Succeeding In Today’s Schools

photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hackny/
photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hackny/

I’ve resisted school ever since I was young. Waking up early only to sit at a desk for hours a day just didn’t make sense to me. I never put in my full effort. Not in middle school, not in high school, and not in college.  I paid attention as little as I needed to to pass the class.  I didn’t fail classes, I didn’t really even get C’s. But I never learned, either.

Everything in the school system is so dependent on grades and test scores rather than actually measuring how much a student is learning.

I don’t understand math, I never have and probably never will at this point.  Yet, I passed all of my classes because I bullshitted enough to get by for the quiz that week or haggled the answer out of my teacher by showing how much I was struggling.  Then we would start a new topic and it just seemed to me that I never had to learn what we were learning before anyway.  It was done and over with – I would never use it again.

The people who succeed, despite the school system failing them, are those who are completely motivated by learning.  They do it on their own time and they love it.  They don’t measure all of their knowledge based off what grades they’re getting in school or what their SAT score was.

I took plenty of classes in college that were appealing to me. I took plenty of classes in college that were poorly taught.  I can only name a few classes where I learned things that benefited my future and myself. The rest, I did the bare minimum and still got an A.  Professors don’t want to fail you, especially for a general education course.  How are we supposed to be interested in every prerequisite class thrown our way? How does anyone learn that way?  In the end, it didn’t really matter how much I actually knew to get my degree.  I got it because I passed my classes and kept my GPA up.

And you won’t get a job without a degree.  You won’t get a job without two years of sociology, psychology, literature, and ethics classes.  You won’t get a job if you don’t fake it till you make it enough in those classes to have a high GPA.

I can’t blame the people who aren’t consistently curious like I am, but the school system is completely failing these people because they are only motivated off of numbers that don’t even measure learning.  It’s not their fault, it’s the fault of those who are telling them that’s all you need to be successful in life – a 95 on a test, a 2300 on the SATs or whatever the SAT’s are scoring as high these days, a 4.0 GPA.

(If I end up being successful) I attribute it all to googling every question that popped into my head and reading articles until I was satisfied.  I attribute it to the countless books I’ve read since I was a kid, for fun and not because I was being forced to.  I attribute it to my 5th grade teacher who got me into creative writing, my 7th grade English teacher who became family, my high school history teachers who loved the world’s past, my New Media professors in college, and the few other random professors who just had a passion for what they were teaching.  The teachers who wanted to teach for our benefit and not their own.

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