Education: A Deeply Flawed System

There comes a day in August when I accept the fact that summer is going to end soon. Today was that day. I went shopping for both school supplies and clothing. It was while I saw shopping for my notebooks and new clothing (when my mom told me to get some “swaggier” clothes, I almost threw up) that this reality hit me. School is going to be returning very soon. In a few weeks I will need to start waking up at seven in the morning, going to school for seven hours, and then go home and do homework for an hour or two.

I’m not very excited to go back to school. Very few kids ever are. There must be some kind of deep flaw in are education system if we cant even make are kids excited to learn (do you see what I did there?). I recently saw something on Twitter (because everything on Twitter is true) that said that students in schools these days have as much stress on them as former psychiatric patients in asylums. Is this true? I can’t say. But as a student, I must agree that schools need to commit to change before they begin losing students.

I’ve always had an easy time through school. I am intelligent, fairly popular, and get along with my teachers quite well. I’ve never had much of a problem with school aside from the fact that it is usually quite boring. I learn the things that my teachers teach very quickly. Others do not. I can sit there while the teacher is lecturing and do my homework. However, the problem is in the kids that need to have the material reiterated to them. Many students need to really think and work through problems in their homework. Homework that takes me twenty minutes might take less intelligent students four or five hours. In a school like mine, where almost everyone is in a sport or other after school activity, these students don’t get home until after six o’clock pm. With four to five hours of homework (on an average night, many nights have more homework than that) added to the sport or other activity, and it’s already ten or eleven o’clock before they can have any free time.

A schedule like this creates a feeling of apathy towards grades. Many kids my age want to have fun and be social. They have to choose between doing their homework or having fun. What the hell do you think that they are going to pick? These kids know that they aren’t going to do well on the homework without help from the teachers, so why should they even do it when they can go out and have fun instead?

These kids aren’t going to want to go to college. To them, college is just a more advanced version of school with more homework, harder exams, and a more rigorous schedule. And with the cost of living being so high today, these kids are going to live a tough life, scrapping by with low paying jobs (I’m not saying that people without college degrees are necessarily making very little money, I’m just saying that in this day and age, less high paying jobs are available for people without college degrees).

Is there a way to solve this problem, but beware; it sounds like a teenager’s christmas list. Less time in school. Cut the boring lectures from an hour and a half to an hour. In a day with four classes, that would shave off two hours and keep the students engaged and focused for a longer time. If cutting time off the school day is not an option, a four-day school week could work. Give the students Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. It would give the students more time to have social lives and be with their friends.

The school I attend to has come up with some very interesting strategies for limiting homework time, particularly in math classes. The first strategy involves the student watching a ten minute video every night introducing a new concept, whether it be long division or the Pythagorean Theorem. Instead of the student doing the homework at home, the student does it in school with a teacher present for help. I think it is a great system and am highly anticipating trying this new way of teaching (I have two math classes: Advanced Algebra in Semester 1 and College Algebra in Semester 2).

Another way math classes are trying to cut down on homework time is by making homework optional. The teacher provides the students with homework, but it is up to the student to decide what they need to do to learn the topic. The student’s final grade is reflected solely by test scores, which I feel are the best way of showing what the student actually knows. I’m very excited for this change in the math curriculum.

Now kids, do I think that the education system is going to change anytime soon? No! The adults running it are probably a bunch of stuck up assholes (I have no way of knowing this). Here’s a recommendation from me: take a really easy, bullshit class every semester. This bullshit class will act as a study hall for you. Here’s an example; I’m taking Film Studies in the first semester this year. Total bullshit class. Here’s another tip: take classes that are taught by teachers that are pushovers. “Devon, did you do your homework?” “No, I didn’t understand this. Can I turn it in at the end of class?” A normal teacher would say something like “Yes, but you won’t get credit for it.” A pushover teacher would say “Of course! I hope you start to understand it!” I’ve had some pushover teachers in my day (upon my requesting, one teacher actually let me practice moon walking during her lectures! I still can’t do it very well) and the classes are basically study halls.

Thanks for reading. It’s fun bitching about how much school sucks.

-Devon

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