a reply to: TonyS
The pressure on kids is unbelievable, starting from elementary. My child has learning disabilities and when a young child unable to do tests due to
anxiety, and not knowing her lessons. Basically, as involved as we were in the school (PTA), volunteering for concerts, field trips, fundraisers, very
actively involved, it wasn’t until she reached grade 6 did we learn she was three years behind her grade level. And all the parent/teacher
interviews we attended that sounded right, “We are working with her at her level and to instil confidence,” to her Grade 6 math teacher stating,
“Even I don’t understand this new math stuff, but we have to teach it”, to one day our daughter telling us that she played math bingo in the
resource room (not learning why or how math or English works, but playing games, did we hire a tutor. She came up to grade level in one year.
Part of the reason is the teachers (most) weren’t willing to incorporate ways to help her learn (i.e. provide the class notes they were going to
discuss in class instead of handwriting them on the board so that everyone had to copy them - well they don’t teach handwriting in schools any
longer so the kids, let alone my child, had no clue how to read handwriting, and after numerous suggestions of mine it just continued. There was no
concern. The teachers would be the first ones out of the classroom at the end of the day and rush out of the parking lot. I remember my teachers
always having time to talk to, ask questions about something after class.
Due to her learning disabilities we were asked if our child wanted to skip the standardization tests in elementary school. We always agreed due to our
child’s anxiety, thinking how kind the principal was to ensure our child wouldn’t have to be burdened (don’t get me wrong: life happens and she
has to adjust to life’s situations, but at grade 2, 3, etc?) we found out it was their way of making their school grade average look higher by not
including our child as it meant a higher funding for the school.
At the beginning of the school year there was always a fee of say $130, then all the extra fees to attend field trips, school lunches, lunch time
supervision fees, and to make sure your child arrived on the first day of school with their entire year’s school supplies - which my child hardly
used and NEVER came home with at the end of the school year (not just the usual school supplies as when we went to school, but now it includes lined
paper for school work, a 1” bundle of photocopy paper, 2 kleenex boxes, 6 erasers, 3 packages of 12 pencils each, 5 large white gluesticks, felt
pens, crayons, coloured pencils, indoor shoes and outdoor shoes, headphones, earbuds, and more on top of the usual we remember as kids. And then a
note: supplies may need to be restocked through the school year.)
We struggled with her learning disabilities every year and it fell on deaf ears, no matter the principal, vice principal, resource room guidance
counsellor, each successive school teacher until panic attack(s) reared its head prior to transitioning into middle school and suddenly we had the
full psychological assessment that carried on for two weeks - the one her grade 1 teacher had requested. Why?? Because now they could get more funding
for our child at their last possible moment. It was that year we pulled her out of school and put her into home schooling. We couldn’t believe it
when we started to get money back from the government because we hadn’t used all the funds necessary due our child for the school. No physical
school means much less money being used by the school. The amount of money we saved by having her home schooled was ridiculous. It’s not for the
faint of heart, and it has been extremely time consuming, but she has learned to think for herself, how to find the information and that is the most
important aspect of schooling in my opinion. The kids in physical schools are little robots, sponging up the info based on a textbook (they change
constantly as history/new science is learned, etc). She is at a 95% average now. It has taken me a lot of time to help her through her weakest
courses. Her level of anxiety came down as there were no more girl groups to try to fit in with, or to interact with as it is all about peer pressure,
competition, being accepted or an outcast.
And yes, they started asking the kids in grade 7 about their career intentions. In grade ten we had to discuss with the teacher what her career
aspirations were as it determines which courses, and what level of courses to take for the last three years. And through it all it’s, “University
this, University that”. They are brainwashed into thinking they HAVE to attend university or be failures as people and won’t get a good career. My
daughter has been on the brink of several nervous breakdowns trying to keep her grades up so that she can enter university as there are so many kids
competing for schools these days. If she wants to attend University then we support her 100%, but we are also letting her know she can learn a trade,
go to community college, take a year off after school and volunteer or be an intern, or simply get a job to get experience/and to experience the real
world outside of school.
They had to work on their resumes in grade 10 and there was a huge push for any volunteering, any jobs they could list. There is no way my child could
ever manage fitting such events into her life what with the amount of homework given, and how much time they all take. My child manages to get all
her work done, but that is with my help, with her starting at 7 in the morning and often going to bed at 2 in the morning - she has no
extra-curricular activities, no hobbies, no “me” time - it’s school. We haven’t had a holiday in four years. She is learning disabled. Yet,
she was the only child to get all the homework assignments done for two years in a row. So what does that tell you - the “normal” kids who do have
lives/chores/jobs can’t handle the homework work load.
So yes, the whole system is messed up. And kids are suffering. Never mind the kind of future that is out there: violent world (seems more violent due
to access to the Internet, no jobs, lower wages, many parents aren't involved in their kids' lives due to work responsibilities/lack of interest,
having to be the perfect kid all the time (sports kids - this is a generalization) because everything they do whether it's art, sports, hobby, they
are trained that it must show on their resume and the must be "somebody" worth hiring. Kids are not allowed to be kids to just run about outside to
explore on their own or to be free. "Everyone" is a danger and kids are always looking over their shoulders and have their faces stuck in their phones
all the time. Childhood has been lost.