Theodore R. Sizer in his essay “What High School Is” begins with an illustration, a detailed account of the opening of the day at a high school, following one student named Mark, sixteen years of age, as he arrives at school, greets his friends, and goes to class. This section is a rather dry recitation of his schedule on this particular day, with some vivid descriptions of the classes, the other students, and the different elements of the school day. This entire section runs four and a half pages and serves as the introduction to the entire essay. This is a daring and not entirely satisfactory approach.
There is nothing ahead of this description to assure the reader that the entire essay will not consist of this detailing of one student’s day, though in fact the essay has something else in mind if it can hold the attention of the reader until the author gets to it. He might have offered some more traditional introductory remarks to indicate that he has a purpose in telling this lengthy story, which would gain him mileage with many, but instead he just launched into it and continues through to the end of the day. After this, of course, comes what might be considered a more
The reading What High School Is by Theodore R. Sizer accurately depicts an average day for a high school student, but fails to show some of the most critical things about what high school is. A large portion of the reading tells about the average day of a student named Mark. This portion of the story is the focus of my response. Although the description of his day is pretty accurate, it fails to show the emotion and feelings of that day. The story only describes what he does in his classes and not what he thinks about those classes. The story over simplifies what high school is to each individual student. Although most students probably follow about the same schedule, the way that student reacts towards his classes, teachers, students, and administrators varies greatly. While one student might enjoy his or her schedule and teachers, another student with the same classes might hate school because of it. Another very significant part of high school that Sizer fails to mention is the social aspect.
One of the MOST important skills learned in high school is social interaction. Sizer barely mentions that the part of the day that most students learn the most, and look forward to the most, is their lunch and passing periods. Most student’s opinions on high school and whether or not it was a good experience for them greatly depends upon how well they can socialize during these times of the day. If a person was to ask an “outcast” what they thought of their high school they would most likely relate the experience as a negative one. However, if a person was to ask someone who even had some social interactions that person would most likely have had a positive high school experience.
Overall, Sizer does a good job of showing the class experiences of a student but fails to even mention one of the most important factors in that students high school career, their social interactions.i completely agree with you on the part about high school experience, and that is something that always differs from all of us. now going back to what schools are doing… it can clearly be seen that depending on the location of the school, it is how the kids would learn to be socially aware citizens and critical thinkers. unfortunately not many of the schools are doing this.. but why? should we let our kids fail on their own so that they become responsible?
I think its fine that the author didn’t include Mark’s feelings or how high school social life is very important. That’s not the focus of his essay. He is pointing out that the public education system is failing to provide true scholastic and humanistic substance for students. Schools say they want to teach “moral and ethical values” and “self-realization” to students, but do very little in those stated goals. Yes, a lot of us have had wholesome high school experiences but that’s because we’ve made great friends and been around great people. What about great teachers or administators? What are they doing to give students a valuable education experience?