And… I’m back! I’m excited to start another year strong in English with Mr. Ziebarth! And since I just started my 12th year of school… Education. I wonder what first comes to mind when I say the word, ‘education’. It’s incredible to think about how much learning has influenced how and what I think today. Compared to my 4-year old self, well of course, I have developed many skills that I did not once have, but I believe the school system has slowly shifted my free-flowing creativity to conforming to society as robots. “This function of opening and feeding the human mind is not to be fulfilled by any mechanical or military method.” (-Ralph Waldo Emerson) Many of us think that why we’re in school to prepare us to succeed in the “real world” in the future. Why are we preparing for the future, something that may not even happen? Why isn’t now the “real world”? Why isn’t school the idea of becoming lifelong self-learners?
The education system has built us on a platform on the importance of grades rather than learning. Students are built on the idea if they don’t receive those straight A’s, they may not be able to get into the college of their dreams. Seeing that one letter grade could destroy their future, students would even cheat with the knowledge that it may result in a huge consequence. How often do you bring home an essay to your parents and they take the time to read what you wrote? Or do they just give an hour lecture on the fact that you received a B letter grade? Heck, I even devoted almost my entire summer (you know that thing, where you’re supposed to take a break from school?) to SAT classes in order to get as close as I possibly can to that perfect score of 2400. Yet another score that might possibly determine my future. Many fear that if they don’t succeed in school now, they will be working in a career that they will dread waking up to for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, many fear that the career field that they DO want to work in will not make them as financially stable. The careers that promoted more expression and creativity, such as Music and English, were looked down upon from my parents. Back to idea of the decrease in creativity, Ken Robinson also mentioned in his talked that students’ divergent thinking, a thought process used to generative creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions, begin to decrease more and more as they are exposed to the school system. We are so well-trained to memorize facts, copy notes from powerpoint, and that our knowledge is determined by how we perform on tests, such as STANDARDIZED tests. Standardize is to conform to a standard. Do you see it yet? Some of the most wealthy people today such as Bill Gates dropped out of high school and broke away from this standardization. They ended up believing that they were capable of creating their own sense of thinking and pursuing a career that did not limit their ways of thinking.
I think a big part of being in school involves finding out who you are. And a note to the freshmen: the next four years may be the most important years thus far, but you must find a purpose in spending 7 hours at school everyday. Sadly, yes, you’re in a school system where your grades are probably the most important thing from you. Maximize your potential. Don’t forget that knowledge is power. Good luck! I hope that in the future, society will change in a way in which schools DO serve the true goals of education by motivating well-rounded learners towards innovation and success.