Today is a day in which I learned something new about myself; I do not belong in a classroom, sitting in a desk, reading and regurgitating information. I can learn by reading, yes, but in a classroom, it’s simply not the same. So, it is today that I change my mind. Education needs to evolve, as the school system has not been revamped in some fifty years. The very last thing I want is for another child or teenage to feel restricted and confined the way that I do inside of a classroom. However, if we want to change education and the way that kids think, they’re not going to listen to some high school or college student. They, the administration and school boards are going to want to look to someone with credentials, a teacher who is working in the environment. If you can’t change it from the outside, change it from the inside, one step at a time.
The school system currently in session is lacking most predominantly in awareness. It’s crucial to keep children aware of their surroundings and to appreciate at them so that they may apply what they learn in school, to their everyday life. I believe the most important concept to remember overall is perspective. While hiking one Sunday morning, I came face to face with a beautiful example of perspective, and how we overlook it so greatly. I look down below my feet at a small patch of dirt and thought, we have been taught to think that this is ugly because it is not the aspect of nature that is lively with vibrant flowers and perfectly green grass. It being just a small patch of dirt, that is okay. What’s not is okay is that we are not taught about perspective. That small patch of “ugly” dirt is the foundation for a radiant foliage of trees. Everything we see is in the way we look at it. We choose now simply not to look. The world has seen it’s fair share of ugly things and is far from perfect,, but my mom has recently reminded me that everything is beautiful when you look at it with the eyes of love of humanity. It warms my heart to know that there is still love in this world. You have to step back and take perspective to realize it. Yes, there is war, poverty and kids struggling in school right now because it’s not the way that is best for them to learn and yes, there are people sitting at their office jobs slumming it just to get by, but then there are people like myself who are chasing knowledge everyday and not settling for the mediocre activity. Everyday, more and more people are waking up. How beautiful is that?
Overachieving is a trait that we are sadly taught from the very beginning of our schooling. Since Kindergarten, I’ve been taught that I must be the very best at everything that I do, but for all the wrong reasons. I used to be enrolled in a load of honors classes. Yes, I could do the work, I am absolutely smart enough to complete the course, but I began to ask myself why I was doing it. It was all for the image. Being African-American, the amount of people that think I’m brainless are more than I can count. “Honors American Literature? Seriously, you?”. I craved that tone of disbelief in their voices, but I realized that my only purpose in those classes was to give myself a label as an honors student and to prove that I was good enough. The year that I was enrolled in the bulk of my honors classes, I was drowning. All that school work and no free time. I didn’t have many friends, I was unhappy and I was sick all of the time from not eating regularly. I didn’t even feel smart, really. To this day, I don’t think I’ve truly learned anything from those classes, yet this past semester, I dropped every honors course I was taking and started using the extra free time I had to educate myself on things that would benefit me in the long run and that I deemed valuable. I felt smarter and more alive than ever. My grades were the worst they’ve ever been in my entire life at that time, but I was learning more than ever. How could that be? Because to be educated under the current school system is to remember. To truly be educated is to know. A 4.0 cannot measure the fact that I can write 30 pages of flowing thought in one sitting. It measures your ability to regurgitate information that’s shoved down your throat three weeks at a time. So these overachievers– they spend all this time remembering information to ace the upcoming test, and what do they gain from that? The highest children in class rank could in fact be the least smart people you know.
Education is such a powerful tool and an even more powerful system. In order to change it, we must envision something to change it to. We must put action behind our words. There are many changes I’d like to see regarding the school system, but most importantly, I’d like to focus on broadening the way in which we are taught and learn. I’ve unlocked a part of my mind that others may never get to through a self-educating journey, and others may never get to that. I want to see the school system evolve to a point where this journey takes place in a classroom and the focus is on real, useful education. In my classroom, grades will never be the focus. The learning process works from all aspects. A teacher can learn the same amount from a student as they can teach. That is something that is not acknowledged or appreciate in today’s society. The best thing a student could teach the teachers of the United States right now are how to think outside the box. Each day, we are literally placed in a box and instructed to learn how each authoritative figure in the room deems fit. There is one way of learning; at 7am, on a block schedule by taking notes and then taking tests.The curriculum is strictly based around a list of skills we’re expected to know before graduation day. What teachers nowadays need to learn is how to make connections and apply what is said to be valuable in the classroom, in the outside world. We are so extremely limited in what we learn and the way that we learn. I have a friend who says it would be easier for her to learn at night, simply because she is not a morning person. I find that I learn better through lectures followed by a discussion followed by a connection or experience in the outside world to make it stick. Have you ever considered why it is that kids seem to calm down after a certain age? It’s not their age, it’s after a certain amount of schooling and medication. If you’re bouncing around with energy in class, every adult in the room wants to claim that you have ADHD and basically hand your parents a prescription. Administrators utilize oppression as their weapon against kids with wild minds and flowing ideas. By kids, I mean young children. I have a nephew as young as 7 years old on ADHD medication already. We are taught to settle down, to repress our tendencies, and it’s sad that smaller kids don’t know any better than to listen. How very awful it is, that we teach the children of our world to tone down the fire of passion in their beings.
Education could change everything. Scratch that, education will change everything. Instead of spending millions of dollars to drop bombs and shoot our enemies, we should be investing that money. Investing money in the education of a child is the smartest thing a government could do. Why are there millions of people poor, on the street and without jobs? Lack of education, causing lack of inspiration, causing lack of opportunity. The government that controls the school system has the power to open these doors. Get kids off the streets, help them find their purpose and get them learning. That’s one peaceful revolution. Get kids who are already in school, the option to learn what they want to learn in a way that’s best for them in high school and beyond without bankrupting them. That’s peaceful revolution number two. With education, these same kids will begin to think for themselves. Act as their guiding force rather than a dictating one and we can know a better world. How? That 8 year old who you’re forbidding to read in class or write or hang upside down on the monkey bars is going to grow up to be a very bored accountant, hate school and most of all, hate learning. But, let that same child write and read until they’re blue in the face and explore the wonders of the world, and they could turn out to change the world. What does your mind think when it is not taught what to think? You don’t know until you’ve broken the cycle and explored what’s trapped in your mind. It’s all about the chain reaction. The fantasy book little Jimmy is reading in class could make him believe in the fact that anything is possible, giving him confidence to pursue a theory even though may fail. So then Jimmy grows up, in the education system that I imagined possible. He graduates high school, moves on to college and along the way is outside hiking with his buddies and comes across a strange leaf. He picks it up, takes it home with him and while cutting up some vegetables for dinner that night, accidentally cuts his finger. There are no bandages around, so he grabs the leaf he picked up today and applies it to the wound to stop the bleeding. He looks down and sees that it has stopped immediately– some chemical in the leaf, perhaps? It was crazy, but it was possible. So Jimmy takes the leaf to his college lab and runs some tests– he has discovered a natural way to clot blood, which could lead to the cure for hemophilia. How crazy is that? We are so powerful in our minds, especially when we utilize our intelligence. Imagine if all the power and potential began to flow freely, uninterrupted in each of our minds around the age of 5 or 6. By the time an entire generation has grown up without the limitation of their thoughts, I wouldn’t doubt that we could’ve found the cure for cancer. I believe the answer to some of lifes mysteries like cancer are right in front of us. It is somewhere locked in the depths of someones mind, waiting to be retrieved and explored. They are locked in a cage that somebody else has built for us, and it is we who hold the key.