My last post talked about the resentment created by having to actually memorize new vocabulary for Spanish class. I want to write a defense of those students later, but for now I’d like to relate a short vignette:
Yesterday at the doctor’s office, a woman asked me who was more excited about summer vacation, the teachers or the students. I responded without thinking, “The teachers, I’m sure. Many students nowadays would rather be in school during the summer.”
I’ve heard a number of students say that now. They don’t want to go to summer school per se. But they like being able to see all their friends throughout the day. Even if they don’t much like the school lunch or breakfast, they are happy not to have to prepare their own food. Even if they are merely texting in the cafeteria instead of in their own rooms, they find the noise and commotion at school to be comfortable and comforting.
We ought to see red flags all over the place when thinking about these students who are apathetic or antipathetic to summer vacation. I used to welcome summer vacation as a break from hard work. My impression is that summer vacation no longer has that meaning, in no small part because America’s students often aren’t working very hard.
Note: This varies greatly from school to school and district to district, of course.