School Doesn't Have To Suck, But It Does | Teen Ink

School Doesn't Have To Suck, But It Does

December 31, 2014
By Laugh-it-Out PLATINUM, Brooklyn, New York, New York
Laugh-it-Out PLATINUM, Brooklyn, New York, New York
38 articles 0 photos 445 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light" --Dylan Thomas

From where I am sitting in my small, metal school chair I can see 5 students on their phones underneath their desks, 7 students with earbuds in, listening to music underneath their drawn hoods, 8 students talking to one another about the room and the rest staring blank faced at our teacher, who has been lecturing us for 58 minutes on the difference between the views of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. I debate whether or not to be the 6th person on their phone, but then ultimately decided against it; I want good grades.

There is a real problem with the public school education system these days, or at least the one that I have the misfortune of being part of. Nowadays school doesn't teach you how to grow as a person, but how to bore your brain by memorizing thousands of facts to get good grades and then later forget them. If you asked me what I learned about two weeks ago I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Between Humanities, which is mostly history with a dash of ELA in there sometimes, Chemistry, Research, Spanish 3, Geometry and Theater, because yes I have theater homework as well, I tend to forget all the things I learned the previous week, maybe even day, with all the stuff going on.

As students we are taught that good grades is what every parent, college and future job wants to see, as well as maintaining a certain GPA to be able to play a sport. Now I have never really had a problem with maintaining my grades, each semesters report card is a slew of A’s with maybe an A- or B+ for chemistry in there, but lately these grades have stopped being for me, but for my parents, who like many others and society frown down upon bad grades.

But why should little numbers on insignificant pieces of paper determine who we are as a person and what kind of life we hope to have. “Everyone is a genius, But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Thanks, Albert Einstein, for describing exactly what being in the public school educational system is like.

I am an active person, one who enjoys traveling and learning about the world through doing. Sadly, my school doesn't teach towards this kind of person. In the 2 years that I have been here we have had two field trips, both freshman year, and one of them was a day long lecture about climate change in which the teachers blatantly encouraged the kids to fall asleep to keep them from talking. Instead of listening to these people who we did not know and who made no effort to connect with us on an emotional level, we could have been engaging in hands on activities regarding climate change and its damage to the world.

This is just one example of how many teachers choose textbooks and lectures over real life experiences to teach us about the world. Honestly I’ve been assigned more homeworks with questions based on passages in textbooks than I can count. I’ve probably read a total of 4 textbook pages in my life.

I do not care about when Thomas Jefferson was born, or why when baking soda reacts with vinegar it creates a chemical reaction, and no amount of time sitting in a chair, being lectured, is going to teach me to care. These are things I just do not find important, and it’s not just me, but thousands of other students. I learn more about human emotions and what makes an interaction important from John Green novels. I have learned more about the wilderness and science in my days spent climbing trees in the woods or observing fish by a stream upstate than any science class has ever taught me. I have learned what it means to be a good friend and how a couple mistakes can ruin a friendship forever through interactions with peers outside of the confines of a classroom. I have learned more about history from my parents tales of their pasts than any history course I have taken so far. These are real world experiences, and these are what engage people.

If students spent more time outside of the classroom, engaging in group discussions about world events, getting into arguments over great works of literature, and doing mathematical calculations on real pieces of architecture then you wouldn't have to force us to care, but we would care on our own free will.

Grades and tests and textbooks are not important. Using your education to figure out where you wanna go and who you are as a person is important. If the public school education system became a more project based environment with more discussions and students had more of a voice, maybe there wouldn't be 5 students on their phones. Maybe only 2 students would have headphones in. Maybe the students who were talking about Gossip Girl during history class would now be discussing battles of the 18th century with interest, and maybe there would be no need for blank stares at teachers.

So don’t consider this an attack on the system, but perhaps a step at trying to change it. Because I don't want to hate going to school. I don’t want to snapchat my friends during class because I’m bored. I want to learn and I want to grow through the knowledge that school has given me so that one day I can have a job and a family and know with certainty that they love school just as much as I used to.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Feb. 21 2015 at 1:48 pm
darkerthanblack GOLD, Dhaka, Other
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Favorite Quote:
fight weakness or perish

I agree with you. Really, really amazing.

on Jan. 7 2015 at 4:15 am
SpidersAcrossStars PLATINUM, Hayward, California
36 articles 0 photos 160 comments

Favorite Quote:
For you, a thousand times over.

so basically you just said everything ive always wanted to say about school and could never put into words. i wish the people in charge would read this...oh well :( very nicely put