Destination Education

by beccaborrelli


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The above is from a magnet my mother bought me. It’s on my filing cabinet. Today while organizing some file-y filings… it caught my eye. Life is Journey Not a Destination

I hesitate to repeat such cliche anecdotes (yet ironically keep them on my filing cabinet.) They are so overused that the power is lost within the ideal. Indeed most of my life I have read such quotes and thought: “Yep, I gotta do that.” Then I hop on my bike for a 25 mile ride and think about clenching my abs and bathing suit season… all the while missing things like sun dapples and singing cicadas.

Students navigate a school day in the same way I ride my bike. It’s not about bathing suit fantasies yet. It’s about-

Better Grades

Higher Test Scores

The Gold Star on a chart

The Pizza Party for good behavior

I wonder what would happen if I created my own school. I would take out destination practices and replace them with a “journey focus.” I’ve always had this picture of teachers, parents and everyone in between spending days un-knotting their panties if I created a school like this. We are too entrenched in a philosophy of “The There.” I know I’m preaching. I know you are all the choir.

Do choir acolytes have opinions on this? Why do kids arrive at school with glaze over their eyes that puts Dunkin Donuts to shame? I don’t purport to have the answers… but my guess it has to do with: Destination Education.

“Come hither young children and do our program… you will have a better life… a better mind… later. All you have to do is our school-ish stuff, in our school-ish way, exactly as prescribed without falter.” Yes you’ll wish you could pick your own topics of interest and pursue them in the methods that best suit you. Sadly, you don’t know what those are. We’ve made all those decisions for you since you were five. Don’t worry though. You might hate it now… but later when you’re successful and live in a nice house with a nice job and nice family you will be happy.”

And Devil’s Advocates would wonder what exactly Brazen Teachers think we’re supposed to let children do? Wander the world at their own pace, doing what they want, when they want?

Well, Yeah.

Double Yeah.

Yeah to infinity okay?

“Have you ever seen a sloth toddler? Do toddlers need schools to learn to talk? To learn to hold stuff? To learn to take steps? Oh right- humans are natural learning machines. They don’t need a destination. Do young Pre-School children need motivation to spend their entire day learning voraciously? Nah. Do they need a destination to survive in an economy driven society where one works lotsa hours and buys lotsa stuff to be happy later?** Shit…. Rhetorical Question. My bad.

Untitled from the Portfolio of Andy Mouse. Keith Haring. 1986.

Untitled from the Portfolio of Andy Mouse. Keith Haring. 1986.

*** I’m always harping on this. Truly however, I don’t know nuthin’ about world economies in order to offer up an alternative to Capitalism. That being said… if you raise a child eating only poop… does the child need to be a poop expert to know that it stinks? Maybe a “crappy metaphor…”

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