There is quite a bit going around from teachers, ex teachers, students, and parents about the education system. Am I pushing my kids too hard? Am I not pushing them hard enough? What if I don’t get 10 A*s, will I be a failure? If my class don’t get these grades, I might get sacked!
Has anyone noticed that mental illness like depression seems to be on the rise? I know it is more ‘talked about’ now, but I believe there are far more young people with anxiety etc than there used to be. What is causing it? Is it the education system? Is it the belief that anything less than an A, and you are a failure?
I wrote the following as a response to blogger AliceWilde, who wrote the article:
Not every child is an A grade student. Why we must not let B/C/D be shameful.
Here is the link: http://www.halfwavinghalfdrowning.com/not-every-child-is-a-a-grade-student-why-we-must-not-let-bcd-be-shameful/#comment-1432
And here is my response:
Teaching should be the best job in the world, but after 4 years I quit and now work as an artist and sometimes a supply teacher for primary schools.
Homework at Primary School is frustrating for everybody. The only homework that I think is acceptable is: times tables, spellings, and reading a book with mum and dad. If we must insist on homework, then it should be to do something extra curricular, like going swimming, Scouts, fishing with Grandad or whatever. You can learn so much more when you are out and having fun.
I loved my secondary school, although some of my peers felt the pressure to get As and A*s. I don’t think I felt the pressure at school quite like my peers did, until I became a teacher myself. I don’t believe any school actually believes in only grades, it is just that the government makes it the be-all-and-end-all because they compare us to countries like China.
Schools are so concerned about not reaching ‘the grades’, that some primary schools are cutting out creative subjects like Art and Music. As an artist and a teacher, I find this particularly frustrating. As an artist: that is degrading professions (are you calling me a failure), and also what about the child who might have been a designer, musician, decorator, or artist? Not being given the opportunity to explore his/ her creative abilities may mean he/ she never discovers what they are good at. As a teacher: What! If I have to teach Maths three times a day, no one will like Maths anymore… not even mathematicians. By the way, I love teaching Maths.
These days the education system treats us like we are all made from the same cloth, and so if we don’t all get a high grade in the core subjects, it stands to reason why so many of us feel like we are failures and then suffer from depression.
Teachers don’t want this. They can SEE kids are all delightfully different, and it breaks their hearts when a 7 year old puts all their effort into a core subject, achieves a whole grade lower than the rest of the class, and then that 7 year old child cries and worries for the rest of the day (or perhaps they carry that worry with them into adulthood).
Yes, we should all put A Grade effort into everything we do, and celebrate what we do achieve – in anything. Really, I think the only measurement one should take in life is HAPPINESS.
So, who is more successful at life? An exhausted, stressed, ‘good to outstanding’ teacher who made an OK salary, or an artist who just about survives financially but enjoys everyday? I know who I prefer to be, even if the world doesn’t see it that way.
PLEASE SHARE IF YOU AGREE, OR ARE ALSO WORRIED ABOUT THE MENTAL WELL-BEING OF YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY, “FAILURES” OR NOT.