so it doesn’t interfere. Interfere.
Since when is homework interference in our life? It’s enriching their minds, shaping their future and ensuring they have a handle on the necessary curriculum, and it certainly is not to be viewed as a hinderance to our social lives. If our educators place no importance on doing well, and see no value in repetition and growth, where are we headed? When the school decides that testing the students places too much of a strain on them, what are we gaining? ‘In order to do what others can’t, you need to be willing to do what others wont’.
When kids are complaining of boredom in the class, are expressing a desire to be challenged it is the responsibility of us as parents to champion them, approaching our educators and maybe reminding them why they got into teaching to begin with.
When teachers and students alike are using their phones for personal use during class, we have slipped too far down a slope of mediocrity, and it’s time we clawed our way back up.
When you can see the desire to learn, the excitement and the spark slowly leave the eyes of your child and her classmates as they settle into the doldrums of coasting, it’s soul crushing. We are watching the potential of our future drain in a defeated sigh that sounds a lot like ‘good enough’.