Parents often talk nostalgically about the way it was back when they went to school, so this week I thought we would have a little fun by discussing the things we used to have that the current generation is missing out on. I know there are many that we are happy to see go, like milk in a plastic bag and high school smoking lounges, but think of how much more privileged today’s youth would be if they could still enjoy rubber cement, DuKane projectors, and P.E. uniforms with their names written in Sharpie. Here is my personal top 10:
10. Typing class. Not typewriters per se, although I did find the continual clickety-clack of the keyboards to be soothing, like riding a train. But actually learning how to type with one’s fingers in a methodical way rather than using the “hunt and peck” method of dumb chickens. It was an interesting choice, don’t you think? To stop teaching kids how to type on keyboards the same day all correspondence everywhere forever depended on using keyboards? SMH (shake my head).
9. Student bus drivers. Kids usually have more respect for cool high school seniors than actual adults, so our bus behavior used to be a lot better. Not that there weren’t drawbacks. I’m pretty sure my friends Reggie and Fred blew the job for all students by racing their busses down Highway 17 at 80 mph one early spring evening.
8. Halftime shows that made sense. Remember when the marching band played music you’d heard before and made shapes you could discern? Don’t get me wrong, today’s marching shows are certainly artistic, but I miss the days when the band made you want to stand up and shout “USA!” The shows today are more like Broadway performances, if Broadway performances were held outside on a soggy field and bookended by random football games.
7. Woodworking. My life would be a lot easier if I knew how to turn on a saw. I missed the woodworking and industrial arts era of school, and I feel disadvantaged as a result. What happened to those classes? It’s not like people don’t still need cabinets, shelves, and chests. I suspect interference from the Swedes, specifically IKEA.
6. Music class. Remember when everyone went to the same class to sing time-honored tunes while the music teacher banged out the melody on an upright piano? You had cheerleaders, chess club nerds, basketball players, and rebels without causes all singing from the same book. It brought us together, if briefly, like music is supposed to do.
5. Home economics. I pity today’s children who have to learn how to make dinner from the Cooking Channel. In reality, using that many dishes and eating that much butter will kill you. But back in the day we learned not only how to make a fast, nutritious meal, we also learned how to sew. Have you met a kid recently who could sew? Me, either.
4. Driver’s Ed. It’s the weirdest thing. In South Carolina you could get your driver’s license without ever taking a driving course. But a lot of students took Driver’s Ed anyway, some for the easy elective, others so they could drive their friends and the assistant football coach to get coffee at the Krispy Kreme every morning. And then S.C. wised up and made it mandatory to take a driving course. And then they took Driver’s Ed out of schools. You gotta love South Carolina. We may not do it right, but we do do it differently.
3. Passing notes. Remember looking for your friend as you walked down the hall to slip him or her a note you had written in the previous class? Then the next period you would repeat the routine. In many schools, kids today don’t look up at all. The break between classes means it’s cell phone time.
2. Summer school. If it weren’t for summer school, many of my friends would still be in the ninth grade. Today, kids just fail. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. They get passed on to the next grade with zero consequences. It’s a great system. It’s really working well.
1. School history. Schools used to exist a lot longer back in the day. My middle school had a massive glass case filled with trophies and photos dating back to the forties. It was neat to see pictures of the football team in their leather helmets and the awards our fathers and mothers had won. It built a sense of history and pride in us. Today’s kids mostly know what’s new, now, and next.
That’s my list. What about you? What is it that you think kids today are most missing out on? Feel free to discuss among yourselves while I run down to the office. But don’t get too unruly because I’m going to have the speaker on, listening. (Consider that No. 11.)