Double Standards … and mixed reviews of high school

The transition from a small school to a large high school has had mixed reviews from my daughter.

Last night while on a long walk she unloaded about school. Mainly the kids were stupid. I’ll give you the list.

  • The kids don’t care about their grades.
  • They don’t care about school.
  • All of my teachers but one hate me.
  • There are too many stoners.
  • All the boys think about is sex.
  • The popular girls call me sheltered because I don’t do drugs, smoke or have sex with a bunch of guy. I’m not sheltered. It is my choice not to do those things.

After almost a week off from school it all came pouring out for two hours of hiking in the woods.

I’m glad she talks to me. I think of the kids who don’t talk to their parents. I think it is because their parents don’t encourage it or make it comfortable. One must listen without judgment and without constant suggestions. Just listen.

But we did talk about things.

I believe her teachers DO like her, or at least don’t dislike her. She is quiet in class, asks questions, is involved (if no opinionated) in discussions, and gets really good grades. And she helps other kids when they need it, especially the special needs kids. But she is hard to read for those who don’t know her. She isn’t an open book.

There is a certain cultural group full of tough girls who like to smack girls of other cultural backgrounds. It is a very small group but if you hit other girls people will notice. One of Clara’s friends was hit in PE for no reason other than the color of her ginger hair. The attacker was suspended, but still, it is frustrating. My daughter wonders why these girls – the ones who attack are so stupid and mean and violent.

I asked if any of those girls were in her PE class. She said no, just stoner chicks and they don’t bother anyone.

There are a lot of stoners at school. One of her best friends now hangs out with stoners. He says they are nice to him. She doesn’t know how to handle that. She knows if she hangs out with stoners that everyone will think she is a stoner. That and the fact that she finds stoners disgusting with their lack of ambition and ability to embrace stupidity.

And it always circles around at how sexist the Freshman and Sophomore boys are. They make rude comments, send rude texts and act like jerks if she doesn’t give them attention back. For more on that click here for “Junk Mail.”

There are also the groups of “popular girls” who are beautiful and look Clara up and down when she walks past. The looks are rude and judgmental.

Clara wears great clothes and she is beautiful. She is the California girl with the long blonde hair and I dare say, sultry deeper voice. She is also smart. And she doesn’t take crap. She doesn’t feel the need to follow anyone.

Thank goodness she is making a lot of friends, kids like her who have a high standard for themselves.

Sure she could rip the heads off of the kids who bug her but that isn’t a solution any more than smoking pot to make things feel better. Or worse she could be like the mean girls and making sport of trying to get other girls to feel bad about themselves.

She knows the mean girls and stupid boys will be like the Bruce Springsteen song “Glory Days.” Everything for these kids will be downhill after high school because they never see the big picture or have any idea of what is coming. The big wide world out there doesn’t care who is “popular” or “cool.”

She sees in the older kids (Juniors and Seniors) more mature and smart but that doesn’t make things better. She knows some of the kids will grow up and out of their present immature state but that seems like a long way off.

But it will get better as she makes more friends. Her old friends and new friends more or less all feel the same way she does. They don’t fit into any “group.” They’re just good kids. Not geeks. Not religious. Just good well grounded kids from good well grounded families.

She knows herself and knows she isn’t the one who is weird or off track. She is fine – just surrounded by a sea of stupid.

As for any violence – there are cameras in every classroom so disciplinary action is swift. Unfortunately bad things still happen. Not all the time, but enough to make school suck.

All of these things have never really been a problem before. Everything was always cool or small or less confusing.

As a parent just listen. Let your teen vent. Let them use you as a sounding board. And a hug always helps.

– Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And while you’re online have your teen listen to this. The world is full of jerks but if you’re smart and true you’ll be ok (but the jerks unfortunately are a part of life.)
http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/11/30/247842138/science-reporter-emily-graslie-reads-her-mail-and-it-s-not-so-nice

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13 thoughts on “Double Standards … and mixed reviews of high school

    • I know, it is so hard to see them going through this. It hits some kids harder than most, and it hit her hard. I didn’t expect her to be so frustrated by it all despite making so many friends. But at least she can vent.

  1. This post meshes with something I read earlier this evening on usatoday.com, a poll indicating that in 1972, half of Americans trusted each other. The total now is only a third (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/30/poll-americans-dont-trust-one-another/3792179/). Seems like mistrust is deeply institutionalized in your daughter’s high school as a necessary survival tactic, insuring that the erosion of what the article’s author calls our “social capital” will continute to accelerating.

    Beyond that, and mistrustful as I am, I can’t help but ask myself, “Who does a divided and bickering populace benefit?”

  2. What you described is one of the many reasons we home schooled our daughter. She was more interested in really learning, and not having to deal with all the issues of being another student in large school (high schools have 3000 students out here). We were also raising her to be bilingual, so we took her through the Spanish Baccalaureate in the home school system we developed. The Spanish Baccalaureate, which we started on while we lived in Spain, is equivalent to a Junior in College here (we had to get special permission from the Spanish government to home school her in Spain. A rather daunting and bureaucratic task on top of trials and tribulations of getting Spanish residency).

    What was great about home schooling is part of her studies included volunteering at natural history and archeology museums, both here and in Spain, which gave her professional mentors, access to facilities and equipment, and real-world experience. She also volunteered for churches, and in Spain she worked for the Bishop of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church, where she was the personal translator and tour guide for the Archbishop of Dublin when we visited. She sang in choirs for music, and was president of a local Bonsai club which gave her experience in organizing events, budgeting, management and dealing with the press for a nationally affiliated club. She made lots of friends of all ages in her home school endeavors, and developed great social skills at the same time.

  3. Oh, how I wish there was a requirement for parental involvement in a child’s school, like there was at the Montessori school. But even there, the drop out parents found a way around it.

    The good news is, at least for us, it gets a little better next year. My sophomore looks back on her freshman year and says she’s so very glad THAT is over.

  4. Behaviors haven’t really changed over the years. This kind of stuff was going on in the 60s but it just wasn’t publicized as much. I don’t think anyone back then wanted to acknowledge that it was happening.

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