"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." - Bill Cosby

School Survivors

Once people stopped forcing me to study certain things, I found out I was actually interested in them after all.
by SoulRiser

While I was in school, I avoided thinking about subjects like Biology and Science and Maths in my free time. But now, months after graduation, I often find myself very interested in things like what makes plants work, and various other things that I always refused to think about any time other than in school. The reason? Nobody's forcing me to think about it now. I feel free to think about whatever I want, whenever I want.

If my dad wanted to explain to me what nutrients a mushroom (for example), lives on, just a few months ago I would have ignored what he said. But now, I actually am trying to grow some mushrooms (the edible kind), and the more information I have, the better. Imagine just how proud my Biology teacher would have been if I was growing mushrooms back in school... that's probably why I didn't. People trying to encourage me to do things that other people have decided that I should do really discourage me instead.

This is why schools don't work. Education is so over-generalized that everyone has to learn the same stuff, and students aren't encouraged to spend time on things that THEY would rather learn about. About 2 years ago I started learning HTML and making my own website. If I had to do some Maths homework, but would rather work on my site, my teachers would have no sympathy for that. It was the whole "we don't care what you would rather do" attitude of the teachers that made me hate their subjects, not the actual subjects themselves. Every time somebody would try to "nudge" me into doing something related to a subject in my free time, I would just go do something that _I_ chose for myself instead.

You could say this is stupid, and you could say students should continue to be interested in aspects of subjects that interest them, instead of avoiding them because they're taught at school. But you can't tell students how to feel. If the way they're expected to learn things makes them disinterested in those things, it's not the students' fault. It's the school system's fault, and you can't change the way millions of students feel about school, but if you REALLY want to, you CAN change the school system.

Written by: SoulRiser
13 September 2001

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