Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tales from Public School 1

This will probably be an ongoing series for a while. I intend to chronicle the silly, the ridiculous, and the downright stupid that I notice in my older girl's public school. Texas is now 2 days into the 2011-2012 school year. Here's what has tickled my funny bone so far:

The first day of school, Mindie came home talking about her classes. This year they have a new class called "Teen Leadership." Apparently the purpose of this class is to, in Mindie's words, "teach us how to work in groups and feel good about ourselves." I'm going to refrain from commenting on how often those two are mutually exclusive goals. What I would like to point out is how the teacher began this class. They were to introduce themselves by standing up and saying, "I'm [name] and I like myself." I asked Mindie if this increased her self esteem. Her eyes rolled back up in her head and she replied, "Yeah. Because if I say it enough it'll be true, right? I'm Mindie and I like myself. I'm Mindie and I like myself." She continued the chant for a while, becoming increasingly silly with it. This is one of my pet peeves with "self esteem" as preached by public schools. Apparently, to hear educators talk, self esteem is something that can be obtained through repeating untrue mantras and collecting hollow compliments. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of self esteem. It is, to be perfectly honest, one of the reasons Shannen is staying OUT of public schools this year (and hopefully for the rest of her years.)

The second day of school brought two more funnies. Apparently there was a school assembly this morning. They watched a movie about "a guy with no arms and no legs who goes around to schools to talk about stuff. A lot of the females in the audiences get all teary." I asked Mindie what the point of the movie and/or the speaker was. "I don't know. I got bored and kind of zoned out. Don't be different or something." Since I'm reasonably certain the school didn't put on a presentation about the joys of conformity hosted by a differently able person I can only assume that this presentation failed in an epic way.

The other funny was a little more subtle. Mindie told me the school is cutting down on the amount of time between classes. In the midst of major construction they now have 4 minutes to move between classes. She also outlined the new tardy policy. On the first tardy of the semester students will be assigned a 30 minute after-school detention. The second tardy will get a student "swats." Obviously this isn't a "ha-ha" funny situation but I find some gentle humour in the thinking behind these two changes together. I wonder if anyone at the school even put these two policies together in their head before setting down rules.


  1. Ooooohhh... I like the series idea. I'm ready for the next one. BTW what are "swats"?

  2. LOL Asked like someone who never got in trouble in a west Texas school! "Swats" is the slang for paddling. Something I never got but lived in fear of.