Regarding the back-to-school “cartoon” of Aug. 8: As a long-time teacher, now retired, I am regularly appalled by media portrayal of school as something to be dreaded. This happens not only at the beginning of the school year but during weather forecasts, when the meteorologist sadly announces that children will be in class during the upcoming beautiful weather.
Of course, everyone is sad to see a vacation come to an end. Similarly, it’s nice to have lovely weather when one is free to enjoy it. But in my 40-plus years of experience with students, children (at least those in the early grades) are almost universally excited and eager for the start of a new year. They – and their teachers – are happy for weather that allows for outside recess and learning opportunities.
As a society, we should be sending our children the message that education is a good thing, not a burden. We are lucky, in our country, to have at least 12 years of universal schooling. Even subtle negative messages, repeated often enough, can become part of a belief system. What is to be gained by promoting the notion that school and learning are anything but positive? We should be reinforcing the expectation that most children already have, that the new year of school is another exciting opportunity to be embraced.
I hope that all adults – especially those in the public eye – will consider the message they are conveying before they make derogatory comments on something as important as education.