483. Enjoying School

It’s traditional and usual for children and teachers to look forward eagerly to weekends, holidays, vacations, and daily dismissal. Even those who seem to thoroughly enjoy school usually get excited about times when they no longer have to be there. There’s something intrinsically oppressive about having to stay in one building for most of a day, no matter how hard people try to make that building a joyful place. No matter how much they succeed. And so there’s something intrinsically liberating about not having to be in that building.
And yet there are many children and teachers who look forward eagerly to being in school. Teachers and children often like each other, and enjoy spending time together. Children often like each other, and so do teachers. It can be difficult for children to find time to be together outside school; that’s time for the family, lessons, team sports (which don’t necessarily include children’s best friends from school), and other activities that interfere with play time. What friends you have in school are more reliably there; you don’t have to figure out when and how to get together.
Teachers also have a tendency to like each other, and to enjoy getting together. Staff meetings, grade level meetings, and workshops aren’t necessarily fun, and short breaks in the teachers’ room are not great times to do a lot of catching up. Staff parties can provide some time to catch up, but they only happen about twice a year, and they tend to be crowded, and to include spouses and other significant others, who feel left out if teachers spend all their time at these parties catching up with each other. Even teachers who are good friends at work have lives to live away from work, and don’t usually have time to hang out with each other. But many of them wish they could. And in school, at least they can a little. Even though it’s often not cool to admit that you like school, there are class reunions all over the place. Something must have happened during the years spent together in that building to make people decide to get together, reminisce, catch up with each other, and feel good together again. People talk about dreading their class reunions, but if they really don’t like reunions, why do they go? Something about the time spent together in school must bring out some kind of feeling people want to have again.
Many people look forward to the school day, week, and year. Many of them don’t realize that they look forward to it; they think they’re just putting up with it. Many others know they like it, but don’t admit it; it’s not cool to like school. And there are also people who are totally in touch with their feelings about school, and totally open about them. Some of those people like school, some don’t, and some have mixed feelings that they articulate well.
I’m writing this article during a weekend. I do enjoy weekends, but I have to admit that I enjoy school days more.

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