School system is settling for just ok

Many upperclassmen choose to catch up on sleep rather than learning about subjects that they are forced to pick from and are clearly not interested in. Photo by Jack Ficklen.

Many upperclassmen choose to catch up on sleep rather than learning about subjects that they are forced to pick from and are clearly not interested in. Photo by Jack Ficklen.

Coleman Armes

Staff Writer

Sometimes I feel like I’m crazy. I sit in class and think am I the only one that is upset, that is unsatisfied, that is unmotivated? Something has to be done.

Now usually I am a hard worker and tend to be an A and B student. But this year I have found myself not caring as much. I just do not see the point or how I will ever use a lot of what I learn in my classes. It seems like I am wasting time.

A lot of this comes from the classes students are required to take.

For instance foreign language can be beneficial but some people may never need it in life. Instead of being required to take two years of foreign language the student should choose how many years they want or if they want to take the class at all. After all most parents I talk to don’t remember a thing about foreign language except “hola” and “gracias”. Of course the world is changing and foreign language has become more important in a global environment so some people will need this but it shouldn’t be forced.

Another example is the fourth year sciences that students are required to take. Those classes only cater to a very few amount of career choices and a majority of the students won’t wind up with a job like this.

I see problems with math particularly upper level math. Only a select few will need pre-cal, calculus, and statistics in their career or life. In this case too I see and hear about kids all the time asking for math help from their parents or teachers in other subjects and the adult can’t help. This isn’t because the adults are dumb but rather they have never learned the material or forgot about it because over time they didn’t need it.

Now I know the arguments people say, “Well you never know what you’re going to be when you get older so you have to take everything.” But my argument to that is that many people have at least a feeling coming into high school of what they want to be and can find out what classes they want to take that will serve that career interest. Even if students change their mind at some point than fine next year take different classes.

Maybe the most ridiculous comment I hear is the “Well you can learn just to learn.” Teachers say it like usually students don’t want to learn for fun. Believe it or not students do want to learn just to learn. It’s just a crazy concept, right? Students just don’t want to learn something they will never use in life. When I want to learn something I can just ask someone, go to the library or Google it. I don’t always need a teacher but of course a teacher helps a lot when I am in a class that I actually need or see the point to.

The last excuse I see commonly is the “Well these classes don’t apply directly but they will teach you critical thinking and logic that you can use in the future.” This one is simply quite ridiculous I’m pretty sure I use logic and critical thinking in everyday life and also I use it a ton in English when I do things like analyze argument ethos pathos and logos. I also use this in history class and every other class so I will never miss out on critical thinking or logic. You have to use it every day or else you won’t survive. It is like telling me the class will teach me to walk, I already know how to and practice it all the time.

Of course though we must keep certain classes because we all will need certain skills up to some point.  I believe history is the greatest teacher and needs to be kept. I also think English helps you with communicating ideas, speaking and realizing arguments. If you can’t do these things you probably won’t be able to survive in the world. Of course math, science and electives are important too but I think once you get up to some point in high school we need to be able to choose if we need to take certain classes and have more freedom when it comes to choosing classes.

Many upperclassmen choose to catch up on sleep rather than learn about subjects that they have no interest in. Photo Illustration by Jack Ficklen.

Also students and teachers both need to improve in certain areas. As students we need to be more respectful of teachers and their time, apply ourselves more and keep ourselves from checking out of the lessons. Of course I think these problems come from the fact that students don’t see how the lesson applies. So teachers need to explain how each lesson applies to the real world because this is one of the main parts of their jobs. The student might understand the lesson but it is useless to them if they don’t know how to use it.

Also I see a lot of students afraid to ask questions and suffering because when they ask teachers yell and act like the student is an idiot. Teachers must be more patient because this is the student’s first time learning material where the teacher has taught it usually tons of time. Lastly it doesn’t hurt if the student and teacher get to know each other. This will make the class time more enjoyable and they can both learn from each other.

When it comes down to it this is my little idea. But I think it has a lot of potential. The one thing I want from this is to bring new ideas to the table because I am not comfortable with being complacent. I am not OK with people saying there is nothing you can do about it so don’t try or that people have been arguing about the topic of relevant material in school forever so you can’t do anything about it.

If people had always decided to listen to this and be complacent we would still be stuck in the stone ages. Great things happen when people decide not to settle for ok but to strive for the best. And right now I see an education system settling for OK.