For our students’ entire lives we have communicated that the reason to learn things is not to fulfill curiosities, but to see where you stack up relative to others. Grades are no longer a proxy for learning, but a lap time determining how well they’re doing at achieving a secure financial future. Under this system, a “B” is genuine cause for distress. A “C” is a disaster that points towards a ruined life.
At the same time, we have made it increasingly difficult to pay for a genuine education. The burden of loans threatens to strangle adult lives before they really begin. It is now impossible to work your way through college. Concerns over even paying for college are also at an all-time high. We communicate that a college degree is more important than ever and then make it more difficult to achieve.
Students look at the larger culture and see not a ladder of opportunity, but a treadmill of obligation. No wonder they’re distressed."
I tutor kids and it’s just as bad in the UK. All they want is to get the right letter grade on their GCSEs, none of them know what they want to do with their lives, none of them enjoy school, nobody wants to learn. They just need the A*. It’s all rote memorization and tips and tricks so they get the right marks. It’s demoralizing
I see this first hand every day and it breaks my heart. We hammer out all of our beautiful human being kinks and curiosities this way until, by the time you get to middle school, it doesn’t even hurt anymore.
how to be firm with his body,
but to yield for his spirit,
give me something to carry home
long after morning when he’s risen,
once you’ve sprung back & forgotten
his shape, his weight,
how much to give to hold him."
From Pepper Girl by Jonterri Gadson, reviewed by Joelle Biele at The Rumpus.
"In “Virginia Baptist,” a hospital bed becomes a symbol of stability and flexibility while the speaker’s child is in a hospital psychiatric ward."