Updated: Jun 1
Somedays you love it, other days you despise it. But why is that? The culture of our schools, and the education system for that matter, might not be serving students in the right way. That's why it's up to you to begin the revolution.
On average, each year students spend around 1,000 hours at school. This is isn't even taking into account extracurriculars, time spent before and after school, or summer learning. One would think that the culture of such a place would be a top priority. However, many students are unfortunately deprived of this wonderful experience.
For many of us students, school feels more like an unrewarding job than an environment to learn and grow. This is in large part due to the immense amount of pressure put on kids by society to get perfect grades and ace standardized tests. I'm not suggesting that grades aren't important, in fact, I am a huge proponent of doing well and working really hard in school. That being said, this needs to take place for the right reasons.
This pressure can come from parents, teachers, the dream of college acceptance, or the student themselves. It becomes ingrained in kids from a young age that the better you do, the better you are as a person. While being intelligent and scoring well is a great trait to have, it doesn't make or break someone's character.
Lack of Vulnerability
Have you ever known the answer to a question the teacher asks, but proceed to remain silent and not raise your hand? I believe this happens all too often in today's classrooms. There is a sense that being wrong is life-threatening, or more accurately, image-threatening. Why is this phenomenon so prevalent? A lack of vulnerability!
This may vary from school to school, but despite knowing your fellow classmates for years there is a lack of trust and humility. Kids would rather remain silent than risk being incorrect. If we want every student to have a safe and positive place to engage in learning, this needs to change.
School gets a bad rap and is constantly stereotyped as a dreaded requirement that every person needs to trudge through. Students that truly succeed and get the most out of their education don't see it this way. They make every opportunity and experience associated with school a chance to grow, learn, and transform as a person. This negativity often seeps into the culture of school systems.
When students are reluctant to attend school, it makes it really hard to create an engaging environment. This creates a challenge for teachers and students looking to turn the culture around.
Can you change the culture of your school? The answer is yes, but not alone. This movement is going to have to start with you, the teen leader, but will need to infect every other student to work. Build trust, be positive, embrace vulnerability, and encourage others.
Teachers are some of the most influential people in our lives and their service should be greatly appreciated. Without these selfless, caring individuals our world would fall apart. Make sure to express your gratitude and get them on board with your culture transformation.
The Teen Leader
“Malala Yousafzai Quote: ‘One Child, One Teacher, One Book, One Pen Can Change the World.".” Quotefancy, quotefancy.com/quote/1491943/Malala-Yousafzai-One-child-one-teacher-one-book-one-pen-can-change-the-world.
Nisen, Max. “America Needs To Suck It Up And Make School Days Longer.” Business Insider,
Business Insider, 1 Oct. 2013, www.businessinsider.com/why-america-needs-longer-school-days-2013-9.