Can it be? Fall is near, September 7th is just around the corner, and that means for many parents, including myself (djembe drum roll, please)...that it’s back to school time! It’s the proverbial calm before the storm (or the storm before the storm, if you are perpetually busy cranking out text, tweets and blog entries during these new media driven times).
Forget about the kids, this time of year brings out way more anxieties in us adults, who are supposed to be the more calm and reserved of the group. For my four year-old Solomon, it’ll be his first time going to school. That means out with the toddlerese and in-house gibberish, and in with the more scholarly pursuits, numbers, letter, colours and shapes. Dayum, it almost feels like I am going back to school!
It’s a reminder that our kids getting older, and thus more independent. There’s the sad yet obvious change in weather. You can kiss them sandals and summery dresses goodbye. It’s a time to embrace the progressive, forward-thinking views on education put forward by the TDSB’s Director of Education Dr. Chris Spence who seems to “get it”.
It’s a time to endure the snobbery of some parents who would like to think their kids feces don’t stink – the old private versus public school debates rears its ugly head, on TTC buses and sidewalks, with the old (and new) moneyed set oftentimes taking elitist pot shots at the ambitious working poor. For us Megacity dwellers this time of year also means scrolling through TIFF film line-ups (is it just me, or are there like a bajillion films to consider seeing?). And the other big question? To crash or not to crash Playboy’s Good Life Party (Hugh Hefner and Big Boi spottings might be worth the non-cost of admission).
If you have a child in grade three or grade six, like I do, this year will also mean doing the EQAO test to see if our kids are meeting provincial testing standards. From my own experience, whenever standardized tests and any long form multiple choice quizzes came into the equation, the testing style seemed to do little to improve my actual learning. As an old school student-athlete in particular, some of the standardized tests we were subjected to had little to no bearing on how successful one might become in life. But then again, I lean more towards a Malcolm Gladwellian view on achievement which posits that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total number of hours. So many Gladwellites might view the theories of learning that standardized testing is based on as being outdated, and to test students using a measure that isn't even applicable to their learning style, might also be counter-productive. Call me crazy, but shouldn’t it be the teachers themselves who might best be able to assess our children’s progress?