Issues with the School System

This blog post is based off a conversation I had with my best friend yesterday while I was at Stanford (more on that in another blog post).

The school system is wrong in more ways than one. However, we are so accustomed to this system that many students don't even notice it. We are all trying to climb this mountain of success, and we believe there is only one way to do it. We all need that perfect GPA and those perfect test scores. Those numbers and letters define us and how smart we are.

And there's the first flaw. Numbers and letters don't define us or our intelligence. Every teacher has his/her own way of grading stuff, and often times, students know how they do it. I'll use my math grade as an example. I currently have a C+. However, I know that I understand what is taught. I know that I can successfully tutor someone who is struggling with the class. The only reason that I have the grade I have is because group tests bring me down. But group tests don't measure the intelligence of the group. Group tests are a measure of how fast a group can copy off another person. Any teacher that expects a group test to be an adequate way of measuring the intelligence of everyone in a group is crazy because everyone in the group simply understands different concepts. I've been in groups with complete zombies and my grade has suffered. I don't understand, and I never will understand group tests. And that's only the start. Tests, in general, aren't and shouldn't be a measure of intelligence. Teachers, first of all, put problems on tests that aren't discussed in class. Teachers expect students to whip out their inner Albert Einstein and do things that we have no idea how to do. Also, I know people that are brilliant, however struggle taking tests. I believe I fit in that category (though I may not be the brightest kid on the block). My grade has also suffered a bit because I choke under pressure. I will never understand how a teacher can fail students who spend hours studying, just because their test scores are low. Teachers forget that they were students at one point. Teachers think that everything we learn will reflect on a test.

Another flaw with the system is that everything is taught to us in a way that doesn't stick. Teachers think that lectures are the only way to get to a student. Teachers think that every student will learn the information the way they teach it; if not, then that's the student's fault. That's absolutely horrible. Lectures are NOT the only way to run a class. The students who are tactile learners won't learn. The students who are visual learners won't learn. But they are expected to. A teacher should run the class based on what is most effective; not what is easiest for the teacher. Because let's be honest; it's a lot easier for a teacher to lecture students than to actually mold the course to help and benefit them. Courses are routines for teachers; teachers give lectures, give assignments, and maybe answer a few questions here and there. That repeats for however many classes a teacher has. Don't get me wrong; some teachers who give lectures can make the information stick because they're just damn good at connecting with students. But that doesn't apply to everyone, and not every student finds listening to lectures effective.

 The final flaw that comes to mind as I'm trying to juggle this and Fahrenheit 451 is that students are taught that school is the only way to be successful. Students are taught that grades and test scores are the key to success. But that's entirely wrong. Some students know that college and higher education aren't for them. And that's perfectly okay! Teachers should help guide those students and help them be successful if they decide to take a different route than the rest of the crowd. Being happy is beyond important. I believe that being happy with your life is more important that trying to please others by taking a route that won't lead you anywhere. I know many people that won't go to college. Teachers frown upon the students that don't see themselves in a CSU. Teachers frown upon those students who don't scramble trying to fill out UC applications. Instead of helping students that don't want to go to college, teachers shun those students. School should prepare students to do what THEY WANT TO DO. Not shove the idea of college down their throats if that's not what they want.

A teacher is our candle. A candle that is supposed to guide us through the darkness that is... life. There is a big difference between a lecturer and a teacher. Sadly, many students don't get to interact with teachers. Because society thinks that lecturers are the only people that'll help our youth become successful. The only question I have is... why? Why are we only shown one way to climb the mountain, instead of the infinite ways that we know exist? Why do teachers (lecturers) think that their way is the only way to teach? Why is the school system the way it is if our generation is nothing less than... divergent?


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