Education through the years


Sheridan High School’s driver’s education instruction Dale Josewski, shows off the drivers education car of 1972.

When one thinks about changes within a 30 year time period, crazy hairstyles, clothing and clouds of suffocating hairspray come to mind. Not only has style dramatically changed, education has also evolved with the mullets and perms. There are several teachers at Sheridan High School who have an average of thirty or more years of teaching experience. These teachers have witnessed numerous changes in the world of education. Psychology teacher Doug Raney has been teaching since 1971. Former history teacher Ed Fessler has been actively involved with high school students since 1978.

The days of chalk dust allergies are being replaced with headaches from the fumes of dry erase markers.The most prominent change within education is the extensive use of technology. Technology has rapidly evolved in the last thirty years. Classrooms are now equipped with smartboards, airprojecters, iPads, laptops and countless other gadgets. These changes have dramatically transformed how a class is taught. Endless amounts of information can be accessed with a click of a mouse. Paper is becoming a thing of the past as computers and tablets are being utilized more. Old fashion overhead projection presentations no longer exist in most modern classrooms. “A ‘powerpoint presentation’ amounted to using my index finger to drive home a point!” said Fessler. Robots still have yet to replace a classroom teacher. “The teacher, however, remains the critical element in any good classroom; this is one thing that has not changed,” said Raney.

Older generations tend to mistrust the younger generations. Each generation has been negatively viewed by the older generations. The desire to return to the “good old days” fuels these opinions. Former generations constantly complain about todays generation’s behavior being different; however, today’s teenagers display similar morals. Teenagers will always display risky behaviors and actions. “To some degree high school aged students will always be inquisitive risk takers, struggling to balance their yearning independence with their responsibilities, and occasionally [they will be] rebellious,” said Fessler. According to Raney, sex has become more casual than in the past. “I suspect that sex becomes part of the relationship sooner than it used to and before there is the emotional commitment there once was,” said Raney. Today’s students are more self centered than in the past. “I think more students are concerned with an attitude of ‘what’s in it for me’ than in the past,” said Fessler.

School subjects such as math and science are emphasized in today’s curriculum. Scholarships such as Hathaway confine students to certain required core classes. There is less room in a student’s schedule for classes in the arts and vocational areas. Sheridan High School is known for its excellent music department; however, the numbers of students enrolled in music is dropping dramatically. Cursive writing is rarely taught in schools today. In previous years, cursive writing was highly stressed and encouraged. Tests, tests and more tests fill the lives of today’s teenagers. With the “No Child Left Behind” legislation, the importance of testing in today’s education has increased dramatically. Schools are expected to improve their test scores each year regardless of how high their scores are. Funding for schools relies heavily on student test scores.

Thirty years from now, the newer generations will look back at old yearbooks and snicker at the strange styles and complain when an early 2,000s song comes on the radio. Not only will the styles and music be completely different, the way education is handled will also differ from today. Education will continue to change along with students.