January 7, 2013
What If School Isn't a Prison?
Posted by John Spencer
"Greenhouses are where things grow. I don't really feel like . . ."
"Perhaps that's true. But here's a thought: The environment is artificial, just like a greenhouse. It's not at all what you want and yet . . . amazing things still happen."
"So, where do the teachers fit into it?" I asked.
"What if some of your teachers were the light leading you to the truth? And what if some of your teachers were fresh water, giving you life when your world was caving in?"
"And the bad teachers?"
"Yeah, they were full of crap. But those were necessary, too. They were the compost you had to grow through. So, you can grow up saying, 'My education was really crappy' and that's accurate. Or you can look back and say, 'Wow, despite all the crap I went through, I had some teachers who saved my life and helped me find truth.' It's a matter of perspective, I suppose."
I know. I know. Some people grow up without ever experiencing growth. Who knows, maybe they're just too crowded and the seed doesn't grow. Maybe they experience too much crap and they never get enough water. Or maybe the light just doesn't show up, because the windows were covered. I think we need to be careful with assuming that "school was a prison for me" equals "school is a prison for everyone."
As I read tweets and blogs, I also wonder if it's a matter of perspective. True, the system can feel broken. So can families. So can the world. But the greenhouse metaphor helps me to remember that in a rush to push for meaningful reform, I can run the risk of only seeing the crap. In the process, I can miss the beautiful reality that I get a shot at being water and light in a place that can sometimes feel crappy to a kid.
photo credit: nosha via photopin cc