Monday, December 20, 2010

What is Senioritis?

My oldest is in college and my youngest is a senior in high school, which is what prompts this "Monday musing." Both are good students and both attend(ed) the same good high school and both got senioritis at about this time. Not so much so that it impacted their grades significantly, but both more or less were done with high school half-way through their senior year. Why?

I used to think senioritis was laziness. Having been accepted into college or the military or made other plans post-graduation, 12th graders simply checked out. Why work hard when you don't have to? Why study for tests when you can get by, having mastered the game, with cramming or without studying at all? They tell you that those final semester grades count and that they will be part of your transcript and wah wah wahwah wah.

But the preliminary results of this year's Million Voice Project tell a different story. Seniors are more bored and less engaged than any of their school mates in other years. And these results are long before most colleges have sent out their acceptance letters. For example, just 45% of 12th graders say they enjoy being at school. Fifty-four percent (54%) say that school is boring. And only one-third (34%) agree that school helps them understand what is happening in their everyday life. Maybe senioritis is laziness. But maybe it is the ongoing lack of relevance in our current educational approach that has these students, mine included, disengaged.

If this is not relevant to you...let me put a different spin on it: Why do students (and teachers?) rejoice over snow days?

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