Ignoring You is Not a Cognitive Defect

So a bunch of high school teachers are upset that their students are bored with them. Well, that’s not how they say it. Instead, the New York Times has the backs of boring, stupid teachers everywhere: “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” If kids didn’t have iPhones, they would pay attention in school.

Really?

What’s the last book you’ve read. How often do you – a big, bad, enlightened adult – sit down without the television or radio on? How often do you seek the lengthy solitude of reflection and reading? Can you even sit in silence for an hour?

Adults rarely read, and that’s fine. Adults spend most of our time in a distraction from our impending death. Or is there another justification for TV?

When you start claiming to have the moral high road when you’re doing the same things as your kids, there’s a problem. When you start diagnosing children – especially boys – with mental illnesses, then you are my enemy.

One teacher uses a student’s failing to read Cat’s Cradle as evidence of a cognitive defect. One student just can’t seem to finish it. That same student puts in full workdays working on film projects. He obviously has energy for something. I can relate.

I forced myself to read 25% of A Farewell to Arms. That’s a classic. I hated it. I couldn’t finish it. A disorder? Well, if you want to pull out the dicks: I’ll compare the quantity and quality of my reading list to any high school English teacher’s. One man’s entertainment is another man’s tedium.

Does the student have an “attention disorder,” or does he just not enjoy doing busywork? I spend hours a day reading, and if I didn’t work, I would read all day. Was my attention disorder cured once I graduated from high school? Who was the problem in high school – me, or my teachers? (Or neither?)

Well, he needs to do busywork, to prepare himself for the adult world. Great. Education’s sole concern should be with conditioning a young person to learn to suffer through putting covers on a TPS report? He’ll be a cubicle rat soon enough. Let the boys play before putting them in a cage.

When I coached youth boxing at a high school, I didn’t have problems keeping the students’ attentions. These wired-for-distraction teenage boys spent 2-3 hours a day at wrestling practice. On Saturday, practices were even longer. When training Judo, Sambo, American wrestling, boxing, or MMA….The only time one of them checked a cell phone was when a girlfriend was texting him. (And who can blame them?)

People are bored with you because you’re boring. That’s your problem, not theirs.

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