Thursday, August 16, 2012
Back to School, Back to School!
Although I've been out of school for the better part of two decades now, "back to school" season still puts a sickening knot in my gut. Apparently this isn't a feeling that my oldest son shares. So far in his short school career he has enjoyed school, gotten good marks and loved his teachers. All this has left me wondering where I went wrong with him.
You see, in my day, students and teachers were viewed as polar opposites of the human spectrum like the Americans and Soviets in the Cold War. In fact that was a great visual metaphor because I can remember my older brother Bawb drawing epic war scenes of smoldering landscape where opposing battle tanks, some bearing the markings of the "Kid" army and some marked "Teachers," slugged it out in mortal combat.
I like to imagine that when I first shipped off to kindergarten Bawb donned his polished M1 helmet and gave me a gut-wrenching Pattonesque speech: "The teachers are the enemy! Wade into them. Make them cry for their mommies!"
But apparently that's not what it's like now. Now it's customary to give the teacher presents for Christmas (whoops, I mean "Winter Vacation") and other important (and completely secular!) holidays. When my wife told me this I suggested that we give the teacher a copy of my income and property tax bills as her present. I certainly don't remember giving gifts to teachers when I was in school. Actually I do, but they were generally left anonymously in or on teacher's desk and were never much appreciated.
My sister-in-law is also an elementary teacher and says she receives gifts. Also she told us a story of slipping and bumping down the stairs on her butt in front of her class. Her kids ran to her, all concerned for well being. If one of our teachers had fallen on her ass in front of us we all would have been laughing in her face! Times have changed I guess.
I toyed with the idea of pulling my boy out of this state-sponsored lovefest and homeschooling him where he could learn in a wholesome Christian environment of constant fear of an ass-whupping. Alas homeschooling wouldn't work for my family since I must work outside the home and my wife (like any woman worth marrying) is fully illiterate.
Perhaps not all is lost however. My younger son will be going to school in two short years. At three years old he is already rebelling against whatever forms of authority are presented to him. I cling to the hope that he will someday view his teachers as so many Nazi prison camp guards to be eluded and harassed... as God intended.