Leif's turn!

You might be wondering why the dogs have a front and centre seat to Leify’s launch. We were asking ourselves that too, right after the rocket flew and Oscar had the bejesus scared out of him! In retrospect we’d planned to shoot the rocket on the grass and ended up moving it last minute because of the way the wind was blowing. Poor Oscar.

Hayden's turn

Hayden’s rocket went even higher than the previous launches and he pushed the button so fast that only I saw it fire!

A small group of teens, curiously not in class like all the other kids seemed to be, stopped to watch the rocket launches. Clearly they wanted to take part in the fun and were a little confused when we invited them to speculate as to how the rockets worked. I can only suppose that this group of ragamuffins are used to being ignored and shunned. We included them like the equals they are.

I run at this track every other day at various times in the morning which gives me an interesting look at different classes, teachers, students and free time (is it still called recess?). This view leaves me feeling compassion for the many teens who don’t “fit in” or are treated by the teachers with little respect but mostly this view solidifies my disdain for the school system in general. I can’t totally blame the teachers for their shameless contempt and apathy. Society in general seems to act this way towards kids and teens more specifically. Many of the teenagers I meet live up to these low expectations and are often supremely apathetic and unkind.

When I run, in true Canadian fashion, I try to smile and say hi to those that I pass. Many times the kids or teachers smile back, sometimes with a “hi” or “I love your dog”. Other times the kids stare right through me or make less than subtle comments about my reddened face or my apparent lack of fashion sense. Oh, to suffer such a cruel sense of fashion which allows no room for variation from the rigid expected standards.

I wish school looked different than it does. At the very least, I wish the teachers were engaging the students and working with them with respect and decency. It would be nice if the teachers modelled a way of being that could in turn be admirably termed ‘cool’ instead of trying to be the kid’s current version of ‘cool’ which looks more like being dismissive and arrogant.

Rockets are tons of fun, at least until one gets hung up in a tree. Then you have to hop some fences, wade through a frigid creek, sneak onto a golf course and climb onto a friend’s shoulders and into a tree. Not even help from the gang of ragamuffins could get our rocket out of the tree’s clutch. Cam went for a ladder but that was the end of rocket launching for the day.

8 Responses to Rockets and School Ruminations

  1. Kim says:

    Rockets! Fun!
    A lot of what you wrote about teacher’s views on teens is what finally prompted me to start homeschooling my 16 year old just two months ago. My daughter doesn’t fit in, never has really and all but a very small handful of teachers over the last 11 years in school has understood her. Too many times, I hear from Ally how she’s hated by her teachers and in those classes, she fails (when before she had those teacher’s she’d excel in). When a child hears how they’re failures over and over, then that’s what they start to believe. And I’m working hard to undo years of harm that’s been done to my daughter so she can believe more fully that she is most certainly NOT a failure.

  2. Dawn Suzette says:

    I do hear you about the teens. The idea of a teenager is such a made up concept when you think about it over time. I am sure that many of the “teen” issues we have stem from the fact that in the past they would have already been viewed as adults, or well on their way there, but we are caging them up in school so they can “learn” how to function in the world. Such a crock.
    I taught high school for six years and always loved those students that were on the fringe. I am sure they gravitated to me because I treated them like the amazing creative humans they were.
    I could go on and on but I will stop now!
    And… the rockets are super cool.

  3. elementsofmylife says:

    I had no idea that the rockets piece was going to lead to a discussion about school. It was a nice surprise actually and I bet those teenagers thought so too.

    Before doing my teacher training I spent a lot of time coming to terms with my desire to teach and at the same time not wanting to perpetuate the things that so troubled me in my education. I’m so glad that I found Waldorf because I don’t think there’s another way that would work for me.

    I’m so glad you’re following your truth and providing a better way for your children and reminding me to be clear on my truth too!

  4. Annie says:

    Kim- Oh how I wish my parents had done the same for me back in elementary school! My traumatising school experience is part of why we choose to home learn as well. Makes me a bit teary to think of how willing you were to make your daughter’s life that much better.

    Dawn- You and I are so on the same page!

    L- I like Waldorf too. One thing I like is the intention. Intention in creating the programs taught there, intention of teachers to teacher in a school like that, intention for the parents to send their kids to a school like that.

    Many people send their kids to school as a matter of convenience or because ‘that’s what people do’. The parents are often just as apathetic as the teachers and students. What a sad life for all!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I am reading your post as a natural mother who uses cloth diapers, runs a breast feeding group in my town, and feeds my family natural homemade food, lots from our big garden. I have a fine arts degree and my home is full of creativity and simple natural toys and art. I am also a teacher so I find some of your comments about teachers’ apathy and contempt a bit hurtful. My classroom is full of creativity, freedom, love and support. I create a discovery based learning environment where kids have a lot of freedom and choice. The students are excited to start each day and I love them all like my own children. I have three children myself. One school age. My 6 year old loves school and loves his teacher. You are free to make your comments as it iIS your blog and I suppose that is what some of your readers are looking for but I just wanted to share the perspective that all of these ideals are also present in the school system and are more the norm than the exception. I am enjoying your blog and used your bath bomb recipe for some Christmas gifts this year.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I wanted to add that perhaps hurtful is not the correct feeling. I am confident in my beliefs and I appreciate yours too. I just wanted to share my belief that there is also a place for all the beautiful ideals you share in your blog within the school system and that most teachers that I know embrace these ideas fully in their classrooms and their homes and also believe that learning happens all day and everywhere.

  7. Annie says:

    If only so many teachers approached their work from the same perspective! Elizabeth, I wonder if you think all teachers and schools in this province have the same care and approach that you do? My experience would say that there are teachers and even schools that are fairly good and healthy but that isn’t even close to being the norm. The general school culture is very flawed for a variety of reasons. (Government starving programs, large class sizes, over worked teachers, disgruntled teachers, parents not caring….) I certainly think we (parents, teachers, schools) should always be striving to do better than we are. Do you not agree that there is always room for improvement?

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Everything is a work in progress and yes there is always room for improvement.

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