BSM needs classes for “real-life” experiences

Danielle Kincs

As I watched a certain friend of mine wander aimlessly in the halls after school one day, looking pitiful with jumper cables wrapped around her neck, I thought to myself: “Could this have been prevented?” Her car had died, and she did not know how to re-charge the battery and was scared of even attempting to do so (she had seen the ridiculous warning labels and was now sure that she was going to be electrocuted). So now, she was looking for a teacher to help her.

As BSM has classified itself as a “college preparatory” school, any courses intended for “real-life” applications such as Home Economics, Wood Shop, or (as it would have been helpful in my friend’s case) Mechanics, are not a part of the curriculum. And while I can understand that as a “college preparatory” school, these extra classes may not help students prepare for the ACT or get into an Ivy League school, the benefits of these classes cannot be overlooked. If the whole idea of “college preparatory” is to prepare students for college, how will students fair when it comes to life outside of physics and calculus?

When students graduate and head off to college, most of them are leaving home and getting their first experience of independence. However, how independent can a person be who does not know how to sew on a button, follow directions on a box of macaroni and cheese, or even pop the hood of their car?

Often teens become too dependent on their parents to help them solve their little everyday problems. At the same time, parents have become too dependent other people, willing to pay tailors and mechanics for simple fixes and (especially) relying heavily on AAA. In reality, while AAA is extremely convenient, what happens if you are stranded, say, in the middle of Iowa with a flat tire and no cell phone service?

While BSM adding any home-ec or shop classes to the curriculum would be extremely unlikely, what would prevent the administration from adding one “life skills” class every other week, switching off with Wellness? Sure, students would complain about losing their free periods, but perhaps that would prevent them from looking as pitiful as my friend did the day her car died. And what better prepares students for college and the real world: a free hour or a class that teaches students how to sew a button, learn safe food preparation practices, or change a tire?

As for my friend, she eventually found help from Mr. Bowler. With a rather large audience (only at a college prep school is jumping a car that big of a spectacle), and without any safety gear to prevent electrocution and certain death, she finally faced her fears and learned how to charge a car battery… and pop the hood.