In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The New School.”
1 hour prompt. Let’s hit it.
This prompt asks how I’d reconstruct school. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m still not 100% on it entirely, but here’s what I have so far.
I’ve seen the current school system. What I think it lacks is guidance for the students and their lives after they are done education. The meta is “finish high school and go to college.” There’s a few students that do the wise thing and don’t follow the meta because they know college isn’t for them. They go on to technical schools or join the armed forces.
I really think there should be more technical classes in high school and reduction of a lot of waste classes like History and Arts.
What! Chas! You’re like so into those subject. Yes, well. I did excel in history and language arts, but I know a lot of other kids that didn’t and went on to be programmers or nurses or something with a lot of practical use.
See, I don’t think school right now really focus on the student’s strengths. They really just want a homogeneous “students better be good at all these subjects and they can figure it out on their own.” I suppose maybe students should be taught to think independently, but not everyone knows what they are good at in high school. The transition to college is a big, big leap.
I’ll take me as an example. I was a decent student. I got mostly B’s some A’s and some C’s. I’d say that’s pretty darn fair. When I was a senior in high school, all my friends were looking into colleges and applying. I didn’t know if I wanted to go to college, and the guidance counselor only pushed me to look into it. She didn’t help me evaluate my other options. She didn’t say “well, I mean you’re a decent student, but you ever given thought about web design? You took the class and did okay. Did you like it?” No. They rather push the meta of “you better apply to a college. Here’s a bunch of info on colleges that you probably won’t read because you’re 17 and are thinking about summer and girls.”
The mind only works after the worst has been experienced. Throwing these young adults into this sink or swim environment seems to be the only way to work, but it only leads to retrospective thinking. I am not happy with how my education has turned out to be. I did like English in high school and I did enjoy a few of my literature classes in college, but I never saw myself doing anything with them other than doing well in class. I saw no end goal for it other than getting in and getting it done.
I guess what I’m saying is grades don’t mean everything and that personality and skills should be taken into account as well. I’m pretty dumb with science, so don’t suggest to me that I can become some kind of technical writer for science stuff.
Another aspect is the job trends. What’s in right now? Health. Computers. What isn’t? Music. Writing. Historians. There’s too many people out there with these sorts of jobs. School should focus on those trends, but I know it is hard. Probably impossible to know what a kid in 1st grade will row into. Maybe there’s gonna be a huge revival of history because we figure out time travel or something in the next 10 years. Heck, there’s probably something up and coming that nobody knows that needs a whole new way of learning. It is hard to say.
Regardless, focusing on the whole meta doesn’t work. Young’ns can only figure themselves out so much. They are struggling with figuring out their real friends let alone which career they are suited for in the future. People like me might never figure it out. It took me this long to know that I enjoy working for higher education’s offices. I might not be teaching, but I’m certainly helping with the process. I know that I like to do hands-on kind of stuff like moving or creating things. You know who didn’t teach me that? High school. Instead I learned about ionic bonds and stuff. That stuff is good for You Don’t Know Jack, but I never see me using that in a professional sense. MY friend who is in engineering? Maybe that is something useful to him. You know what isn’t useful to him? The significance of Robert Frost to American Literature.
I’m not sure if this is specific to all higher education facilities, but when I went to orientation I was asked which major I wished to pursue. At the time, I thought English since it was one of my stronger subjects in high school. I was then a literature major. What I think they should have done was make the “Undecided” major more prevalent. They didn’t really say “Oh, if you’re not sure you don’t have to pick anything yet. Undecided majors, meet in room C105.” I think I would have been happier as an Undecided major for a while until I found my footing.
Maybe other colleges/universities do make it prevalent. I don’t know. I’ve only been to one.
Of course, if you aren’t in this whole “I don’t know what I’m doing” mindset and know from the day you were born that you wanted to be a biochemists, ignore everything I said here. You are a rarity. Not everyone knows what they want. Not everyone’s parents are persistent people that influence you to become whatever to the point of brainwashing.
So, to answer the prompt, here’s how I’d reconstruct.
I’d start education with more hands-on stuff like learning geometry by building stuff with blocks or whatever as well as paperwork like those phonics books. As the students grow older, they were evaluated by psychs who see how they learn and what they enjoy. Then they get slightly more separated into more specifics like the kids that could read the earliest and understood phonics and also really liked it would be with one teacher while the kids that built the best walls or whatever and the kids that did math the best goes to others. By the end of primary school, we’d have a decent understanding which kids are going to enjoy roles of more math-centered things or arts-things. Then high school would be even more specific for those types of students. I would also like to see more real world integration with high school rather than focusing on AP Classes. College credit is less important than experience. I would say as soon as I graduated college, most of the jobs I applied to wanted 5 or more years of experience.
By the end of high school, I think there would be enough guidance for the students to figure out if they wanted to go to college for a specific degree, go join the work force because of their real world experience, join the armed forces, or go to a technical school.
That’s just me. I’m sure other would say “Math is the future! Make school all about math!” This is why I am not in charge of anything. I have ideas with no real backing or research. This is all ideal stuff.
So, moral of all this? Experience is what makes the world go ’round. You never know until you try.
That’s it. If this makes even a little sense, then I guess I did well. I don’t really wanna debate this topic since obviously I know nothing other than what I’ve experienced. There’s also a lot of outside forces I didn’t consider like where the school is or the upbringing of parents, or even the bureaucratic nonsense that is politics.
Oh well. Stay in school? Best of luck to all the students out there. I really do hope you figure things out because that was my biggest loss. To those who are like me, we will figure it out one day.