A recent study shows that 37 percent of eighth graders say their math work is often or always “too easy” and 39 percent of twelfth graders say they rarely write about what they read in class. Interestingly enough, American students generally perform worse than students in other industrial nations? Another eyeroll, another, “Duh!”
I could go on a huge rant about this school’s public education system, but most of you are living the nightmare. (I promise college is nothing like high school. It’s really the only reason why you should suck it up and do that lame homework–you don’t want to miss how awesome and life changing college is academically and socially!)
I can’t say for sure that the reason kids do poorly in school is because they are bored. I can just recount my experience in New York City public schools and then ask you guys: Would you even bother in these scenarios?
Senior year of high school I had an English teacher who would literally stop and define every single word we were reading because she clearly thought we were morons. I am not talking hundred dollar words like “antiestablishmentarianism”, I mean words like “vital” and “intriguing”. It’s OK if you don’t know what those words mean now, but you will by senior year of high school after you’ve taken the SAT or ACT. It felt condescending. If she didn’t expect me to know anything then why bother? She thinks I’m stupid anyway, right?
I had another teacher, my favorite teacher in the whole world who taught AP English, ask me, “How is it possible that you’re so literate? Coming from . . . where you come from?” He didn’t even understand why posing the question at all was insulting.
In Junior High I went to the sixth worst middle school in New York City. I remember we went through three English teachers in a month because they couldn’t “control” the classroom, oh, and they didn’t bother to teach.
I had a History teacher who would literally give us a copy of the test two nights before–with the answers!
In New York City you have to apply to high school and be accepted into it (yeah more annoying stress). Even though I had a 99.6/100 GPA, I was rejected from every high school I applied to and sent to my zoned school (the worst high school in New York City) just because my middle school had one of the worst reputations ever. I literally had to beg and go to summer school to get into the decent high school I went to.
In elementary school one teacher was arrested for working under a stolen identity–he was pretending to be someone else–he wasn’t a qualified teacher at all!
What’s the consistent problem in this picture? No one expects us to do well? To be smart? No one demands that we rise to the occasion! No one sets the bar higher! If you don’t believe I am smart, then how I am supposed believe it? If you come into a classroom, as a teacher, with the expectations that I am dumb–why should I impress you? You don’t even know me and you’re telling me I should be reading Goosebumps instead of Shakespeare?
Not only is it hurtful, not only can it affect someone’s self-esteem, but boy does it ever make school really boring. You’re showing me Dora The Explorer and Blues Clues and asking me to learn something? Screw you, teach.
It sucks to admit, but the only thing that motivated me in high school was the hope that there was something better after. If you’re in a situation like mine was, let that be your guiding light too.
I just wish people expected more from teens. Being young or from a certain neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re dumb, you may not have had certain experiences, but that does not mean you lack the ability to think critically, to be savvy, and to be witty as all hell.
Do you think school is too easy? Let us know in the comments