Monday music: Goodbye school

Last week AM finished school — forever.

Ok, tertiary education still awaits, but as of Friday, when he finished his last exam (physics) it was no more uniforms, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks .. ever.

Hurray! I no longer have to listen to him revise his physics homework, which was, well, a brainsqueeze. Although it did mean I learned about something with the wonderful name of ultraviolet catastrophe. Don’t ask me to explain it. I can’t. Something about radiation. But there is some music …

Well, I think that about sums it up.

I’m proud of AM. He’s had a tough few years, and figuring out the best pathway to university hasn’t been easy. His exams and study time were disrupted by ill health, but he’s persevered and worked hard and been thoughtful about how to achieve his goals. Overall, he’s pleased with how he went.

Why is school so hard? Learning can be wonderful, but somehow, in spite of some good teachers, and good intentions, our schools so often screw it up. I wish that for our young people learning could be more joyful.

That they didn’t have to feel like this (which is a bit how I’m feeling myself, after 14 years of the education system). 

Or this.

Pink Floyd captures what was evident to me from AM’s first day in kindergarten: that schools in western society are mainly about social control — ensuring people behave in certain ways, punishing those who don’t, rewarding those whose privilege (whiteness, class, etc.) has already placed them ahead of the pack.

If equitable, enlightened education for all was truly the primary goal, more money would be invested, classes would be smaller, teachers would be better supported and remunerated, the curriculum and teaching methods would be way more diverse and creative, there wouldn’t be so much hoo-haa about grades and exams, and children wouldn’t fall through the cracks in the system, as so many of them do. Our teens and young adults would also have better mental health and not be so outrageously stressed in their last years of high school.

Ok, call me bitter.

I know that even with their current limitations, schools are not all bad. They just ‘could do better’.

On the plus side, schools offer opportunities for creativity and collaboration, even fun.

And if all classrooms were like this, what would the world be like?

Do any of these songs reflect your school experience? Or maybe there’s another song that captures it better?


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