All my life, I’ve been told I’m smart. I didn’t accept that to be true, and even today, I’ve only slightly accepted that. I don’t claim to be smart, because I don’t fit my own definition of what makes someone ‘smart,’ but I do consider myself to not be stupid. Regardless, people have called me smart all my life, and additionally have assumed I always got good grades in school for that reason. Truth is, I very rarely got good grades in school. I didn’t give a damn about school. I only cared about school to the extent I was told to and I was already threatened with dire consequences if I didn’t do well in school.
Turns out, the threats were hollow. I never needed to care.
The school system, at least in America, is rigid and ultra-systematic. It was modeled after the industrial jobs of the 19th century. You have to show up, you have to be there at a certain time, your day is broken down into a strict schedule, and you do exactly what your boss (teacher) tells you. A mechanical school life to mirror your future mechanical work life. Why hasn’t the school system changed now that the job market is radically different than it was 150 years ago? Basically because nobody has ever really thought it needed to change.
When I was in elementary school, we got 2 recesses per day, but they were only 15 minutes each. In hindsight, I realize we only have recess at all because teachers needed their mandatory work breaks. Studies have shown, and I know from my own personal experience, that recess should have been the most important class of the day. Recess should have lasted at least 30-60 minutes.
Why? Because recess is when kids truly develop their social and problem-solving skills. Kids do not learn best by sitting behind a desk, staring at a board with random text written on it. It’s dull as hell, and it only stifles mental development. Kids learn best by being allowed to be kids.
Classrooms should be abolished altogether. School itself is necessary, but the way it’s always been done is just stupid. Instead of classrooms, there should be recess punctuated with indoor and outdoor activities. The ‘classroom’ should be strictly reserved for teaching only the most necessary aspects of life, such as reading/writing, basic history, and the like.
Why does Finland have the greatest school system in the world? Because of the fact that they don’t assign kids homework, and school days are shorter (if I remember that right), etc. Basically, kids have more freedom. I think the Finns also allow kids the choice to choose what to focus on, whether it’s music, or writing, or science, etc. My favorite band is from Finland. Go figure.
Later in developmental years, namely high school and college, perhaps it’s better to be a little more rigid, since people start gaining responsibilities at that age. I think our school system is just fine the way it is, but only for high school and college kids. As long as we keep having electives, social events (like prom), and teach important life skills. Oh wait, we don’t do that last part. Seriously, what important life skills are taught in high school? Changing a tire? Filing taxes? Surviving in the wild? Basic medical emergency skills? Or even things like how to properly react if you witness a crime taking place. Again, I know these things are taught, but they’re primarily only taught as electives, or just not taught at all, which is stupid.
Here’s a complaint I have involving society, and not so much for the school system itself. Stop pressuring kids to enter college as soon as they finish high school! What percentage of people know exactly where they want their life to go at the age of 17/18? You’re still a fucking kid at that age, with minimal life experience. You don’t have a clue about the world, or even yourself. I’m thankful college isn’t mandatory, but there’s still a lot of societal pressure to attend right out of the gate, and I don’t know how that makes sense to anyone.
Speaking of college… Chances are, you are wasting your time going to college anyway. I’ll use myself and people I know as an example.
I never attended college. In fact, I didn’t even finish high school. Did that stop me from getting work welding barges? Nope. Did it stop me from getting any job I’ve wanted? Nope. Most of the people I’ve known who did attend college did not gain anything from it except a lot of debt. So many people go to college now that employers hardly care anymore if a degree is on your resume. Oh, and there’s the fact that most people who go to college wish they chose a different major halfway through. So, even if they get a useful skill from college and a degree along with it, half the time it’s not something they want anymore.
Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not saying all college degrees are useless. I’m not saying college is a giant scam. It is not part of the family of scam industries, like wedding rings and dentistry, but it is damn close. There are some professions that I would not be comfortable with the work of by someone who didn’t have a college education, like surgeons or architects. But, to me, it seems obvious that most college degrees are utterly useless and are only good for slowing you down, not helping you become successful.
Overall point is: We really need to rethink how we do schooling.