I dropped my six-year-old daughter off at school on Tuesday morning. It was eighteen degrees and windy. School wouldn’t start for another ten minutes. So she walked up to the school and got into the line for her class, and then waited there, outside, standing in line, for ten minutes, until the bell rang and the teacher let them in.
Is this standard procedure everywhere now? No getting to school more than ten minutes early; no playing on the playground before school; no going into the school before the bell rings; everybody waits in a line? Even in good weather, I don’t see why the kids can’t go into school and wait in their classrooms, at least for those last ten minutes. When I was in elementary school (yeah, I know, forty years ago), we played outside or waited in our classrooms, whichever we liked. We certainly didn’t stand there waiting in single file for the bell to ring.
It’s just a small thing, I guess, but these unnecessary rules and constraints, these little indignities, these little deprivations of autonomy, add up. Maybe I’m in the grip of nostalgia, but it just seems so much more demeaning to be a kid now than it was forty years ago.
Local readers: do any of you know why the schools do it this way? More distant readers: Is this how it works where you are?