Thoughts on Schools and Kids and Happiness

imagesSome say, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I tend to believe that if the kids aren’t happy, then momma shore ain’t happy. When I say happy, I don’t mean spoiled rotten and given everything they want whenever they want it. Of course, I also can’t say my kids are completely un-spoiled either. Simply living where and when we do guarantees a certain amount of privilege. Kids just have a lot of stuff now and do a ton of fun activities because they are available.

Two weeks ago, I had an unhappy kiddo. He’d not done so well on his report card in a couple subjects and was showing consistent signs of stress–daily stress. It didn’t look good on him. While some children require a little stress to keep their edge, this young man does not. He’s excessively intelligent, but not driven by an internal need to knock it out of the park at all costs. The cost had become too high. His environment was not conducive to his personal success. No one had been unkind, but he was struggling.

I will not name names of either schools or people. My daughter is still at the school and will enter high school next year. She loves her school and will consider no other. This is a mostly philosophical post, not a slam.

For his freshman year last year, we’d enrolled our son at the local public high school. He was very successful, but had missed the smaller environment and life-long friends from his old private school. So, this Fall, he went back. It was an extremely tough transition to a more restrictive environment. Haircuts, uniforms, strict rules on pretty much everything, on top of such a rigorous academic schedule made him nuts.

I have to say that as large as our public high school is, I have been so impressed with the quick responses from the teachers and counselors to help make such an important transition as painless as possible. I also have to give his former school credit for loving him enough to let him go and understanding that leaving created his opportunity to succeed. They care about our family and will welcome our daughter next year.

My point is, all our kids are different, and while some thrive on difficult challenges and adrenaline, others most certainly do not. Some of you have always been in a public school environment and some in private. Both have distinct advantages. I have one in both now. At the moment, they are both where they belong.

I hope all your children are thriving and all you mommas are happy!

Susan

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Schools and Kids and Happiness

    1. Great entry! As a teacher I always think about psychology behind motivation and my students’ learner profiles to help them do well. It was great to hear you thoughts on the subject. Can’t wait for your next post!

      1. Thanks for your support! I have an elementary teaching background which helps me in some ways to understand those who are charged with educating my children. But I’m finding the breakdown is often in defining rigor within schools. Fair and challenging curriculum is fine. But if administration doesn’t communicate and monitor individual teachers, they are left free to interpret rigor as they choose and implement their own spin on curriculum and prohibit success using unfair grading and testing practices. There have to be checks and balances.

  1. I have always seen a struggle with teachers and adminstrators. I think the way to solve these problems is to set the requirement of being an administrator to having, bare minimum, 3 years teaching experience. I don’t see it happening though. I totally agree about checks and balances; however, Monitoring new and experienced teacher is tough but I would like to see teachers monitoring each other to keep standards high. My ideas may or may not happen but there is always hope. Keep up the good fight for our children’s future!

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