Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Choose a Direction for Life in the 9th Grade?

I posted this entry and then removed it. I'm really not into posting personal entries because I'm so afraid my words won't convey what I really mean. I'm a math person and tend to list thoughts instead of putting pretty words around them. That has gotten me into trouble in the past. I "think" pretty words around all my listed items; I just don't "write" them. I was asked to repost it, so I am.

When I was teaching high school, the 9th grade students were expected to decide whether they were following the technical path or the university path. The technical path gave them class choices in a more job related flavor. They also received the basic classes that would, after graduation, get them into a community college if they wanted, but it was thought that these were kids who were going to focus on a job right out of high school, rather than being "college material". Are we nuts? Who knows the potential hidden in a 13 year old. College is NOT the answer for everyone, but everyone DOES need to prepare for a job. Maybe a better solution would be to make those "technical courses" available to ALL kids, and then some of these "college material" kids who get into college and realize it was a big mistake, might have an alternative to follow. I'm one of those who tried to guide all my kids into the college path, because they were all intelligent, we could afford it, and our culture said that's the way we should do it. I have one that's found material success in a career he seems to enjoy and he did it without completing his degree. I have one who is doing extremely well as a student and will be a senior next year at a university. She has a direction and goals. I have another son who has chosen an alternate path. He's wanting to do what we all say we want. He wants to make the world a kinder place, a more sane place, a place less focused on the bottom line. He's hitchhiked across the country; he's travelled to Alaska, Turkey and Greece; he's worked in an after school day care; he's done landscaping; he's tried the college "thing"; he's now going to apprentice himself to a farmer and learn the "art" of his ancestors. Our ancestors didn't have a lot of money, but they had a family nearby. Our ancestors knew how to grow their own food and build their own shelter. It was hard work for them, and I'm sure they thought they wanted "more" for their kids - for their kids to not have to work so hard and to "have more". Does having more make us happy. All those careers we have that we can't wait to leave. All those people who are already wishing it was the weekend when you see them Monday morning. Why do they do a job they hate? I know we HAVE to do jobs we hate sometimes to pay the bills and to put food on the table, but the ideal is to do that in a way that we're happy doing, NOT stay in the awful job for 30 years. We can't all be forced to choose a lifetime career at an early age. Sometime we take a job to be able to eat, and look for inspiration while we're doing it. Being an apprentice to learn organic, family farming is a good thing.

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