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Opinion: School Focusing on The Next is Causing Stress/Anxiety

Colonial Middle School parent Karyn Einhorn Salkin took to social media to share an idea she had while attending this years' back to school night. Her idea is simple, Schools obsession with the future and a lack of appreciation for the now is hurting our kids. We wanted to share this thought with our readers and are happy to reproduce her post with Karen's permission.

"BEWARE - this post is long and is me using social media to vent .First of all, I would just like to say how fortunate I feel that my boys go to school in such a wonderful school district . Dave and I enjoyed meeting all of Joshua’s 8th grade teachers last night at CMS and look forward to back to school night next week at PW !

So... here is my thought as I sit year after year at back to school night listening to the teachers speak. In middle school, we hear from day one about how they need to get them ready and prepare them for high school. We hear about the time of year when teacher’s decide whether the kids should be in honors classes in high school and everything that is NEXT.In high school, we hear from day one about college. All the requirements that are needed, how to prep for the college applications , what it takes to be in an AP course, so forth and so on. Again, everything that is NEXT!!As {I} Iisten to all of these Nexts, I feel anxious as a parent and can only imagine how my children and all children feel hearing about all they need to do to prepare. Of course we all want our children to succeed and be the best they can be for themselves, but all of this stress and pressure to prepare for what’s NEXT is contributing to our children’s daily anxiety and stress. Just once I want to hear about the NOW. Of course it’s important to plan and look ahead , as that’s part of what we need to do for our future wherever we are in life. But we also need to cherish and enjoy the NOW and what we do today and each and every day.I know a lot of teachers and administrators agree with me with all this pressure. I also know that they are getting so much pressure from parents and the community about preparation for “what’s next.” I do not blame the teachers, as they are just the messengers .As we all know, life is short and we should enjoy each day. I keep reading about people whose kids are off to college or work and they are empty-nesters and don’t know where the time went. These years go fast and our children are adults and out on their own before we know it. Maybe if we all enjoy the NOWs a bit more, these precious moments with our kids will be more meaningful.

Also, while I’m blabbing ... Who says college should be the natural next step for all these kids? Yes, for many it is the right choice after graduation. For several others, it is not the right choice for so many different reasons. Maybe a child is not emotionally ready to go to college. Maybe a year of work is needed to see what a person really wants to study before spending thousands of dollars. Maybe academics is not the right track for a student and learning a trade is a better choice. There are so many different answers for why a student is or is not ready to go to college.I know school districts everywhere feel pressured to have a large percentage of their students graduate and go to college right away. It looks good and makes the school have a “better” reputation. Don’t even get me started on standardized tests and the ridiculousness of all that pressure for both teachers and students. Test scores and number of students immediately going to college shouldn’t give a school a high ranking. Rather, a school should be ranked on the wonderful education and teachers, special programs, and most importantly, a focus on meeting the individual needs of students. In my opinion, this should be the criteria for a school’s reputation.Anyway, these are just my thoughts as I enter into another school year with my boys. By the way, both of my boys are strong students and enjoy school. I’m sharing these thoughts through the eyes of a parent, teacher and graduate with a masters degree in school counseling .Once again, I’m so grateful for our wonderful school district and I’m excited for my kids to have such amazing teachers. I hope each and every student has a good today, a promising tomorrow and a happy future that fits his/ her needs and strengths."

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