This is a photo of my son taking a lesson from the cellist Hans Jensen. It was not like any teacher-student relationship I’ve ever seen. My son was not playing the right notes, and after the tenth time of playing the wrong note, Hans said, “This is just ridiculous. You are being stupid. Just play the right note!”
My son played the right note.
And this made me think a lot about how the range of people who teach kids is very narrow. Hans only rarely teaches a child as young as my son. I appreciate that Hans is so different. And so did my son, because he asked to go back for another lesson.
There is a very narrow type of personality that would choose to be in a classroom with children all day long. Most elementary school teachers are ESFJs. This type of personality (here’s an overview of the ESFJ type) has a lot of overlap with the type of people who choose to take care of kids after school. Which means kids are surrounded by emotionally-driven, system-oriented people who tend to live in the present, rather than the future. Because kids demand constant, present-oriented attention.
The problem here is that the business world, where kids will presumably earn money to support themselves, has almost no overlap with the systematic, feeling types. Because the business world sucks the life out of those types so they leave. The business world is run by unemotional, future-oriented, rule breakers. Those are the people who make money.
And even if kids choose not to go into the business world, the real world, which is not school for young kids, but rather opportunities for artistic types, is full of people like Hans.
So why do we lock our kids away with all the people who do not fit into the real world and then toss the kids into the real world at the end of college and expect them to adjust? They have no training for this adjustment.
If you take your kids out of school, your kids can interact with a wide range of adults—many of whom would kill themselves before they’d agree to engage a classroom full of third-graders.
You might argue that kids can interact with these people after school, but there is not time. Young kids are in activities—run by people who enjoy interacting with groups of fledgling ballerinas or overzealous soccer sprouts. And soon kids have too much homework to spend time in school and with their family and then go off with some other type of person who is not involved in organized kid activities.
Plenty of people in the work world would love to mentor a self-directed, self-motivated kid. Mentoring is something A-players love to do because it reflects well on them if they can identify young talent. But kids don’t get the chance to attract one of these business mentors because the kids don’t have any time away from the artificially narrow range of caretakers that almost all schools provide.