Many life-changing events occur during high school. There is the prom, the championship football game, the senior prank, and of course, that big party that the cops had to break up. These incredible memories are never forgotten. Oh yeah, and there were some classes, too.
But who cares? Calculus? World history? Does anybody ever use that stuff? Not to mention those weird classes like home economics or woodshop. What a waste of time. Right?
Wrong. In fact, it’s those fringe elective classes that are the most important part of high school.
Like plenty of other kids, I did fine in school. I did my homework and got good grades. However, I admit I was bored through most of my classes. I was only there so I could pass the tests. Moreover, I only needed to pass the tests so I could get into college, where I could pass more tests. The core classes just didn’t do it for me. I needed to branch out to find something interesting.
Fortunately, I went to where there were plenty of options when it came to electives. For me, Child Study Lab made all the difference in my high school experience. This single course was actually two classes taking place simultaneously. For two hours a day, local toddlers attended a preschool that was taught by high school students. The preschoolers learned about colors and numbers, and the high schoolers learned about early childhood education. It was an incredible class, taught by an amazing teacher, Ms. Lynne Brewer.
I enjoyed this class so much, that I took it for three straight years. Not only did it confirm my future career choice, but it gave me incredible first-hand knowledge that is more relevant to me than ever as I become a professional in my field. I am currently a college senior, majoring in Elementary Education. Child Study Lab helped me get into college (I wrote about it in my application essay) and has helped me in actual classrooms. I still remember Ms. Brewer’s rules about writing lesson plans and controlling unruly students. This high school elective helped me become the teacher I am today.
Thankfully, my success story is not unique. Electives, and other sorts of extra-curricular activities, allow students to succeed in areas that interest them. At Farmingdale, students can take “Foods” where they learn all sorts of culinary techniques. They can take “Auto-Tech” and get hands-on experience working on cars. Furthermore, after-school activities such as musicals, mural club, and even sports teams, help students develop skills in areas they are passionate about.
These classes are not required by state standards. No Child Left Behind does not test students on their ability to make a soufflé or rebuild a muffler, so administrators are often forced to decrease funding to what are too commonly seen as non-essential classes when they create budgets in this weak economy. However, let’s not declare these classes unnecessary too fast. They just might be the most important classes you’ll ever take.
Find out how electives were affected in the 2011-2012 Farmingdale School District budget . As part of its Patch will feature local opinions on the subject. Interested in having your voice heard? Contact Farmingdale Patch editor Amanda Fiscina at firstname.lastname@example.org.