Echoes of my students’ fundamental issues with schooling

by Mr. Sheehy

The country’s whole school system seems geared toward solving large-scale economic woes and producing future workers. It’s most definitely not geared toward children. In fact, the prevailing view is that if teachers focus too much on students’ pleasure they will somehow be encouraging wanton self-indulgence and dangerous hedonism.

A look at what goes on in most classrooms these days makes it abundantly clear that when people think about education, they are not thinking about what it feels like to be a child, or what makes childhood an important and valuable stage of life in its own right.

I find Susan Engel’s words, published at The Atlantic this week, interesting considering how closely they mirror those of Austin Lammers, a student who wrote the following in an article for The Pine Needle, our school newspaper:

Students should be thought of as whole people, not just products of the school system. We are imperfect, and always will be, especially at a younger age lacking experience. Contrary to popular belief, we do crave to learn. But the modern school system labels learning as scarfing down facts and theorems, then vomiting them back up onto Scantrons. We are more than the grades we try our best to reflect. We have personalities and qualities that make us unique, and molding us to be alike does nothing but destroy the concept of education, which is developing young humans so they are capable of discovering their maximum potential. . . . My point is this. Schools have become unpleasantly anti-student. Not just with the criteria we are forced to learn, but also the little things that could make our days better.

Coincidence? I think not.

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