MISSING THE MARK
-WHO EXACTLY IS GETTING IT ALL WRONG
I have heard several people talk about education and I created my own perspective from the diverse opinions. Truly, “Education is the best legacy” but I tell you, that saying is only true for the right kind of education. Before I proceed, let’s take a look at how the general society views education (Note that I ran a quick survey in my neighborhood):
- Education is a necessity that no child can do without if he wants to be successful
- Students who do not do well at school are lazy and need to put in more effort
- Students must sit up straight in class and pay attention
- Students who sleep in class are preparing to fail
- It is a must for students to pass exams
Most of us might have the same views but let’s look at each of the above mentioned in a whole new dimension.
First, “education is a necessity”. We all have this installed in our brains and it instills fear in students. They think they would amount to nothing without education so they see it as a legacy that governs their lives.
Second, “laziness is responsible for not doing well at school”. It might appear logical but I beg to disagree. I have seen so many students who work so hard and still fail. They begin to see themselves as dullards and failures. Low self-esteem sets in and their guardians just worsen it by blaming it all on their laziness.
Third, “sit up straight and pay attention in class”. Those who work in offices must know what it feels like to sit behind a desk for hours. It gets boring. Even if you were just sitting doing nothing, you would get tired after doing that for hours. Now, students are not only expected to sit down in class, they also need to pay attention to what they are being taught and also understand it.
Fourth, “students who sleep in class are preparing to fail”. I do not think sleeping in class is right but some classes are undoubtedly boring and they sleep without even knowing it.
Fifth, “ it is a must to pass exams”. That statement alone would get students scared. Students get nervous and tensed when exams are approaching regardless of whether they prepared or not. You know what scares them the most? Failure.
You must be wondering what my point exactly is now. My point is not doing well at school doesn’t make a student useless. My point is students shouldn’t always be made to sit down in classes all the time while their backs ache. Imagine teaching mountains, ocean and the likes in the classroom. Seeing is believing. It sticks better that way. My point is not everyone is meant to be a Doctor or Lawyer or an Engineer. Deep down, every child knows what he is good at but they end up living their parent’s dreams, a fake life. Students are bombarded with assignments at school that look so ambiguous and loads of large textbooks whose contents they are to read and understand. Not a single puzzle to rearrange, or word to unscramble. Yet, they are expected to reason better. No student should be scolded for failing because he might have a whole bunch of reasonable reasons for it. No one fails exams because they want to. They should be made to learn from their failures not feel dejected over them.
I am not saying failing exams is a good thing but most times, students need encouragement not scolding. It is not always their fault. The fault might be school’s. I am not shifting the blame but I do think the educational system is not being fair to students. They spend their whole day at school. They get home to do assignments and study. They do not have time to do what they like doing. Michael Jackson did not succeed by cramming the contents of large textbooks. he succeeded by talent. But unfortunately, students do not have much time to exploit theirs because “there is no life without school”. Bill Gates did not succeed by cramming books either. He succeeded by reasoning. But unfortunately, students have been made into stereotype textbook crammers who do not even care about how the books came into being.
We keep missing the mark. Being the best at school is not important. Being able to state the periodic table off hand is not important. Feeling fulfilled is what is important. You feel fulfilled when you like what you are doing. True success is happiness. It doesn’t come from having the best job in the world. It comes from living your own dream. We need re-orientation. We need to stop missing the mark. We need to start seeing education in a different light. Students should not be afraid of failing exams. They should be afraid of not realizing their dreams and who they really are. Don’t be a comedian wasting away in law school. Or a space scientist teaching economics.
In conclusion, what students really need to learn is how to discover their personalities, strengths, dreams and talent. Not every topic should be taught in the classroom. Not every F means you really failed. No course or profession should be regarded as unimportant. True education is knowing how to get back on your feet after falling. It is knowing how to stand up and fight for what is yours. It is knowing when to speak and what to say. It is knowing how to be bold no matter how large the crowd is. It doesn’t matter how many A’s you get. What matters is putting in your best.