My previous post today concerned itself with vacation, and I wondered aloud if we need vacation from school because we are so work oriented. If you have read Joseph Pieper’s Leisure: the Basis of Culture then perhaps you are anticipating some of this, but should true learning be viewed as labor? I am not asking here if it should be “hard” or rigorous: to be true, good, beautiful learning it must be difficult. What I am asking is should our study be viewed as work or leisure? Is school to more closely compare with adults who are in the office or in their den? There are competing views here that make my job as an administrator challenging.
On the one hand, everyone these days seems satisfied to view education in terms of productivity, measurable efficiency, and quantifiable ends (read, “product”) which translates in my mind into viewing schools as factories, at least from management’s point of view. On the other hand, many (most) parents today hit the ceiling if Johnny has any significant homework, standards, or work requirements. I suppose I should simply read our culture into this and know that just like John Sr. wants a job where he gets paid the most for the least amount of effort, so Johnny Jr. and his dad both want to see high test scores, brilliant progress, etc. with a minimum of personal cost in the classroom.
So how does the first thoughts connect to the latter? What would it take to move moderns from viewing education as a “job” to a “vocation”? What all is involved in resolving these issues? Can you tell we are about to wrap up a long year? Someone guide me to the nearest hammock!