Wait. We Had Wood Shop?
by Sierra Moline
Class of 2015
It’s that time of year again time for the underclassmen to pick their schedules for next year. For some students that is easier said than done. For students that excel in areas outside of the four major subjects of science, math, social studies and English there is little variety. According to the Braintree High Program of Studies for the 2015-2016 school year, students are required to complete 22 credits of electives and the equivalent of a yearlong course in creative arts. The problem is there are not many options for electives outside of major subjects and of those offered many are not well known to the student body. For those who are not musically talented or successful in conventional art like drawing and painting there are even a smaller handful of choices.
Braintree would most definitely benefit from having more electives especially ones like cooking, sewing, wood shop and auto shop that existed previously in the school system and teach teenagers skills that help them later in life. In addition, there is a certain amount of pride that comes from being able to say I made this with my own hands. I feel that not enough students have that chance. For me personally, my elective is one of the only times during the school day I get to relax slightly because although it is not unheard of to have a test or quiz in orchestra, it is highly unlikely. Andrew Scott a teacher at Pelham Memorial High School echoes this sentiment saying, “It’s a little more lighthearted and relaxed because we’re an elective. We’re not driving toward a big goal or big sate exam”. This time to unwind is especially important to teenagers in Advanced Placement classes. With most likely hours of homework each night and a huge national test looming over their heads all year this might be the only not stressful part of their day.
Electives could help students to be well rounded with creative thinking skills, focus and hopefully more self-confident because there are kinds of success other than academic success and getting good grades. Additionally studies have shown that music and other electives engage a different part of the brain that English or math might not. Susan Rambo a teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada explains, “Elective classes reveal the skills sets of some students that might not be obvious in their other classes, helping them see their strengths and affording them opportunities to be of value to their classmates”. Electives should be used as a way of self-improvement and for students to explore creative outlets that are not usually available to them. Electives teach students to stay organized and motivated because unlike a major class, there will not be homework assigned and checked every day. Students must keep themselves on track and focused while managing their time to make sure they meet whatever necessary deadline.
One of the goals of high school is to prepare students to be helpful members of society out in the real world. Electives would only farther this goal by helping students be confident, creative and quick on their feet with problem solving.
Sierra Moline is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition