For our younger Beacon readers, here is a real advantage of having children down the road. With children, you get INVITATIONS to attend “back to school night” twice a year at whatever school your children attend. It is a chance for the school that your child attends to pull out all the stops to show that the education machine there is alive and dwell.
Teacher will pull on their best clothes. Their classrooms will be more bounteously adorned than they have been seen for months with displays of daily work and artistic posters. Nearly everyone will be smiling, which will make it seem that we must all be in some other place other than a school room.
But the one place where there will be no guided tour will be the discipline room. That is, the room they put disruptive students so that the regular class lessons may continue without further interruption.
But, indeed, the discipline room is the OCD room, which in the parlance of the public schools of California does not mean obsessive compulsive disorder. It actually stands for “On Campus Detention,” and alternates as a discipline room with other schools that call it the “OCS” Room (On Campus Suspension.) The important thing is to put in a word that the whole operation is “on campus,” so that the supervising county board of education doesn’t deduct financial support for the student not being on campus.
The interesting thing about including the OCD or the OCS Room in the “Back to School” tour is that it would provoke some good questions about the invisibility of teaching aids in the room – that is, books and visual aids. The typical discipline room is indeed silent in educational atmosphere. There is nothing on the walls and nothing on any table or shelves, and in fact typically no tables or shelves.
I thought I’d write about this because since there is no public exposure of the discipline rooms in school, least of all on Back to School nights, and there is no accountability for working them into some kind of usefulness.
So sure, the students who are sent to discipline need more work than the honor students that the machinery of the schools uses as their clockwork instruments. The honor students are top scholars because they are self-starters. If these top students were to grow into a total self-educating regimen with the adults in their days becoming supportive coaches rather than dictating teachers, their skills would undoubtedly further blossom as do school athletes under their supportive coaches – and we would certainly harvest in this way more precocious young scholars in the spirit of the child-genius John Stuart Mill and an Isaac Newton.
It is actually the clueless students who end up disrupting classes with their unraveling mechanisms that could more beneficially use more attention given by professional educators, rather than being sent into discipline rooms where it’s usually okay and sometimes even considered convenient for them to sleep on the tax-payers time and the school bond’s money.
So I have been thinking that it is really part of a new school bond is to support all this sleeping and close to being asleep in the discipline room. At least let’s consider putting some inexpensive good music into these rooms to enrich the students as they struggle with sleeping in there.
And I am talking about music that would enlarge human perceptions, which was the entire purpose of people like Bach and Mozart and Beethoven composing the music.
The only classical composer the students I have interviewed is Beethoven, but they only know him through the film series and the animated TV show starring a Saint Bernard dog. I am willing to bet that any high school discipline room with classical music going would change the whole atmosphere of OCD and OCS rooms. For one thing, students would no longer just purposely cut up in their classrooms so they could be sent to disciplines rooms to chill and sleep the rest of the day.
But the other change would be that good music teachers a person about time, just as a musician uses time to place the music as a painter may use a canvas to place the visual picture. It is time after all that we all need to master. And when time is presented second by second in beautiful chords by a Beethoven or a Bach or a Mozart, mankind and womankind become seriously civilized on more recognizable currents of time.
Chris Sharp- Commentary
Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon