The Schooling System: What's Wrong with it?

We’re made to think that school is a fun place for learning and friendship building. But to be totally honest, that’s not what school for most teenagers is like.

School is full of pain and pressure on every student that attends and participates. For most – if not all – students, school is a place that is associated with pressure. While yes sometimes pressure is a good thing, but in this case it is not. Time and time again students are told that they’re not smart enough and that they will fail if they don’t do well. Which has to change. Even if you don’t do well in school and come out a ‘failure’ you’re still capable of doing great things with your life.

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There have been studies over the years looking at student’s stress due to school. Around 40% of primary school kids say they already feel too stressed, and it increases to 83% by the time the student reaches year 10. That’s a huge number of Australian students that feel like school is pushing them into the ground with assignments and tests. Pressure is put on teenage students because, according to adults, they must do well to have any sort of good future. Our politics and government need to change the way they view education because it’s wrong to tell teenagers that everything they do when they’re thirteen to eighteen, will affect them throughout their entire career and future life. In an interview with Lucy Clark she said that there is a very narrow view of what success is in school, and that if you don’t fit that view then the student will feel like a failure.

I am told by all my teachers that I’m a smart student that has potential, but aren’t all students? Some may not be smart at science or maths, but instead be amazing at sport or art. Why does the schooling system say that you must do well at everything, instead of just what the students are interested in or good at? It’s because the school is told by people in higher power that that is what they have to. They’re told that they must give students a certain amount of assignments and tests per semester and they’re told what they have to teach and how to teach it. “When students cheat on exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning” – spoken by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I am not a student who would cheat on my exams, yet I know many students who would.

They do it because the grade you get on your exam is what matters to your overall grade, not how well you’ve connected or understood the topic. But why is that? Why is a number on a piece of paper more important than anything else in the class? Schools have made learning something that we must do, instead of thinking of it as a privilege which it is. “Education was something that was being done to them, rather than something they were engaged in, or had any say in” – Lucy Clark. Older generations have shaped schools into a place where kids get bullied, lied to and stomped on like they have no opinion in the world. Not only older generations, but ours too. We have made school a living hell for ourselves.

Adults and parents are wondering why their kids are lying awake at night crying, or harming themselves. It’s because every day we’re forced to go to a place where we don’t feel welcome and forced to learn subjects we have no interest in by teacher’s who don’t value what they’re teaching. “We all know that kids are suffering in the quest for success as we have defined it for them, so we must act” – a powerful quote by Lucy Clark. I’d say that almost every student all over the country would want to hear what they’ve done well at, not what they’ve failed. While yes feedback is good, but why is that the only thing that teachers comment on?Why have people in authority brought up a system that makes teenagers feel unvalued and unwise? Instead of raising a system that teaches kids to be imaginative and affectionate? So many questions that no one has the answers to.

But the thing is, we need answers and we need to change how our education system works. We need to make school a place where students feel welcome and are generally excited to learn, instead of a place filled with fear. Because if we don’t, things are just going to get worse and worse over the generations. Eventually ending in a world were not one single kid will care about school anymore, because that is where we are sadly heading. Our world is going to have more faults in our system unless we do something to change the way it works. If we all work together to beat down the walls of distress in our schools, then we could get a place that’s free of judgement and pressure.