Friday, April 26, 2013

The Reason I Took This Class & Why Education Isn't Always Educational

Here I am sitting in my Business Web Page Design class, bored out of my mind. I am done with my assignments, even the optional extra credit, and Pinterest has been blocked. I am going to die!

Well maybe not die, but it's going to be really boring! You see, the reason I took this class, was because I knew it was going to be a "Pinterest Class". If you are unfamiliar with this term, then allow me to educate you. A "Pinterest Class" is a class at school in which you have easy assignments that you get done in the first 20 minutes of class, that are supposed to take you 2 or more class days to complete, thus you get to spend the rest of that class time on Pinterest and various social networking sites. Its quite enjoyable. Now I know what you are probably thinking, "Hannah, do you actually do these assignments well? Are they completed to the best of your ability?" And the answer is yes. Yes, I actually have an "A" in this class and I have the entire time I have been enrolled in it (Now math is a different story...). Anyways, I find it to be quite boring to just be refreshing twitter every 5 seconds while I sit here at my computer after I have completed my assignments. So naturally, I get on Pinterest. However, my lovely teacher has promptly blocked Pinterest. No she hasn't blocked Facebook or Twitter, but Pinterest is evil and must be blocked. Now you may say that I could be reading a book or doing home work, however I don't have any homework to be done, and I have left my book at home by my comfy chair where I prefer to read anyways. So here I am, writing a blog post about how lame it is that I can't get on Pinterest during class... yep. That's what I'm doing.

But in all reality I would like to talk about something else as well. It is a similar topic to the one I have previously mentioned, but a bit more serious.

The reason I took this class was because I knew I wouldn't have to do much. Is that a good use of my educational time? No. But this is the only class besides gym that would fit in my schedule and we all know how much I hate being yelled at while I run. So here I am. I'm supposed to be learning how to create and manage a web site. The teacher has basically shown us how to do everything, and we have done it right along side her. The main problem with this is that I don't really think I could do any of these tasks on my own. It's all her telling us how, and not us showing her that we can. Thus we have a problem. I'M NOT LEARNING ANYTHING! I am simply regurgitating something I had just been told 5 minutes ago.

You're not actually retaining any knowledge, you are simply memorizing facts to regurgitate on a test and forgetting them as soon as the test it over. I find this to be a problem in many of my classes, and I am sure anyone who has ever been to school has experienced this at least once before and knows exactly what I am talking about. And it's ridiculous! What's the point if you aren't actually retaining knowledge?

What do you do when you graduate college and you are supposed to find a job and be a professional. But you're not a professional because you haven't actually retained the knowledge you payed thousands upon thousands of dollars to be taught. In reality you won't retain all of it and it's only harder because you never learned how to learn in High School. You never learned how to study and actually retain the knowledge you need.

Which leads to the other problem. What do you need to learn. If you know that you want to be an artist, you figure you will never need math, and you probably wont need to know how to find the sqare root of 2. At the most you will only need to know the basics (Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). Yet on the other hand, if you decide to become an engineer, you will need to know all kinds of math, but how to paint will not be an important part of your education. So basically, if you know you won't use it, you aren't going to bother trying to remember it. You just memorize it to regurgitate it and then forget it. Which makes absolutely no sense.

I've had many extraordinary teachers, I've had some that are horrible, and I've had many inbetween.  My 8th grade science teacher was one of my favorites and he talked to us many times about what we really wanted out of our education. He let us pick and choose the assigments we did (As long as they added up to a certian ammount of points). And he made class fun. He did so by ocassionally blowing stuff up, or letting us go outside to do our assignments. Teachers that give their students some room to wiggle in their education ar the teachers that allow their students to learn they way that is best for them.

I have never enjoyed being forced to read a book, and when my World Civ. teacher told us that we would have a book report every term in his class I was kind of confused. This isn't and English class... so why are we doing book reports? But then he gave us a list of books we could CHOOSE from. We didn't all have to read the same book, and we could choose what we wanted as long as it was on this list. My English teacher also provided us with a list to choose from for our quarterly book reports. So, like any other student who had pleanty of other books they wanted to read, I chose 1 book that was on both lists. For the first 2 terms I just read a Shakespeare play, it was fun and easy. Giving students something that they can choose that they personally will enjoy makes them more likely to enjoy the assingment and do it in the first place.

Sadly, we don't always have such amazing teachers. Not having a teacher that cares about there job is the absolute worst. In 9th grade it was my Earth Science teacher's last year teaching. She was retiering and that was great for her; however, it sucked for all of her students. She didn't care, she lost assignments all the time, and we basically watched Bill Nye videos for the last 2 months of school. Waste of my time? Yes. Waste of hers? She thought so. I understand that she was retireing and excited about that, but she wan't retired  yet, and she still had an obligation to teach us. An obligation she did not care to fill.

Teacher like this are the ones that discourage us the most. The ones who loose your assignment and tell you to redo it because they lost it. The ones who could care less. They teach because they decided to, not because they really wanted to help students become better. Yet, we still have to take and pass the class, because that's just how it is.

Unfortunately we still have to comply to the rules of our educational system and take the classes that can sometimes really stink, but here's a bit of advice:

Don't waste your education on the classes you figure will be easy. Take the classes you feel are valuable to you and your future. Take the classes that will challenge you, because those are the classes you will actually learn something from.

This video sums it up quite well. Plus he has a cool accent so that's a bonus! :)

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