It. is. the. LAST. day. of. school.
This year’s krewe has been by far the most challenging of my educational career and I am ready for the break.
From the students.
And their parents.
And from some of my colleagues.
My students don’t believe me when I tell them that in the days before television, kids got summers off to help their parents work in the fields to tend the crops and help bring in the family’s income.
They think summers have always been a time to goof off, play video games, and get into trouble.
Why heck when I was a kid (don’cha just love stories that start off this way?), we didn’t have to work in the fields with our parents but we used to go to summer school because we wanted to. No kidding!
One year my oldest brother and I took a science class together. Even though I was three grades ahead of him, he was still allowed in the class. We had a blast in there. Literally. Especially the day we learned how to make hydrogen and received an extra-special surprise when the experiment went as it was supposed to go: an ear-splitting “POP!” when the cork flew out of the beaker.
And yes, I really did walk two miles to and from school. Crossing a busy highway and tripping over the railroad tracks.
Sorry tatertots, there was no snow and I wore shoes every day. We lived in Central California … the “fruit basket of the world” and “Gateway to Yosemite!”
Although we lived in military housing for part of the time, my friends and I would amble into the nearby grape vineyard and pick the unripened grapes and get stomach aches from the bitter fruit. I will never forget the angry farmer with the shotgun full of rock salt pellets threatening to shoot at us if we didn’t LEAVE. HIS. CROPS. ALONE!
Summer school back then was fun. You looked forward to taking an array of classes that weren’t taught during the regular school year. And my brothers and I took a boatload of ’em! Okay, we took as many as we were allowed to take.
Summer school today, in my district anyway, is only for kids that didn’t pass their state assessments (in the elementary grades) and kids that didn’t pass two or more classes (in the secondary grades).
I think summer school should be redesigned. We need to create a cooperative with the neighboring farmers and ranchers and start offering summer credit for kids that will work in the agricultural field (no pun intended) rather than stay at home and get into trouble because there’s nothing to do but play video games.
In the words of one of the local television editorialists, “That’s my opinion, now let’s hear from you.”