Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kids Packing Up Before Class Is Over

Adults are so much more mature when a lecture ends. I think that's because they actually want to be there much more so than kids, and therefore are in less of a hurry to bolt.

The teacher is running a little over classtime. Most of the time you can see that fire in his eyes because he’s really excited about the topic at hand, which is precisely why he’s running late. However, it’s very hard to concentrate on the teacher. All around you is shuffling, rustling, and disturbing movements. Everyone’s packing up- they seem to feel that based on the technicality of class ending at a certain time and the fact that the teacher has gone over this time, it is ok to shove it in the teacher’s face and cut him off midsentence by packing up their stuff. Who are these insolent people? No, I’m not talking about when people are late for something and really need to go and are trying to kill two birds with one stone by packing up while listening to the teacher’s closing remarks. That theory of explaining away this rudeness fails on two accounts.

One, this terribly rude phenomenon happens way too often and with way to many people for it to be a realistic coincidence that they are all late at the same time. Secondly, it really doesn’t take that long to pack up. Come on guys, is it really gonna help you get to class that extra 30 seconds faster. You may think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. Think if you were the teacher and you really think you have your kids engaged. They seem to be making intelligent and well-thought out comments that really are making everyone think. You keep going with the discussion and somehow lose track of time. Just when you think your students care about the subject matter per se and what you have to say, you hear the rustling of backpacks. People start losing eye contact with you. They briefly look at your between glances at their belongings and the clock. They seem to be almost twitching in their seats with anxiety to go.
Whatever happened to passion? Are we really just pods that go to class for the exact prescribed time to get attendance points and learn for an exact hour and do well and get a good grade. A passion such as that for learning cannot be quantitative. Although we/the education system must be reasonable and realize everyone must have some form of structure and reliable time table for their learning, can we not occasionally afford to go overtime and have a discussion past the required class time? I don’t even think “afford” is the right word. That would imply whether, when we do the calculations, the cost-benefit suits us so that we would decide to do it, primarily based on being the teachers pet and looking good. Afford is not the right word. It’s something more like “shouldn’t” any student curious about learning, by definition of their passion, want to learn according to the flow of the discussion, not an exact cutoff time.
This reminds me of the in-class essays in high school. How can you possibly cut a writer off, mid-sentence, as soon as the hour is up. Would you have done that to Fitzgerald, or Hemingway, or Shakespere? If we are aspiring to reach our creative potential, some of us aspiring to even come close to the ranks of these writers, how can you give a writer an exact hour of time to express his thoughts. Some people can’t think of anything to write for days. Creativity cannot be boxed in these time constraints.