The Real World — Swankington

Over the last few Barrington school committee meetings, residents voiced their support — or opposition — to the decision about the later middle/high school start times. The comment that consistently received the most Yeah!s from the crowd was, “Early school start times prepare our kids for the real world.” (And, yes, school committee meetings actually include Yeah!s from the crowd, which I find hilarious, because as we discuss this issue ABOUT the middle/high schools, sometimes I feel like I’m IN high school. Case in point: this is the first time since I was a freshman at Wilton High School, when I had to walk through the “senior section” of the cafeteria, that I’ve been afraid to go somewhere ALONE. Wilton Class of 1984 RULES!) I’ll continue…

Now, nothing puts a smile on my face more than thinking that anything about life in Barrington could possibly prepare our children for the “real world,” as I’m pretty sure that the “real world” doesn’t have this many fucking Audis.

I truly do not want to offend anyone whose opinion may differ from my own, but the notion that getting up early for school prepares you to wake up early later in life IS THE STUPIDEST FUCKING IDEA I HAVE EVER HEARD.

When you have to get up at 4:00 am to catch an early Saturday flight, do you spend the week before waking up early to prepare? On the weekend, do you get up early, TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR MONDAY?! Of course not. Lack of sleep is not a triathlon that you TRAIN for. The only thing less sleep prepares you for is being an irritable DICK.

What about those 8 am college classes that our children might take? Well, assuming they don’t avoid them because they work at Nectar’s on Thursday nights, I just learned that some of the most prestigious colleges, Harvard and Brown included, no longer even hold classes before 8:30 am. Meaning? Ivy League administrators are a bunch of over-protective helicopter parents.

If our middle and high school schedules were TRULY designed to prepare children for the “real world,” then students would attend school year-round, go to classes from 8:30 am to 5 pm, the principals would shame the kids who leave school right at 5 o’clock and students would have to put in a request for two weeks of vacation per year. Note: I would totally send my kids to that school.

What about the children who aren’t headed to college and would like a decent-paying job on an assembly line? For those kids, we should run school on a rotating shift from 6:30 am – 6:30 pm (Wk. 1: M/W/F/Sat – Wk 2: Tu/Th/Sun; less confusing than the current high school schedule!). Students may want to work at a television station or in the restaurant industry. Enter: night classes. Is your child bound for a career in technology? Then we should have them study at their dining room tables, take classes via video/phone conferencing and attend school once per week, because the trend in those fields is working from home. Hello … there are  — TWO — other callers on the line…

There is no single definition of the “real world.” THAT’S WHY I KEEP PUTTING IT IN QUOTES! The Real World is a diverse and wonderful place with many varied paths. You go, world!

In conclusion, I think we can all agree, that if we want to prepare kids for The Real World, then they’ll have to be ready for THIS:

the real world
Cast of the original The Real World; Picture credit Wikipedia



9 thoughts on “The Real World — Swankington

  1. Considering the rates of diabetes, depression, and other chronic illnesses in the “real world” and the role that sleep loss plays in increasing these illnesses – then early school start times do, sadly, mimic and prepare kids for the “real world.” Health experts who call for later school start times prefer to prepare kids for the real world by letting them get through puberty with the least amount of depression, sports injuries, and car crashes. It is also notable that 6am wake times for adolescents is the biochemical equivalent of 3am wake times for adults – and I don’t see compulsory Mon-Fri 3am wake times for every American adult. Some adults may chose schedules that aren’t healthy for sleep, but we shouldn’t force it on teens whose brains and bodies are still growing.

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