I HATE SCHOOL, I'M BORED.
I am sitting in front of a panel of teachers at my son’s private catholic school, being reprimanded. My son is suspended from school - for the 3rd time this school year! These meetings are soul-crushing, guilt-instilling and periodic, and they produce no result on my 15-year old. “Why are we having this consistent issue in your school?” I ask him. “Because I hate school, I’m bored, mom!” he shouts back. “We haven’t done real work in months. It’s a waste of time!” And I struggle to find an appropriate response…because he is right! The education system is failing him, and we are the ones being blamed for it year after year.
My son and I have lived in five different countries. He has attended private, public, and Embassy schools, and if I tried to catalogue what he learned during these years, it would never justify 10 years of his life. The bulk of the “memorized information” he already forgot, and reading and writing he learned before he even went to school. So, why do I make him do what he hates every day of his life and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for it?! In hopes of a better future?
What message are we sending to our kids? – it is “necessary to do what you hate because this is what life is about”? This is what my parents taught me: “you have no choice!” – school is like life, you have to do it because that is what everybody does. Just sit quietly, do what you’re told, and the system may reward you with a grade or with a paycheck (if your superiors like you). And if you work harder for one more year, you’ll get 10% better grade or pay, and this will continue for the next 50 years and then you die… really?!
Do we think this is what our kids need? We don’t even know if there will be “jobs” in the future as we know them today. Most likely our kids will have to create their jobs and reinvent themselves many times during their lifetimes because the speed of change is simply too great.
We should not tell our kids what to do every minute in class; instead, we must teach them to make their own rules, seek their own knowledge and invent! Learning should be an exciting journey of exploration. A lifestyle rather than a phase.
Svetlana Tikhonov is an entrepreneur, an educator, an actress and a visionary with a passion for education.