Wow, as an eighteen-year old girl newly entering adulthood, Logan LaPlante really spoke to me. I am currently trying to find a balance in my life between just making money and making myself happy. I completely agree that public schools assume children will be happy and healthy when they grow up. I also think that public high schools can contribute to the loss of childhood happiness, especially in big schools. Teenagers are bullied to the point of depression and self hate everyday in our high schools and society complains about standardized test scores. Why can’t we teach kids while also helping them to be happy as adults?
Hack schooling sounds like a dream to me. I cannot state how much I agree with Logan about the fact that students will learn faster and easier when they are intrigued with what they are learning. I spent my entire high school career waiting for my art class, because that class didn’t feel like learning to me; it felt like fun. Interactive learning will get students more engaged every day of the week than listening to a lecture will. I am discovering, however, that college is a lot like hack schooling. Professors, at least at Chadron State College, seem to promote creativity in projects that could be really tiresome. I believe that high school should be a lot more like college. Technology should be encouraged in every day school life. Creativity should be encouraged in every day school life. And, most of all, being able to think for yourself, live for yourself, and make yourself happy should be taught in high schools.
I remember thinking “when am I ever going to use this in life?” many times going about my school day in high school. Of course, I know the benefits of learning the core subjects: math, science, languages, and humanities. However, I found myself only being able to motivate myself to get up and go to school in the morning because I knew I would be able to work on my oil painting or finish my batik in art that day. The things students love to do are often overlooked in classrooms. Many high school teachers asked me to quit doodling in their class, many times. In my opinion, and I know it sounds harsh, schooling weans the creativity and happiness out of student’s childhood. We take away the things that make these kid’s happy and expect to replace it with homework and a short time after school to do “recreational activities.”
My high school chemistry teacher was good at this one particular thing, in my opinion, and that was putting down his students. As I type this, it sounds horrible, but I remember him calling my whole class pathetic. However, he taught me about the real world. The sad reality of the real world. He asked us what we wanted to do our first day of physical science freshman year of high school. I said I wanted to be an artist….and he told me I was going to be poor. He told me I would fail and that I should focus on the sciences. He said to us that the only way we would ever make money was to work in the sciences. I mean, he wasn’t lying, but I could feel myself die inside a little.
Of course, my high school chemistry teacher was one of a kind. My art and English teachers in high school encouraged their students to do whatever made them happy. The day I decided to be an English teacher was also the day I asked my English teacher if she ever regretted becoming a teacher. I asked her this question after a particularly rebellious day by her senior students. She simply said, “The few students that I really capture with my lesson plans make it all worth it. The few students that I can help with their life problems make it all worth it. I like helping you guys through this hard time in your life. Books got me through high school and I know that books will get some of you through high school.” I believe that teachers like these, who promote creativity and encourage students to do anything they dream of, can hack teaching to make their students interested in their lesson plans.
Photo taken from Flickr, original photo credit to alamosbasement.