We take our education for granted. It’s easy to forget, but what we now consider a necessary evil was once considered a privilege. So why is there so much aversion to it? My school is filled with people who would rather not be there and who view it as a waste of time. They don’t realize that while it has its flaws, our little high school could be worse. It offers rigorous courses, manages to sustain a number of clubs and teams, and, as far as high school goes, has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Most of the teachers are dedicated to the success of their students, and are engaged in the classroom.
My problems with school stem from more than just the individual establishment that I attend every day. It certainly contributes to the cynicism, but I find the system as a whole to have lost its value. School has developed a monopoly over my life. I spend hours each night trying to wade through overwhelming amounts of homework, and find myself learning nothing. My classmates and I move through school each day with lifeless eyes, hoping to just make it to that 2:30 bell, when we are free to go home (and continue working). We have worn ourselves thin. In an effort to challenge ourselves, we have lost sight of why we ever wanted the challenge to begin with. Grades don’t represent understanding or interest, but rather an ability to get through what needs to be done. There is no time for thought. No time for reflection. No time for growth. I don’t think I will leave high school with any confidence in my personal strengths or with any indication of what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Again, I do not think my school is entirely to blame. Education as a whole has shifted into a series of prerequisites, each vital to your success in the next advancement. High school students are constantly bombarded with the message that unless we push ourselves to take the hardest courses, get the highest grades, and fill our schedule with numerous extracurriculars, we will not get into a good college, and if we don’t get into a good college, then we can’t expect to find a financially stable job. So the problem goes beyond my school and even beyond high school, which contributes to its overwhelming nature. How can we make a difference?
Recently some of my classmates and I have formed a homework committee. Our goal is to create a policy in our school that limits the amount of homework assigned, brings awareness to the teachers and students what the quantity and value of these assignments are, and creates a system that allows students to live healthy lifestyles with individuality and the freedom. By regulating the hours we are committed to our work at home, we hope to enable an increase in learning, understanding, and engagement. Is it overly ambitious, or even nonviable? Perhaps. But we have reached a point where worrying about the issue is no longer enough, and some step has to be taken towards resolution.