Learning curve balls

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

It’s back to school time, both for me, teaching a class up at the university, and for my son, Hunter, who begins high school. I’m not sure who I’m more worried for. Probably me. He’s much more driven and focused. Of course, I’ve got a leg up, having taught the same class last semester.

Hunter’s going to start high school at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology. I’m thrilled for him. When I think about the limited choices that were available a few years ago, I’m just astounded at what this school offers. Hunter’s new school has a full television/radio studio, a professional grade kitchen, training in the medical field, high-end computer-assisted drafting and design training. The list goes on.

The school is quite a bit bigger than Hunter’s accustomed to, but he’s got a quick mind and a mellow temperament, so I don’t anticipate a lot of problems with adjustment. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a certain anxiety, but I’ll do my best to hide my fear.

I know that many educators would say middle school is the place where students can begin to lose track. My own experience was that it happened in high school. Boredom, raging hormones, attitude problems—really, a staid, Catholic high school was the last place I belonged. Somebody should have shipped me off to a school on the African continent where at least I would have had lions to keep my mind off my personal problems.

At any rate, I totally sympathize with you high school students who hate school. Four years, when you start at 14, is more than a quarter of your life. It seems it will never end. Often, the education you receive seems irrelevant. I guess if I have to offer advice from my lofty view at 49, it’s just, “Be cool.” High school is a necessary evil to give you the tools to operate in many environments, not just the ones you’re comfortable in. If you can just get through four years, things will get interesting. And then you’ll yearn for the days when life was boring.