“I don’t want to go to school!” I hear my 6-year old sister yelling one morning. My dad drags the reluctant little girl out of bed and soon she’s on the bus heading to a place she doesn’t want to go.
And why should she? School is boring.
My kid brother and sister are bright, curious, and intelligent children. They read books and write silly stories. My sister loves art and my brother dreams of being a science teacher.
But they’d much rather stay home than go to school.
The purpose of a good education is to increase students’ chances for a better future. The skills they learn today prepare them for everyday tasks tomorrow. By studying in high school and college, they acquire knowledge for specialized careers. Having the population educated also increases the standards of living for society, as more people are more capable in managing their lives.
But the truth is, kids just aren’t interested.
The problem here is that students are losing interest in school at an early stage in their lives. They don’t understand why they need to learn things. Adults tell them that it’s for the future and a good life, but at that age, kids just want to play. With television and video games becoming more and more prevalent in a child’s life at an earlier age, it is especially difficult to keep a child on track.
Elementary school is a child’s first exposure to the public education system. It is critical for the student to get interested in learning because if the student gets lost here, it’s only going to get harder.
This is where the role of the teacher comes in. The teacher serves as an intermediary between the child and the information. We picture this person as someone who gives lessons, corrects mistakes, and presents subjects like math and English in a stimulating and fun way, essentially coaching students along in their mental development.
This is also where the problem is: not every teacher is like that.
Not every teacher is interesting. Not every teacher is enthusiastic. Not every teacher is good at his job.
If the teacher doesn’t perform well, how can we expect the students to? Kids follow their elders and learn by mimicking adults. When the teacher is bored, his pupils are receiving a strong message.
The material is so dry that even the teacher doesn’t want to teach it.
In news magazines and on the Internet, I come across a lot of articles on how millions of children are suffering from ADD or some other mental disorder. They say that children are doing poorly in the classroom due to newly diagnosed developmental diseases. Parents and school administrators are attributing lack of motivation to causes beyond their control.
I don’t believe a lot of what they say.
Let’s face it. Students aren’t doing well because they are bored in class. I find that in some of my classes, my mind starts to wander as the teacher drones on and on about vector analysis or some Spanish explorer. I soon snap out of it because the person sitting next to me is snoring.
The stereotypical high school setting depicts a teacher lecturing in monotone. His class is split. Some kids are trying to listen, but the information just doesn’t sink in. The other kids are sleeping, having already given up trying to listen. And then there’s the one kid with the glasses that knows all the answers. The teacher says he’s the only one who pays attention, but what he really does is study the material at home.
There is still hope, however. There are still a few teachers left who know how to teach. Take for example, my history teacher. He’s new to the school, substituting for another, but he really seems to know his stuff. He never has us just read the book all period – he has us engaged in active discussion. My teacher doesn’t call on the same people for answers either; he often drags reluctant students into participating.
People may not realize it, but interactive lessons really work. I bet if more teachers used methods like my history teacher does, we’d see fewer cases of kids suffering from learning disorders and dreading school.
By the way, my little sister got accepted into a reading program for gifted and talented students, which meets once a week. She is ecstatic, since reading is her favorite subject, and she loves her new teacher because he is “fun.”
Problem solved? Not entirely. My sister now likes going to school…but only on Tuesdays.