The highschool hangover

We all know what a hangover is, and we all (almost) know how to get over one. But there is one hangover that stays forever, I believe it is the high school hangover. You suffer from the high school hangover if you have the following symptoms:

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  1. Tendency to keep comparing current education trends with personal high school norms; 
  2. Critiquing your child’s teachers and comparing them with teachers of your own time;
  3. Forcing your child to learn the way you learnt “back in the day”;
  4. When discussing pedagogy most of your sentences start with; “in our times”; “the problem is”; and “the standards have fallen”,
  5. Most importantly you are out of high school for over a decade and also have an obsessive-compulsive disorder of tracking, tracing or following high school friends (pun intended)!

If you have the above symptoms, you should continue reading this article or consider teaching as a career as these are the only two ways of getting over the Highschool Hangover (take it with a pinch of salt!).

Jokes apart, I have picked up this important issue as education has become the hot topic of discussion in recent times. Whilst it is good to have diverse perspectives and feedback on educational trends, it becomes frustrating when people start comparing with schooling in their times and education trends 10 to 15 years back or even before that; the high school hangover is rampant and real. It is dangerous as these discussions also continue at home without censors in front of the school-going children making them confused and cynical about schooling. Some common behaviour at home that actually ruins a child’s high school experience: blaming the school or the teacher for the child’s undesirable behaviour or performance; criticising school communication and expecting a minute-by-minute update from the school administration; demeaning the purpose of schooling by always evaluating school experience with school fees; comparing child’s performance with outdated benchmarks, for example, expecting them to memorise all mathematical formulae or all capitals of all countries! 

I hope you see where I am going; to make it more precise I quote one of my personal favourite, the words of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore: 

“Don’t limit your child to your own learning, for she was born in another time” 

And in the simple words of an educator, do not compare your schooling to your child’s, it will always be different. Do not expect your children to learn the same way you did, let them discover how they learn best or how they want to learn. Do not dictate career choices for your child just because you are successful in yours; let them explore. Do not force your child to take up classes just because they are in demand, let them explore their interests as per their skills. Do not let your high school hangover get into the way of your child’s schooling. Learn with your child, grow with your child. Next time you discuss 21st-century pedagogy or education trends make sure to avoid comparison, it will give you the purpose to find out more and learn more. 

Lifestyle desk. (2020). Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti 2020: Inspirational Quotes, Messages, thoughts that celebrate the great poet. Indian Express Archives.

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