Did you know that, in Ancient Egypt, most of the people died in their early twenties, including the Pharaohs?

The high school I’m working at now is having issues with the musical Oklahoma!  I think that is a fairly interesting fact.  According to the theater teacher, this isn’t the first play that they had issues with.  There have actually been more than a few.  She has, in the past, dealt with them with a fair amount of grace, But like Westside Story before it, the issues with Oklahoma! are really making her mad.  Apparently Westside Story, Oklahoma!, & Grease all contain adult material that isn’t appropriate for high school students.  In the case of Oklahoma! & Westside Story the issue was weapons, in the case of Grease it was adult materials.

It turns out that some of the musicals that I sat through in high school & enjoyed now contain material that are not suitable for students that are the same age I was when my high school put them on.

I can see where she is mad.

Did you know that, in Ancient Egypt, most of the people died in their early twenties, including the Pharaohs?

When I was getting my Masters in Education so I could teach in high schools, most of the classes I took were in child psychology.  Most of what I had to read dealt with dealing with children.

I came into the educational world in an odd way.  I first got a degree in history.  When I did take my education courses that dealt with teaching high school aged students, they were focused on the subject.  “Bring history alive.” And I was in grad school with people who either went to college for business or communications, or majored in education.

I remember once, one of the future unemployed teachers in the cohort with me insisted that the Boston Tea Party was preformed by Indians.  No bull shit.  The professor backed her up, or at least attacked me for snorting & suggesting that she was wrong & it was, in fact, preformed by colonists.  I was being insulting & potentially hurting her feelings by suggesting she was wrong.

These people were going to teach history?  Seriously, that explains a hell of a lot about our current political & economic situation.  But that is what happens in high school where you maybe have to take a minors worth of classes in the subject you are teaching, maybe, & a majors worth of what amounts to early childhood psyche.

If you want to improve education in America, it might be a good idea to force high school teachers to major in their subject & minor in early education.

I think I approach teenagers a little differently that a lot of the teachers currently holding classes in our fair nation’s high schools.

Did you know that, in Ancient Egypt, most of the people died in their early twenties, including the Pharaohs?    It’s a fairly important fact.  Egypt was a super power of ancient civilizations.  It was also, largely, governed by teenagers.  Seriously, honestly, teenagers made Ancient Egypt, especially at its earliest periods.

People my age were rare & the elders of that & a hell of a lot of early civilizations.  People my father’s age were long dead.

The same can be said, largely, about Europe in the middle ages.  The aristocracy might have lived longer; thank you technology, but the rest of the European world back then were teenagers & young adults.

Sure, teenagers were fucking & having children back then, but it was more than that.  Teenagers were leading armies.  Teenagers were holding political office.  Teenagers were adults back in the day & they ruled empires.  They made hard & adult decisions, with the skill of adults, & they created the world we live in today.

No bull shit.

Back in the United States, during the Civil War, they were adults.  A man my age would commonly marry a teenaged girl, & then when she died in childbirth, would probably marry another one.  Teenaged girls, back then, had a better chance of surviving child birth & men my age were just getting financially secure enough to afford a family.

Teenaged boys, back then, today’s high school freshmen, were leaving the house to fight in the war.  By the time they could drive they were graduating from West Point.  They were taming the Wild West.  They were fighting in the Indian wars.  They were adults.

Kids back then, elementary school kids, they were working in sweatshops.  They had already started their career as a wage slave to the rich.  They were helping put food on the table.  If they were unlucky, by the time they were teenagers they were dead or maimed.  If they were lucky, they might have married another teenager & started a sweat shop family & were getting ready to die young.

As a society America is working very hard to get children back into the sweat shops & teenagers out of school.  Nike & a number of other corporations have moved their manufacturing base over seas so that they can continue with this age-old labor policy.  We don’t really teach that in history classes in high school, partly because teaching history, real history, brutal history, is considered “progressive” & “communist,” but mainly because the teachers at the head of those classes never learned those simple fact, they learned how to “teach” instead.

Rather than teaching teenagers that they created this world, that they were once Pharaoh, we teach them that they are children & treat them like children.  And then we wonder why they struggle in the world of adult academia.

It was economic, technological, & societal advances that allow teenagers to be children today.  Unfortunately, those advances aren’t global & what is worse, we are losing the economic & societal advances here in the US that allows your children to be children.

I enjoyed my teenage years, but my parents were working class—I will never be as wealthy as they were despite the fact that, unlike them, I have two college degrees.  Today’s teens, they very well are more fucked than me.  The local community college costs as much, per credit hour, as my graduate school, jobs are fewer & pay less & if it wasn’t for a full time job, I wouldn’t have been able to go to college.

But teenagers, they were once pharaohs & we are insisting on treating them like children.  This is just wrong.  Oklahoma! is not too adult for an age group that once ruled the world.  Truth be told, there is a lot about teenagers that are more adult than most adults.  Teenagers today, most of them, are less racist & homophobic than their parents.  They are more open minded than most adults.  In many cases, especially when it comes to accepting minorities, teenagers are smarter than we are.

They are also braver than we are.

Its time we start treating teenagers like adults.  It’s time we start teaching them like adults.  They win nothing by treating them like children.  It holds them back.  These kids were pharaohs once.  We need to stop treating them like children.  We need to stop Molly Coddling them.  Teenagers can handle it, they handled it for thousands of years.


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