Monday, April 18, 2005

Wanna Beer Part II, The Students Respond

What a nice day.

I came into class with resolution and energy, and it provided me with a days worth of good teaching.

I came into class an hour early and caught up on work while listening to Imus in the Morning on the VCR. With my work completed, I began the day.

In all of my classes we discussed the 60 Minutes piece on parents providing students with a place to party (see earlier post). In Intro, I had my students do a Quickwrite on the subject after a small discussion. The opinions were interesting. In zero period, the students were surprised that parents would go that far for kids and actually objected to it. Many stated that if a student got hurt, the parents would be liable for damages or death. This makes the parents, in the eyes of zero period, not very smart. Both my first and fourth period Intro classes delved into actual parenting. Both stated that students are going to drink because it is rebellious and the parents will not stop it. But many students said that parents that trust their kids more were more likely to have children that won't drink. More rules, more rebellion.
In College Prep Econ, the we discussed the subject, but did not do a Quickwrite (we had the Sherman Anti-Trust Act instead). However the topic again focused on authority figures. According to a vast majority of students, drinking occurs because they haven't really been directed not to. A large number of students seemed to feel that yes, Ukiah is boring. Yes, drinking is prevalent. But more important, it takes nothing to make Mom and Dad bend to their wills. Many stated that kids have an enormous amount of power in families now, in comparison to 20 years ago.
"Kids don't have authority figures anymore.", said a student in my 2nd period class. "Teachers, coaches and parents can get into trouble if they yell too loud, spank us or threaten us." The theme seemed to be that children and adults are at similar levels in relation to society. Kids don't listen to authority because they really don't have to. Almost all the kids stated that being "grounded" was their punishment for wrong decisions. BUT, they would still have a vast amount of their lifestyle paid for by parents; car, insurance, cell phones, internet, clothes, etc.

After the day was over, I it seemed clear to me that the students know that there is a problem, and they simply are taking advantage if it. Kids openly say they manipulate the system because the responsibility will be on the authority, not the child. Teachers are responsible for their grades, parents are responsible for their actions, and society is responsible for protecting those freedoms. Hell, I had some students saying that life would be much better if Child Protective Services didn't exist! That way, students couldn't threaten parents if they were punished too sevearly.

Overall, a very enlightening and invigorating day. Last week is forgotten and this week began anew. Good house news (locked in at 5 7/8% for 30 years), good basketball news (great open gym today) and great home news (wife had good teaching day).

Tomorrow will be better.
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