I encourage everyone to watch this video because there could not be more truth about this issue. This is one of my favorite videos on the Internet because its about something that I truly care about. Our education system is light years behind our time. With all this innovation its hard to believe that education is something that has fell so far behind. This is a social issue that people need to come together to solve. We wonder why people hate school, and feel not good enough. That’s because they are restricted to one way of learning and expressing. When people have these restrictions on them they make it define them and their capabilities. For someone who loves to learn and experience its saddens me to have to go to school everyday and not learn one thing. I really want to spread my concern for this issue so people become aware of this issue that is affecting the future of our society.
Let me start off and say that growing up I did love school, and I was close to my teachers. Especially in elementary, I wanted to go to school on the weekends. However, looking back on it I realized how early my test anxiety started. I was having test anxiety at the age of 5 (grade 1) over spelling tests, and math tests. These tests gave me no enjoyment (duh). Everything I enjoyed learned, and retained in school especially in elementary was unconventional. I never learned anything out of a textbook. No, I was obsessed with activities and the unconventional ways of learning. I loved playing with the cubes while learning addition, subtraction. I loved that we planted flowers to learn about photosynthesis. I loved the projects we got to do to learn about other cultures in social studies. The math fair project I got to do in grade 6, which was so, much fun. I remember filling a jar up with water and measuring how much was in it everyday to learn about evaporation, and when we burnt sugar in grade 2 to learn what chemical reactions happen when you add heat to sugar. Learning about composting in grade 4 using Red Wiggler worms. I remember these activities so clearly because I am all about experience and activities always have helped me learn. It was exciting because I learned but also got to explore my creativity as well. Field trips were always my favourite, not because I was missing school but because I know it was going to be really cool, fun, and I was going to come home to tell my mom everything I learned that day. I know they have started to remove tests out of elementary schools, which I think is great. The only downfall would be if they also don't change junior high's, high schools, or post secondary these kids will suffer from more anxiety and depression because it will become a lot and overwhelming. Especially if they didn't experience any paper tests in elementary. SO its simple, lets change those too.
I never understood why as soon as Junior High, and High School came activities shattered and everything was test based. Of course we still had the occasional project, and experiment in science. However, rarely did the project or experiment information go towards our exams. I don't think there was one question on my science PAT in grade 9 about my experiments in class. I was so anxious in these years because I needed Honors to be accepted, to be smart, capable, and successful. I did get Honors throughout junior high and high school, but did I actually learn anything? If it wasn't for some amazing teachers, I probably wouldn't have learnt a thing. But again, nothing I learned came from writing a test. I always performed worse then what I actually knew because I was so anxious. I had some pretty awesome teachers in junior high and high school that really made classes engaging. For the most part, I liked going to classes especially when I had a good teacher who liked what they were teaching because you'll always learn the most by people who are passionate. I remember my grade 12 English teacher and how she made a class that was always so difficult for me easy and enjoyable. For once in my life, I liked english. Anytime before that, english always made me feel dumb, that I wasn't good enough and you know what? all that structure crap you do for essays, not needed in university. I never understood why I could get marked so poorly on Personal Response. Key word PERSONAL. It was an opinion, and an experience and I got marked on that? Never understood. Then they tell you well do a creative response. So now they are marking you on something you made up and found so interesting, and were so excited to write about and tell you its not that good. As result of that, your destroying the creativity of students. If they are going to be grading anything it should be punctuation , but have you noticed how small of a portion that is on the marking rubric. ANYWAYS, my grade 12 English teacher did the opposite, I felt like my ideas were acknowledged, I was able to explore my creativity, and that she genuinely cared about everyone’s success in the class. We defiantly need more of this.
The problem is not teachers though, they that have to work through a system where they are confined to these curriculums that are created by people who have probably never taught a day in their lives. If we gave teachers the opportunity to be creative in their classrooms I guaranteed they would be more passionate in what they are teaching. Give them the concepts they need to teach, but let them go about it there own way. Stop telling them well you HAVE to have a project in this class you HAVE to read Shakespeare, you HAVE to have an exam after every chapter blah blah blah. Let them create the learning in the classroom, stop restricting them.
Going into University was one of the biggest turning points in my life about education and its a reason for this post. First off, they are a business (a pretty greedy one I would add) not a school. I hate school now, I’m furious about it because I seriously don't learn anything and I DON'T feel like I am being prepared for my future. Before people say well "do you like what your taking at school." I'm not opposed to what I am taking in school but even if I didn't like it I've had teachers like my grade 12 english teacher who could turn a boring subject for me into something I loved. I had an amazing prof my first year university who taught Economics. I did not care about economics, and I was dreading going to that class. It ended up being my favourite class that I enjoyed going too, and I made sure I got the same teacher for the next level. You know what people in university who hire teachers look at? Credentials. "Oh well he's been working in accounting for 20 years he can definitely teach" WRONG. These universities need to make sure that theses teachers know how to teach, but you know how they do that? When they get the results beck from final exams and realize everyone did poorly but its too late anyway. I find that the teacher makes all the difference in school, and that is the number one thing about university, THE TEACHERS DO NOT CARE. I had many accounting teachers tell my class in a direct and indirect way that we would not enjoy our jobs in accounting. I am sorry, but even if you believe that you do not tell a classroom of students who are $10,000 into their accounting degree that there not going to like there jobs. I could take every single class online and it wouldn't make a difference because the teachers don't teach you anyway. Everyone there is there for a paycheque. I am a business student; we should be working on collaboration, networking, and team building. Textbooks don't do anything for us. In addition, the stress level in University is WAY beyond line. Its unnecessary stress because the school doesn't care that we have families, or our personal care. I remember when my school was so excited for a 24-hour study space for finals. Do you understand what this is telling people? Pretty much that the school is aware that people loose sleep for finals. Its ridiculous around finals, kind of scary actually. We are a bunch of robots. Its like this is the only thing that matters in life. Its so wrong. Let alone all that, but now you also have to spend thousands of dollars just to go through the stress. Also, I want to reach out to those who feel stuck in their degree or don't want to pursue what their chosen major is that its okay. You don't have to go into what your taking, never let school determine what you are capable of because then you'll just feel limited. Getting a university diploma/degree is safe in Canada because most employers require it, but it does not mean you are going to be living at a lower level then everybody else if you don't go to school. It is all mind set, and I truly believe that. I am in my third year accounting student, I've done an accounting job, but I'm on the fence of being an accountant. I also let school determine my success and capabilities for way to long, and I won't let it anymore. So if your feeling stuck, things will work out just stay hopeful.
Obviously, I know that change is not going to happen overnight, but things have already started to change, we just have to accelerate the process. Education is light years behind modern times, and we have a lot of work to do to get it caught up. However, its not going to happen if no one cares about the issue. There are so many countries that have changed their education systems, so why can't we? Lets focus on collaboration, creativity, and implementing many types of ways to learn a concept for different types of learners. I mean we've been taught about the different types of learners. Their is visual, hands on, books, and yet those learning methods were taught to use through one structured way, when there was a class full of students who learned differently.
To Current and Future teachers-
Be passionate, and try not to let the structure of the curriculums limit you in teaching your students. You have no idea what power you hold, and how you can easily affect a student. You are capable to be hero's for children and help them learn things that they WILL remember for the rest of their life. Also, its so vital for you to love your job. For those people who have teaching as their Plan B option because I hear that so often, DON'T. Not only will you hate it because its a lot more work then you think but you'll also will not care, and you need to care about your students when your a teacher.
Try and come out everyday and learn something. Don't worry about the grade because it does not determine how much you learned, or what you are capable of. All grades do is create unhealthy competition between peers, and tries to put you on a hierarchal scale. Search and try your best to get into classes with teachers that you heard were good, because you'll come out learning something when you have a passionate teacher. Its okay to feel lost and to not know what you want to do in the future, everything works out in the end, and your D that you got in english in your first year university is not going to matter. You are capable, and strong. You as well need to passionate and be hopeful in your capabilities.
This is an issue that I'll continue to voice my opinion on in hopes that maybe when I have kids or when people my age start to have kids that the education system will be different for them. I love learning, and I don't want school out of all places to suck out the fun out of it. I am very hopeful that eventually this will change, and that education will finally be caught up with all this innovation. I hope you guys read this, and realize the importance of our educations system and why it has to change. This might be all over the place, but I had so much to say and I didn't know where to start. Please share the video I posted to people around you to make them aware as well. I apologize for the late blog post but I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend. <3