Our spirit-sucking educational system

Looking at the entire average human  life span, our time spent in school is only about 5% of our waking hours. It doesn’t sound like much, but that 5% is arguably the most formative and essential part of our lives, after our earliest years from birth to age 5.
 
For the first few years of our children’s lives we work hard to prepare them for school, then send them off to a factory-based system where we slowly see their individuality, creativity, and joie de vivre chiseled away.
 

I see this with my own. My son was so excited to start school and within a matter of weeks I saw that enthusiasm begin to fade. He was already reading somewhat by Kindergarten, but in a class of nearly 30 children (some of whom knew little to no English and at least one had special needs which required an inordinate amount of teacher attention), students like my son were largely ignored. He very quickly began to use the “B-word.” That’s right – BORED.

 I fight along side the kids to keep their spirits going, to give them another perspective on what is important. Do I want them to get good grades? Absolutely – that is the environment in which they are operating and the rules of the game they are forced to play. However, I also am very clear to them that the world doesn’t care if you got an A in middle school language arts or math class. The world cares about what you contribute, and if you want to leave a legacy and your mark on the world you need to keep that fire alive or risk becoming just another cog in the machine. They know my position on standardized testing (vehemently against) and how public school (at least here in Virginia) has become little more than teaching to the statewide “Standards of Learning” exams. 
 

I am so thankful for the educators out there who sacrifice so much to also keep that spirit alive. Anyone who has had a life-changing inspirational teacher knows the feeling. It’s like an awakening. For me, it was Mr. Fowler’s physics class in high school. Before that, I was a cog in the machine. Since then, I’ve become a lifelong learner.

I stumbled across this video the other day on Facebook, and while it’s a bit heavy on hyperbole, I think it illustrates some of what I’ve been feeling about our educational system…..

Please post your comments and let me know what you think.

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