As the shofar blows in this month before Rosh Hashonah, I can’t help ponder what I’m supposed to wake up from.
As every year progresses, it’s easy to fall asleep in different areas.
Working on myself. Eating well. Channeling my inner spirituality.
It’s easy to let it slide a bit. The dead of the winter? Who can think about working on oneself when snuggling under a blanket with that blessed hot cocoa is way more interesting?
So, it’s come to the end of summer, after an incredible two months of focusing on everything else, and I have to wake up.
Last week, I wrote about corn tortillas and education.
I didn’t realize as I was writing it, nor as I was posting it, what kind of reaction it would receive. I didn’t know that it would touch so many people. I didn’t realize so many people could relate.
I didn’t realize it was sort of like the sound of the shofar.
It was bittersweet to receive Facebook messages and emails, all saying the same thing- I feel the same way.
Bitter, because that means there is a real problem in education. Bitter, because everyone has let it fall by the wayside, and continue to send their children despite the problems.
Sweet, because a group is better than an individual when one wants to get things done.
I am not one who enjoys conflict. I avoid it at all costs. I’m always the one cringing while friends are fighting..it’s not my thing.
But I have some nerve in me. Some anger, and a lot of words.
Whenever someone speaks out against something that has been moving along calmly, someone is bound to get hurt.
The last thing I want is to hurt someone.
But I have been hurt.
And so many others have as well.
So this is all I ask:
Let’s start a conversation.
How do we fix it?
How do we begin to change the way education has been viewed and conducted for years?
How do we explain to those who have closed their eyes that there has to be a change?
I don’t have children. There are none coming anytime soon.
But I can’t pretend it won’t happen.
I have to face the facts, that one day I will have to choose a school for my children.
If there is no change, how can I make that decision?
How can I choose to willingly place my children in a school that can break them?
A school in which they will not learn to love learning.
A school in which they will learn that they are not good enough.
It’s easy to say that I’ll start a school, where everything will be lovely and perfect.
But even if I did.
That’s not enough.
There are hundreds of children and teenagers that need a school that encourages and strengthens them.
Perhaps we need to break it down, create many small schools instead of a couple big ones.
Everyone deserves to be in a classroom where there are only 10 other classmates, instead of 30.
Every child deserves to have some one-on-one with a good educator, someone who can assist and guide.
Every child deserves to be taught in the way that they learn.
Please, I beg you, don’t say “well then, how will they learn that life won’t always go their way?”
Education is not a game. It’s not to be played with.
Why would you risk a child hating to learn and grow?
They can learn that life won’t go their way when they don’t get the candy bar at home, or when they trip because they were running too fast.
Not by being tested in ways they don’t understand, or by being picked on by a teacher who needs to retire, or by falling apart because there are too many people in the classroom, and no one is checking on him.
It’s the month of Elul.
We need to wake up.
If we won’t wake up for ourselves, we can at least wake up for the future children, or already existing children, who deserve to have a school that they love.
Some people, already graduated, mentioned to me that they had fun in school, and think back with fond memories.
I’m glad you had a healthy social life, and that school was pleasant for you.
But school does not end at socializing.
That’s not why millions of children wake up every morning to go to school.
It’s part of it, but not the primary reason.
It is the only reason that homeschooling is not as desirable as it can be.
Therefore, we need to make some sort of change!
Yes, you can mock me. You can laugh in my face, and carry on with your life.
It seems crazy. It seems hopeless.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Just by starting a conversation, maybe we can get enough people to recognize how important this is.
I’ve always wanted to have a hand in changing the world.
Instead of letting others get around to it….let’s just do it.
Tell me your opinions.
I want to hear.
The Shofar has blown. It’s up to us to wake up.