The grade school and high school experience has definitely changed since the days that we were all stuck in the classroom. As I watch my own children go through the early grades, I am blown away by how much things have changed, and how little I truly understand the motivations for those changes.
We all made it through those years (mostly), and we are none the worse for the wear. I am all for progress, but when we make progress simply for the sake of it, or when that progress affects our children's abilities to grow into fully functioning members of adult society, then we have to question why.
With that being said, here are eight things that we all experienced during our grade school and high school years that have disappeared from the modern school experience.
1. Visiting the computer lab.
Remember when you would visit the school's one computer lab, once a week in order to practice your typing skills? Let's be honest most people sat there to play minesweeper or solitaire, or some other computer based game. If anything, it helped me remember "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
2. Cursive writing.
This was one of the most frustrating parts of going through grade school. If we already knew how to print, what was the point in learning to write in cursive? It turns out that it helped me with more than just written communication, it helped us develop some of our fine motor skills. Plus, we all learned how write out or "eloquent" signatures.
3. The terrible cafeteria food that we all loved.
Even though the cafeteria food at my high school was less than nutritious, it was still freaking delicious, and more importantly, affordable for pretty much everyone. Remember when parents were allowed to choose what their kids ate? My kids will never know the joy of a brutal cafeteria cheeseburger and french fries.
4. "Dangerous" games at recess.
It seems that the definition of a dangerous activity has changed multiple times over the years. I remember playing dodge ball, murder ball, jackpot, "touch" football, and any number of variations of tag. Most of these are now banned from the playground in an effort to make play "safer." Red rover was dangerous to be sure, too many broken arms, but when did the rest of the fun about playing outside suddenly become too dangerous for kids?
5. Playing cards at the cafeteria table.
When I was on lunch, or was lucky enough to have a spare period half-way through the day, I would often make my way to the cafeteria where there was likely a game of cards going on at at least one table. Usually the game was a**hole, and even if you ended up being the a**hole, it was still a lot of fun. With the prevalence of smartphones, the experience of playing cards at the caf table has all but disappeared.
6. Bristol board presentations.
Anytime a school project was announced that would involve making a presentation to the class, it meant that your first stop after school was to hit the store to buy a couple sheets of bristol board. You'd then bust out the glue sticks, markers, construction paper, and sometimes even glitter. A lot more went into it than making a basic PowerPoint presentation. Plus you had to get it to and from school without smashing it to pieces.
7. The "old school" projector.
I am not at all sad that this practice has finally become obsolete and died out. It could be hell for the average student if the teacher had bad hand writing, or wrote too fast for students to be able to keep up with their note taking. Still, when you saw this getting set up, you knew the lights were going off, and you could catch a nap if you were sneaky enough.
8. This place called the library.
The library was one of my favorite areas of school. It was quiet, had a particularly calming smell to it, and you never knew what you were going to come across while looking through the shelves. It seems like these have become more decorative than anything these days, as students would much rather look something up on the internet. And as far as reading for fun...
I like to think that the memories (whether fond or not) helped make me the adult that I am today. Should some of these things be brought back into the fold, or be left behind in the annals of history?