Guest Blogger Jenny Oelkers, also known in the office as “Mean Jenny,” falls asleep during movies all the time, has no rhythm and simply loves being a mom. She works on marketing and public relations for Learner’s Edge.
I regularly read blog posts from marketing guru Seth Godin. He is smart, insightful and keeps things basic. I read his blog post, What’s High School for? the other day and it struck me funny – I’d love to hear your thoughts. He says, Perhaps we could endeavor to teach our future the following:
- How to focus intently on a problem until it’s solved.
- The benefit of postponing short-term satisfaction in exchange for long-term success.
- How to read critically.
- The power of being able to lead groups of peers without receiving clear delegated authority.
- An understanding of the extraordinary power of the scientific method, in just about any situation or endeavor.
- How to persuasively present ideas in multiple forms, especially in writing and before a group.
- Project management. Self-management and the management of ideas, projects and people.
- Personal finance. Understanding the truth about money and debt and leverage.
- An insatiable desire (and the ability) to learn more. Forever.
- Most of all, the self-reliance that comes from understanding that relentless hard work can be applied to solve problems worth solving.
My initial reaction was, “Seriously? What more can we ask our teachers to do for our kids?”
- Teachers are continually drilled to improve test scores.
- U.S. Schools have more than 5 million LEP students in their classrooms.
- Teachers are working with students at completely opposite ends of the academic spectrum with varied needs.
- I can imagine that teachers would love to focus on the skills noted, but they just don’t have the time.
After I took a few deep breaths, I am choosing to think that perhaps the blog post is just slightly mistitled. Perhaps it should be named “What we should venture to teach during the high school years?” I think these are great qualities to teach young adults in their high school years, but I don’t think it should be the high schools’ responsibility to teach these skills. I agree with and love 100% of the list; I whole-heartedly believe the skills noted are absolutely critical to develop throughout the teenage years. But let’s make a shout out to parents.
As a parent, I want to be the one my kids look to in understanding the value of hard work. I want to be the one they look to for advice on personal finance (okay, maybe I need to pull in an outside resource for this one), I want to be the one who instills the desire in my children to be life-long learners and to read and think critically. My wish, even though I know that for some families it’s very challenging, is that parents can focus on these skills at home so that schools have a much easier job reinforcing these valuable traits.
It seems that, after elementary school, schools and parents become more and more distant. There are fewer opportunities for parent involvement at higher grade levels, and less communication between teachers and parents. And honestly, it’s just dang hard to do for both the parents and the teachers. So, as a parent, I will strive to teach these traits to my kids and hope that they are blessed with some amazing teachers and coaches throughout their teenage years so that we can work in parallel to raise healthy, well-adjusted, hard-working young adults.
Between parents and schools, teamwork is a fantastic concept, but it’s sometimes so difficult to achieve.