What school never taught me – teachers and parents working together
Have you ever sat through a mathematics lecture and thought “when will I ever need to use this formula in real life?” or thought “why do I need to know how many wives King Henry the 8thhad?” in a history class. Can teachers and parents working together provide the real world skills? A decent amount of what we learn in school will probably not come of use to us later on in life, unless of course it correlates with the career you wish to pursue. The fundamental issue with the education system revolves around the fact that students tend to memorize information for exams as opposed to understand and absorbing it, therefore only lasting in their short-term memory, and then forgotten later on in life. However, apart from this issue I believe there is another hole in the education system, one that perhaps is compensated for by other institutions; that is none other than the things that school doesn’t actually teach you but should.
Although I have always loved school and the whole concept of learning and challenging myself to join new clubs, participate in more competitions, take up self-studying a new subject; traits etched into me by the institute itself, I can never help but feel there are some things I wish school itself had taught me or prepared me for. Nearing the end of high school and soon embarking on a new journey into college and adult life, I often find myself feeling a sense of abandonment and lacking knowledge I should have learnt earlier on instead of having to fend for myself and figuring it out on my own.
I know that y=ax^2+bx+c but I don’t know what the average salary for a graduate is, or how to pay taxes. Now, one could argue that these skills should be taught by parents, or that one cannot expect a school to teach you everything, however, the way I see it, when the whole purpose of a school is to create life-long learners and a well socialized workforce, then that institution should be able to teach me these basic life skills. Yes, parents do have some responsibility in ensuring their child is prepared to face the world on their own, but to what extent? My parents left it up to the school to teach me my alphabets and how to add 1+2, so why should they not expect the school to teach me how to find a job, or pay my bills?
Furthermore, I am someone that has been brought up in an environment that encourages competition and success, and has had the opportunity to possess various leadership positions. I would definitely give credit to my school for embedding those leadership traits in me. However, something that I feel I never learnt was understanding that it’s great to be a leader, but being a follower or contributor is important as well. In my opinion, society always tells us that life is a race and everyone wants to be number 1 and we tend to push back or disregard the importance of everyone else. As a result of this emphasis on the importance of leadership, we subconsciously start believing that being a follower or team member instead of a leader or team leader is a bad thing, when in reality it’s not! In fact, when we reach a point where everyone is trying to be a leader, and everyone gets an opportunity to do so, then the whole principle of leadership gets diminished. Not everyone needs to be a leader, it should not have to be something that is forced onto someone. We should be taught to accept that and not feel defeated when we are not given the position or status of a leader.
Now, although the phrase ‘general knowledge’ is rather self-explanatory and in itself means information one needs to learn on one’s own self. Shouldn’t things like news and current affairs be taught in school, or at least integrated into the mainstream curriculum? Although associating ‘general knowledge’ with ‘being taught in school’ may be an oxymoron, one can’t help but think that the education system should take some responsibility in encouraging the teaching of GK, especially if they plan on assessing the students on it. Arguably, it should be necessary that a school teaches general knowledge in order to prepare young pupils for independency.
At the end of the day, it would be unfair to scrutinize the entire educational institution itself, but I think it is fair to say that there are a couple areas that are lacking in the system that can easily be resolved. Nevertheless, there are certainly some things that need to be learned through experiences in life, but if we want to create a global community with intellectual well settled individuals, then we need to create a good foundation for that, and send out students that are ready with the skills that they need as an independent adult.