i digress . . . what are kids learning today?

today i encountered two conversations between high school freshmen. two african american males (i’m not sure if race or gender matters but i’ll throw it in there).

they were conversing and one of them had a t-shirt with bob marley on it. the other didn’t know who bob marley was. the t-shirt wearer was horrified. he couldn’t understand how someone couldn’t know who bob marley was.

at that point, i recounted a conversation i had earlier that morning where a student encountered another student who didn’t know who nelson mandela was. bob marley t-shirt wearer said “who’s nelson mandela?” i thought he was kidding. he wasn’t.

the student who didn’t know who bob marley was, was horrified. how could someone not know who nelson mandela was.

funny how things happen. i told them both that they should use these as “teachable moments,” or actually, “wikipedia” moments.

which led me to start to ponder what, exactly, our kids are learning about in school. are we neglecting to teach subject matter that actually “matters” because we have a test to pass or a score to keep? are we leaving people (mandela, marley) behind in order to leave no child behind. or as i have heard, leave no child’s behind alone? bob marley t-shirt wearer doesn’t think he ever learned of south africa, apartheid, or nelson mandela in any of his history classes in a local south carolina high school. hmmmmmm.

but, this is why i love my job. i get to see the ‘aha’ moments, the lightbulbs go off, the students becoming teachers simply because they are passionate about something. it made me proud to be where i am. they were all genuinely concerned about the perceived lack of consciousness of their fellow students. it is a joy to behold. i hope to be a part of many more of these moments. peace.

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