I remember 7th grade shop class with Mr. Fitzhugh. Anytime you would sneeze he would think you were making fun of him. It pissed him off something serious that he would paddle anyone that had allergies…poor kids. The reason why I remember that class so much has nothing to do with how paranoid he was. It had more to do with the feeling I got when we built a scaled corner of a house. Drainage, siding, base joints, electric, Air Conditioning, shingles…the works. I remember sitting back and marveling at what my team and I had accomplished. Looking back, that class was a nice release from reading and math. However it was one of three an electives and I didn’t feel like being in Mrs. Bozarth’s Art Class. She talked to her pencils…she was an odd woman.
Recently, I have been reading about how a certain generation of students complain they are not prepared for the real world. They profess, “we know how to read and write, do math, and take tests, but don’t know how to change a tire, or cook a meal.” They complain that although they can recite states and capitals, but have no knowledge about credit or health insurance. Silly millennials even gave it a name #adulting. There is a movement afoot to make adulting a class subject on par with English/Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. I am not a subscriber to this. Here are five reasons why adulting should never be a class:
5. SOMETHINGS CAN ONLY BE LEARNED THROUGH EXPERIENCE!
Call me old fashioned, but I am a firm believer in learning things the hard way. I grew up in a broken home with three brothers. Mom worked nights so I had to learn how to cook, clean, and take care of myself at the age of ten. My first attempt at scrambled eggs burned the skillet so bad the fire department needed to be called. Through trial and error, I learned that you needed to have milk, or butter, or something in the pan to keep it from sticking. Oh yeah, and stir. I always tell my students that often times LIFE is the greatest teacher you will have. Life is a greater educator than any stuck up Ivy League school will ever be. As teachers, the only thing we can do is arm you with a few tools to use in this life. We can give you situations, and scenarios, but the only way you will learn to cope with the curve balls of life is to experience them, use the scientific method, and keep moving forward.
Schools these days are so cash strapped its not even funny. School funding is very tricky! Especially when districts have to prove to the state, and parents that their children can read, complete some math problems, know a little bit about the world to avoid starting wars they can’t finish, and melt the polar ice caps. I loved shop class. I loved home economics. It was called Senior Foods. Making little cakes and casseroles was a lot of fun. I got a third meal for the day! But it was an elective. I chose that class as part of my day because not only did I have a huge crush on Jamie Thompson, but I wanted to learn some life skills. Its a good thing High Schools have these options. Some school districts can barely afford the teacher to teach the class and the implements that go with, because of the criminal way schools are funded. Taxpayers, and politicians, use school test scores in math and reading as the measure of student success. Therefore money has to be put forth to that purpose. Until, people decide to march on their state houses with torches and pitchforks and push the bums out of office…..state mandated testing is where the money is going to go to. By the way if you paid attention in social studies class…you would know that popular sovereignty is what makes changes.
3. LOOK IT UP…. JACK WAGON!
Ever need a cheap one pan recipe to feed ya for the week? Take a look at Maebells.com. She’s got great recipes! I really like the one pan spicy pork chops. Its part of my regular rotation. Need to know how to change a tire. I’m sure there is a video on YOU TUBE. Don’t know what your credit score is? You can find out all about it….by looking on…THE INTER WEBS… Internet….whatever. You have the entire worlds knowledge available to you at the touch of a key pad, or the swipe of the phone! Don’t have a computer? Don’t have a phone? Maybe you have both but cannot afford the outrageous cost of internet access? There is a place. It is called the library. Yes, that place with the books. There you can pretty much find anything. My students are always marveled at how I survived without a smart phone or internet. I learned by reading…books! That’s right! So, that skill that we taught you about how to read, and more importantly understand and apply what your read….WILL ACTUALLY HELP YOU LEARN HOW TO #ADULT. Oh wait… you mean, what you learn in school actually helps in real life? Shocker!
2. WE DON’T NEED MORE ENABLERS…WE HAVE ENOUGH!
I knew a guy, my roommate after college, we’ll call him Drunk. That’s what he was most of the time. We were in our 20’s…so you know what that was like. Anyway, drunk marveled at me because I knew how to take care of myself. I remember him asking me what it was that I was pouring into the washer? I told him laundry detergent. He stared at me and said “you mean you actually use that?” I shook my head yes. He looked at me as if I had three heads and seriously asked me,”You just don’t use hot water on your clothes?” Funny thing about Drunk…he had the hottest girlfriend. She was a ballet dancer with some company in Chicago, and she cleaned up for him, did his laundry, cooked his meals. I asked her one time why not just make him do it. She smiled, and said, ” I like doing things for him. If I told him how to do it…well it just wouldn’t get done the way I want it.” Then she stared at me, like I was a threat to her master plan. It was scary. Lesson here…don’t be an enabler, let people learn things for themselves. Not everyone gets an exotically gorgeous, controlling, ballet dancer, girlfriend who actually enjoys cooking and cleaning for you. Have a little self respect.
1. #ADULTING?!! MORE LIKE #PARENTING!
PARENTS…STOP USING TEACHERS AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT DO YOUR JOBS! Legally teachers serve as “in loco parentis,” meaning in place of the parents. However, this is not a 24 hour job. My favorite response from a parent phone call was, “Well he’s your problem from 8 to 4! I don’t bother you at home while he is acting a fool here!” If more parents spent a little time making sure there child learns a few basic skills, well then, we wouldn’t have some of these problems. My mother is an amazing woman! She raised four boys on $9.25 an hour, as a nurse working nights. After school, we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves. Some would call that sad. At times it was. It was up to us. We had to make the best decisions we could, based on what we were shown. Dad had a blow out on the highway coming back from a baseball game. Some parents would tell their kids to stay in the car. My dad, got all four of out and showed us how to operate the jack. How to take off the lug nuts. How to put the spare on…so on and so forth. Both my parents took the time to show us the skills we will need for the rest of our lives. He taught us work ethic, how to balance a checkbook. He once told me, to live as if he were not around. A good lesson. Dad tried to teach us about investments and money…but we didn’t learn that one. Hence why I am writing this blog. Life…the ultimate teacher!