“Never,” was the answer.
“Do you ever have conversations in school that touch on the changes that are happening in the world that will affect your life outside of school?”
Honestly? Not shocked.
That student is a part of a diverse team we’re working with in a school that’s trying to figure out its path forward at a moment when every path feels pretty murky. And it came up because that same student said she felt a little unnerved by the picture we were painting of the world we’re all trying to navigate. Climate, AI, challenges to democracy, equity and justice issues…the list goes on.
A lot of things are unnerving right now.
But I wonder why we’re not talking with kids about these things in age-appropriate, real ways? (I’m assuming that student’s experience isn’t an outlier, I know.) If our job is to “prepare them for the world they will live in,” which is what everyone seems to say it is, then isn’t it also our job to talk with them as candidly as we can about what that looks like?
And isn’t it also our job to then focus on the dispositions that our children will need to develop in order to learn their way through all the messes we’re leaving them?
We’ve heard in other groups that many students seem more angry now, more willing to push back against the status quo of school. We’ve heard that enough for us to wonder what might be the cause. The pandemic, sure. And the stress of the world that kids absolutely feel.
But I wonder if it’s a response to “never.” I wonder if it’s this increasing divide they feel between school life and real life, and they’re sensing our inability (or unwillingness?) to bring real life into the conversation.
We’ve never been in a moment where our kids engage with the world in ways that are so different from the ways most adults do.
Maybe they’re wondering where we are.