Opinion: Book bags are a thing of the past


By Sophie Pappas

When I was growing up in Zionsville, there was a lot of talk about over-burdening children’s backs with heavy book bags filled with…well, books. Some parents used to buy their kids rolling backpacks so that their kids wouldn’t be the next ones diagnosed with scoliosis or some other medical issue.

I wouldn’t have been caught dead rolling a backpack, because that was so uncouth, and actually among my friends on the bus it was cool to have lots of books in our bags. Made us feel important, I guess.

If any of you have children in school today, you know exactly where I am going with this conversation. Kids don’t have books anymore! I learned this the hard way one evening while I was trying to help my 11 year-old brother with his homework. I asked him to the open his book so I could read the story he had to write a report about.

“There’s no book!” he shouted. And indeed, there was no cardboard-bound, paper-filled set of pages with the answers he needed to complete his work.

Everything in the schools in done online, which I agree is probably the best direction to be moving since I myself do most of my work behind a computer screen. However, when it comes to learning, I would find it so difficult as a child to follow everything my teacher says by staring at my laptop for eight hours out of the day.

I’ve heard that in classrooms, the first 15 minutes of each period is designated for students to open their laptops, plug in their chargers, and print their homework. A teacher friend of mine recently told me that this all sounds very easy, but in reality it has turned into 20 minutes of students saying, “Teacher my laptop is dead,” or “Teacher, I need my laptop repaired,” or, even better, “Teacher, the printer is jammed and nobody can print their homework.”

Thinking of the teachers and all the parents (and big sisters) out there, wouldn’t it be nice if we could open a book and have our students hand-write their answers on a piece of paper? My brother tells me that now the cool thing to do is not carry anything home from school. I’m not sure how that’s working out for him, but as for me, I’d give anything for that heavy bag of books again.