I just got to reading today a post by a principal elsewhere in the country. It was meant as a prompt for a class he conducts on Web 2.0 tools to have students respond to. It posed the question after an encounter he had with his son about “Why does school have to be so boring?”
I understand why some people may approach the idea that school has not changed from an antiquated, archaic form of education to more modern “fun” learning. However, I must take issue with the idea that school is “boring.”
Let me start with this disclaimer. I often was considered a good student. But I was not that student who was good at school. I often loathed being at school. I wished many teachers during my time would go and jump off a cliff.
When I hear someone tell me that a class, or all of school, is not fun? I must take issue with that.
I challenge anyone that reads this to tell me that they have had absolutely NO time whatsoever in their life that wasn’t fun. When you’re a kid, your parents tell you to clean your room or take out the trash. Is that fun? No. You get to college and you have a big term paper that is due, not done, and the party of the century is happening tonight. Is completing that paper fun? No. You become an adult. You have to pay bills. Is that fun? No. From the time you’re of legal employment age to your retirement, are you always working in a job you find fun? No.
Am I trying to shirk off responsibilities I have as a teacher? No. What I am doing is saying that the people I know who are most successful at anything are the people who know that sometimes they have to create their fun in what they’re doing. Otherwise, they’re just miserable.
School is not designed to be non-stop fun. School is designed to be a place where you go to grow your intelect. School is designed to be a place where you improve yourself.
Part of what I’ve read today in this argument is that many kids learn stuff long enough for the test and then forget it. Their logic is flawed in this respect. Here’s where I think many teachers are falling down on the job these days. It is our responsibility to point out that they need to practice this information more. Rote memorization is part of what makes a person capable to live in the world. These kids that argue that the teachers have to make things fun…do they say the same thing to their bosses when they turn 16 and start working at McDonald’s? No. They value money. They’re willing to do what someone asks when money is involved. So I would pose this question to any and all teachers out there. How do we show students that an education is as or more valuable than money?
This whole issue makes me want to take a TV show like “Parking Wars” to school and show it to my students. I’d love for them to be able to see this show in a classroom setting so we can talk about why it’s not funny, rather just plain sad that someone can gripe about getting their car booted for unpaid parking tickets. It’s the law. They broke the law. They pay the consequences.
All this makes me think about something The Boss has said many times before. If they are unwilling to achieve (not unable…very few are unable…it’s mainly a problem of unwilling), then pull a page out of China’s playbook. Take them out of school so they do not suck up valuable resources. Make them do the minimum wage work instead of be in school. That’s what they are going to be doing anyway.
To show you I actually do have a soft side, here’s another angle on this. What’s the difference between most teachers now days versus the ones back when I was in school? They weren’t restricted by laws made because of the stupid idiots that do something like sleep with their students. They were free to cultivate a proper teacher-student relationship. When a student respects a teacher in the bounds of the relationship that should exist, they hang on every word that teacher says.
I’m tired of this gimme, gimme, gimme generation. Let’s teach our kids that they have to take responsibility for themselves…and then MAKE THEM follow through with what they are taught.