Rock and Rock High School


I’m one of those rare suburbanites that you will never hear nor read, bash teachers. My dream job, other than published author, is to teach English composition and reaching skills to grade school children.

My kids stay annoyed at me because I ask them for details of their school day. Usually I’m met with “I don’t know, stuff, whatever” but I still ask. My teenager will let me know about tests or difficult assignments or teachers with whom has issues. My two younger ones, aged eight and seven, give me as few nuggets of information as will get them a juice or a chance to watch television.

My seven-year-old, known in this blog as The Goose, is my favorite child to question. When we’re in the car she’ll drop various bombs like “you know, dad, we should really recycle, it saves the Earth” or “Did you know you eat horribly, dad, and if you want to live longer you should diet and exercise more”. She’s very blonde, very blue-eyed, and so cute, that this stuff rolls off my back like an Olympic breaststroking duck.

It sometimes bugs me that she takes everything her first grade teachers say as gospel. The words of her mother and I often fall on deaf ears but if someone at her school tells her something, it’s gold. I appreciate her school but I’d like for them to help her mother and I out, some. I’m offering some ideas for them to drop on my daughter, and if my eight-year-old and teenager’s teachers are reading, their minds, as well.

1) Cleaning your room, spotless, where mommy and daddy can eat off the floor, will save ALL of the planets. I’ve never invited any of you to my house and the reason, is because my three girls’ rooms often look like the aftermaths of Taylor Swift and Big Time Rush poster tornados and dirty clothes hurricanes. Listen, public school teachers, put room organization on your agendas.

2) When your parents make you dinner or take you out to eat, it IS NOT optional as to whether you devour the food. My youngest kids think mealtime at home is open mike night at the Apollo meets merger and aquisitions negotiations on Wall Street. No, fools, eat your food. And stop asking for snacks two minutes into dinner. For my sixteen-year-old daughter I would like for her high school to offer a Home Ec class where she learns that while eating out, ordering the most expensive thing on the menu and eating half of it IS NOT OKAY. Dad’s wallet is light these days, kid.

3) Going green is great AT HOME TOO. The amount of waste in water, toilet paper, garbage, and other various odds and ends at our house is pretty alarming. Listen, could I take two minutes off my showers and conserve on the terlet paperz too, yes. But you should see these girls. They talk about their Earth Day type studies from their school then come home and make our footprint the size of a New Jersey landfill. Don’t get me started on televisions left turned on while they go outside or run upstairs to talk to their friends on the phone. Oh, and that basement light that I have to turn off everynight at 10pm because they always forget? Yeah, get on that kids’ schools.

4) Why there isn’t an economics class that’s mandatory for all children starting at the age of five is beyond me. But I think those moments in stores when out kids start saying “I want that” or “Can you by this” or “I saw this on tv, can I get it”  can be brainwashed out of them? Come on schools, help me teach these kids the value of a dollar. If you tell it to them, then my job at home becames cake.

5) There needs to be a rock and roll 101/music appreciation class for the good music we, as parents, know and love. I’m fighting the good fight at home trying to shove The Clash and The Ramones and Radiohead down my children’s throats but imagine if the school opened their days with Imagine by John Lennon? Our kids generation would be so much better than us. This needs to happen at the high school level. My teenager’s Taylor Swift obesession has got to end. Making her know who the New York Dolls were is a great start. T.Rex class starts at 9:30am

Feel free to add your own classes or trades the schools could indoctrinate into our children. We’re all in this together, parents. Neurotic, over-tired fist bump from me.

Today’s song had to happen. I haven’t played the Ramones in months. Here’s Rock and Roll High School. Break something and dance.

Hit it Marky!


66 thoughts on “Rock and Rock High School

  1. I also have the utmost respect for teachers, especially given the world that we live in today. Don’t get me wrong in that I’ve had some crappy ones, but the good ones really helped build a solid foundation for where I am today (at least the good parts. I won’t blame them for my issues.) Until I found out how much graduate school costs, I was aiming to be a college English/literature professor…obviously didn’t happen.

    At any rate, I like your suggestions. I would also like to implement a class that teaches kids how to speak in complete sentences–not text speak, wear clothes that fit and how to read a real book–not on an ereader and not just watch the movie.

  2. I think you would probably have to have a seperate class for this type of instruction, and the liklihood of the administrators granting approval to pay for would be nil…. ready to start writing paychecks? heh… I didn’t think so 😉

      • I understand that. Maybe there is a way to meet in the middle. Teach them to consider their sources now… it might save you AND them in the long run 😉

  3. My daughter is about to hit junior high…and I still haven’t gotten over the fact her preschool teacher held more sway with her than I did. Interesting post that will prompt some interesting lessons in my mind. How about…Believe it or not…your parents were once kids too…and they haven’t forgotten what it’s like!

  4. It’s such a breath of fresh air to read this and know we are not the only ones fighting this battle. My kids get upset when I won’t let their friends come over because their rooms are too messy. Eating out and ordering the biggest, most expensive meal… check, talking all through dinner… check, Taylor Swift obsession… check!!! Maybe our kids are clones? 😉

  5. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd

    I’d throw in movies along with the music. I don’t think people should be surprised by a younger person knowing about the past – children should know who Charlie Chaplin and The Marx Brothers were.

  6. Sigh 😉 I remember as a little girl when my youngest sister would come home with the typical “teacher agenda” rhetoric. Oh, how my poor momma tried to sprinkle a bit of truth in there somewhere. I could see momma’s face turning beet red and her ears smoking. My own kids. Poor things. We’ve let things like memorizing that stupid song with all the state capitals sort of fall by the wayside in favor of things like having a mastercard debit card at the age of 6, learning how mortgages and investments work and the benefits of dollar cost averaging. How to cook nutritious “bachelor” meals which eventually morphed into a love of cooking for Jake as he explored techniques for making the perfect roux. I also took their pillow cases and cut the entire bottom of them off and told them they had to sew it back up in 30 minutes. It’s home Ec bitches! When Jake wanted to play the guitar, I told him there was no way I was paying for lessons because the most valuable lessons are the ones you teach yourself. Now he’s unstoppable on 4 different kinds of guitars and the drums and is now teaching himself the piano. Andrew. Yeah. Umm. Well. He knows when his bank account is low. He knows how to lead raids on Modern Warfare 2. He knows how to smoke out the campers. And he knows that noobz suck. Ummm…. I think he can make a sandwich. His room smells like a dead body. I’m pretty sure he knows his own state capital. Maybe. Oh crap……

  7. Lance, bless you. I was one of three girls and only my middle sister (I being the baby) was responsible. I raised my one daughter practically on my own until I married Lex (she was 9) and so, after working fulltime and etc. etc., it was hard to do things right. Yet, she’s 24 now, brags to me about bargains she found on Craig’s List, shops first in the “clearance” section, scored her first prom dress for $30 (strapless, chiffon, gonna give it to a girl who needs it this year), and understands the concept of a bag lunch. So I must’ve done something right.

    Richard Dreyfuss is campaigning for Civics to be taught, but I feel Economics for ALL, including cooking, budgeting, trips to a faux store with a list… these things, like the arts, have been guillotined from even the most progressive schools in favor of teaching to the test and saving the football team. AAAARGH! Peace, Amy

    • awesome comment

      Amy, I have greta kids. This was mostly written steeped in sarcasm. For all of their minor annoyances they’re smart, funny, resourceful and interesting. thansk

  8. Hahaha! I’ve found myself – just prior to telling my kids something they really need to adhere to – saying “now just pretend I’m your teacher for a second.”

    And oh yeah, thanks for getting THAT song stuck in my head! Just from reading the title…

  9. Oh man! This happens around here, too. What happens and is said at school is far greater than what happens here. I laughed at the ‘green’ initiative as well. It’s this amazing and enlightening experience at school, but here? Somehow it doesn’t matter quite as much. We’re really into teaching our kids about good music, too. But, they’re on the young side. I fear how much it will change as they get older.

    • Well, Heidi, it will get more intense when they get older. I don’t know why my girls are so attached to their teachers every word, but I guess it’s a good thing.

  10. My mother was the department head for Home Ec (later called Consumer & Family Sciences) in our city for years. Her classes taught a lot of what you talk about–she even had a class called “Adult Living Skills” where kids learned how to budget, balance a checkbook and find an apartment. The higher ups never gave the subject matter any respect. I know for a fact that guidance councilors would talk “college bound” kids out of taking Home Ec classes. I guess they figured if you have a BA in Art History you’ll automatically know how to save money at the grocery store or feed a family on a budget.

    I know what you mean about the way kids listen to their teachers. If I had a nickel for every time I heard James say, “But Miss MacDonald said…”

    • we had a similar class in middle school but not in high school where we needed ti the most. I can’t tell you how many college people I kenw who would blow through hundreds of dollars in a weekend and beg their parents for more money to get them through a month.

      your Miss McDonald sounds like our Miss Watts, Miss Scott and Coach Hatfield

  11. mamamzungu

    This is precisely what makes home schooling so baffling to me. How do homeschooling mamas get their kids to heed their words?!?
    Anyway, I totally agree re: economics. My sister is really strict about money and pays her son for various chores (he’s 4). When he whines in a store for something, she simply tells him how much it is and asks if he has enough in his piggy bank. It’s actually working really well and he even cherishes his toys more because he gets that it takes work to get them. Great post!

  12. Economics class in public school – absolutely! At just 4 years old I’m attempting the difficult lesson of a dollar to my eldest son. And teaching him to turn the tv off, keeping the fridge door shut (this is truly a battle) and, and, and..the list goes on. Never too early for teaching these real life lessons in my opinion!

  13. These are great, really, your list is so spot on, but I can’t get past your dream of teaching composition. Ugh, that’s on my list of nightmare jobs. Creative writing, maybe. And you know I am your soldier-at-arms in this battle against today’s crappy pop! Let’s bring on the substance and rock-it-out sound! Erin

  14. Excellent post! My daughter thinks her teacher-hung, hanged, whatever the correct term is-the moon. If her teacher said it, it’s golden. If mama said it, it’s arguable. If daddy said it-it’s questionable.

    I finally bought her Kidz Bop 2,332 and cringe at it daily. “Baby, please listen to this. This is called Led Zeppelin. You will love it.” Her response is, “I’d rather hear “Rock This Club.” She’s 5.

    However, she is a fan of Joe Cocker’s voice. Go figure.

    • Yeah, it’s weird. one kid likes the Beatles, another one doesn’t. One kid likes Dolly Parton, anotehr one doesn’t.

      I’m glad to know that so many other parents face the “my teacher’s right and you’re dumb” thing.

  15. A. I knew I was a fan. You like teachers. Even English. Sweet.

    B. I am going to head upstairs and change out my daughter’s Taylor Swift CD for Radiohead right now. Thanks.

    C. Loved your post at Erin Margolin’s place. So glad you’re back writing. Really.

    • thanks Julie, I saw your comment at Erin’s. Thanks for being such a ray of light, like Madonna, yourself on the web and for listening to Radiohead.

  16. As a teacher, I like your ideas! Now, just finding the time to fit all that in between the testing, curriculum and paperwork would be awesome. 😛 Your’e the kind of Dad I would love to have in my class, though. You’d come volunteer and cut crap out, right? As long as I recycled the scraps, of course!!

  17. I am a kindergarten teacher and I confess we do have that power of children (most of the time). I have no problem with using my teacher powers for good including things like “clean up at home” and “eat all your peas”! I just wish my daughters teacher would do the same!

    Also, it would be amazing to teach a music appreciation class and dispel the myth that Taylor Swift’s albums constitute good music 😉

  18. The middle school my kids attended has a class called Rock On. It’s mandatory for 7th graders, and they learn to appreciate Rock from the 50’s to present. I think I might have been more excited about the class than either of my kids ever were!

  19. tara pohlkotte

    great list! oh, how my son is over the moon with his teacher. I and he’s only 5 🙂

  20. The Little Dude is only 2, so I haven’t gotten to most of that stuff yet, but I agree wholeheartedly with #5. That’s why I refuse to play “kids’ music” for him and even started a blog feature about the tunes I play for him. He now has better musical taste than his mother.

    • i have a blended family. my now 8 yr old daughter, the first 4 years of her life I did the same thing. She knew more about the Beatles and Led Zepplin and Elvis Costello than most music critics. Youre a good dad

  21. David Wiley

    What a novel idea. I can already imagine the benefits of something like Rock Music 101. Every child should grow up knowing and appreciating some of the greats like Bowie, Queen, and Clapton. I think we should also consider expanding this to include a class for movies, as well. My fiancee is a bit younger than me, and it drives me nuts sometimes that her taste in music and movies cuts off at about 1990. I think she could have used those classes when she was younger, too.

    Keep up the great posts. I enjoy reading them from Yeah Write, and I think I’ve finally decided to follow your blog regularly and add you to my blogroll.

  22. I do admit, as a former grade one teacher, you pretty much summed it up. Most of the kiddos in my class took my word as law. Lovely, yes, but now on the parent end, I can’t get my kids to do anything I say. UGH!
    As for the musical choices, I think tweendom has its own sets of rules, basically choosing whatever parents hate. I pray to God my girls don’t turn country.

  23. Oddly, I don’t think I was ever like that. Well, I often didn’t think everything my parents told me was gospel for sure… but not the teacher bit. Maybe I just didn’t have particularly inspiring or idealistic teachers (not in that way at least… many of my teachers were excellent at that whole teaching thing, and I appreciated them for that). On the music side of the equation, I distinctly remember my English teacher in 7th grade really digging Run DMC and talking to us about it in class. It’s not classic alternative or punk, but it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it. 🙂

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