Brennan: Facing holes in history

By Tom Brennan |

The Covid 19 pandemic has created for much of the world what I would call a hole in history.

That hole is a year-long gap in normal activities, plans set aside for months or longer, a problem unlikely to disappear for years to come. It is a huge deficit in the human calendar.

The problem is worldwide and for most of the world it is also decidedly local. Among those scrambling to make up for lost time are Southcentral Alaska schoolchildren, their teachers and their parents. 

During the pandemic, which is ongoing, classes were canceled virtually everywhere and children kept at home to prevent them from catching and spreading the sometimes fatal disease. Some filled in with virtual classes though even where those became available a lot was lost with the lack of being together with friends and classmates as well as with teachers.

For some the answer will be summer school. The Anchorage School District is already working on summer school opportunities for youngsters hoping to get a head start, with at least one summer session and perhaps two. The Matanuska-Susitna School District is also scrambling to make up for lost time and will presumably be offering something similar.

Hunkering down is what my wife and I normally do because of our age and disposition, so the goings-on of the last year haven’t been all that different for us. We have missed getting out to our favorite restaurants and some of those have been permanently closed by their owners, a great loss to all of us.

I endured a personal hole in history some years back and remember that with mixed emotions. When I was in my freshman year of high school, a teacher asked me what I wanted to focus on in the years ahead. What the teacher wanted to know was whether I would be concentrating on getting ready for a career in the business world or going on to college.

My parents had never discussed the question with me, presumably because they thought I was too young to give it serious consideration. When the teacher asked, all I could think of was the answer I heard given by a kid in front of me: business. So that is how I answered,

What I didn’t realize was that my answer would be a major determining factor in the rest of my high school career. When I reached my senior year I decided I wanted to go on to college. But when I applied to a few colleges, including the University of Massachusetts, I learned that I hadn’t taken the requisite courses for admission.

The only thing I could do short of skipping college was to go back to high school and take the courses I was missing. I did that, was admitted to UMass the following spring and earned my degree four years later, a year behind many of my peers.

In those days they didn’t have the kind of counseling available to young people these days. I could have used some good advice from an adult who knew what I might be facing.

Professional school counseling has improved greatly since the time I’m referring to. With the many holes in history to be faced by school-age children in the next few years, that counseling is going to be vitally important.

One Response to Brennan: Facing holes in history

  1. R-Dubya April 18, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    With all due respect, TB gives us another great example of … “Then and Now”
    His personal experience was a longtime ago, when values and institutions were completely different from what they are now.
    The education system in Anchorage is so completely corrupted and dis-functional, it’s actually “child endangerment” to keep them enrolled there. Best advice is to take them out of these “indoctrination camps” and give them a better and more effective chance elsewhere.


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