In the past, finals were given in June and students would patiently await their scores praying that they passed. If they did not, they were either retained or were remanded to summer school.
Today however, finals are taken in April and students don’t know if they passed until the next school year and their scores have nothing to do with moving up to the next grade. In fact, retention is rarely an option and summer school has become something you must apply to get into not work to stay out of.
With only nineteen days of school left teachers are working diligently trying to keep students engaged in learning. This is the time when field trips become an abundant resource and all the “fun” of learning can be had. During these last days, some teachers utilize students by having them help pack up their belongings, wash off desks, clean out closets, and cover shelves, all the things teachers are given one paid day to do.
Students, being under the distinct impression that school is over, pay little attention to anything being taught. In fact, they seem resentful towards those teachers who try to squeeze the last ounce of learning out of the school year. They actually seem more content packing, washing, cleaning and covering than they do working on projects or going on field trips.
Way back when, learning was difficult for most children. However, when you received your final report card and you passed, you felt a sense of accomplishment. You knew you worked hard to make it through, you earned your place in the next grade.
There is no sense of accomplishment for students today. They know they’re moving up, and with very little effort. There is an unearned sense of entitlement that detracts from the goal of education, to create critical thinkers.
The system of education has changed and our children are the worse for it. They are no longer players in the game, they have become pieces being moved by an irresistible force, failure.
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