Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Eighteen and Sixty

Most of my students are older people now; my classes generally have only a handful of young students in them these days. I believe that it is extremely beneficial to have a mixture of many ages in a college class.

All too often, older people's association with younger people is connected to the authority figure/obedience thing. Ditto for the younger people, in reverse. Many older people have no contact with any younger people except their own children.

It's good to mix them up in a classroom and let them learn from each other, and teach each other, and discover what a different generation has to offer, with no family strings attached. It gives both generations insight into their own parents/kids, and into the world in general. Many ages, all with the same status, in one room. Gotta love it.

Back in the olden days, there was a lot of intermingling among the generations; the generations often lived in the same house and there was always somebody at home, and schools invited whole families to come and watch recitations and participate in spelling bees, etc. Now, grandparents are farmed out to assisted living facilities and, later, nursing homes, because nobody is home and those who are don't want to bother with the care; whereas, outsiders who try to enter a school are fingerprinted and treated like terrorists for wanting to watch Billy as "Dennis Hanks" in the social studies play. And while I understand that it's not possible to care for some people at home, I think people should try before they give up, and while I don't believe parents should be hanging around the school all the time, I do believe an audience for a little Presidents' Day presentation is a really good thing.

The generations don't mingle much any more, so my classes make me happy just to look at the sea of faces, no two the same age and all bringing incredibly diverse backgrounds into the mix.

I love it. LOVE IT.

Some of them are older than I am. I love that, too. Maybe a little too much. :)
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:51 AM | |


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