An EdJOYcation Task Force has been established at our high school by one of our Assistant Principals. He is an awesome AP because he genuinely cares about students and teachers. He started the EdJOYcation Task Force to help bring back the JOY in education. Here's a little summary of some issues that I thought were really interesting.
Our high school is located in Silicon Valley and here's what we are seeing. Many of our high schoolers are overstressed with trying to get into the "right" colleges. They take so many Advanced Placement (AP) classes that they don't have much time for anything else. Many of our students, parents, and teachers are still unclear as to what colleges actually want. Indeed, we learned that taking too many AP classes can hinder students from getting into the colleges of their choice. This is because some colleges don't want students coming in as juniors and losing tuition. Therefore, some colleges will limit the amount of AP classes or just not accept the student.
Many teachers are wondering how relevant is much of the teaching that goes on in high school to our youths' lives?
Yes, there is rigor, but what about relevance? What about relationships? One of our teachers asked, "Are we preparing well-rounded youth, or are we helping our youth work towards an application toward adulthood?'
This question was very interesting to me. Last week at my Berkeley weekend class, we were just talking about The American Dream. What is The American Dream now a days and how is education a part of that dream? We don't want our youth to loose sight of the here and now. We want them to enjoy being kids. Carpe diem afterall! Indeed many of us teachers reflect on balance as we learn to balance and convey that to our students. In short, we hope to bring the joy back in education and the dialogue is beginning.
Jorge Royan. 2008 [A Tower of Used Books]