The Fault in Our Schools

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Natalie Petticolas , Staff Writer

High school is not easy. Although some people look back on high school with fond memories, most do not. The American Psychological Association Survey shows that teenagers stress levels rival that of adults. It’s reported that that teen’s stress levels during the school year far exceed what is healthy, and match the average stress levels of adults. This in turn can affect a teen’s mental health, eating habits, and sleeping habits. This isn’t simply the result of “teenage hormones” or how “dramatic” this generation is. I believe the fault lies within the American school system itself.

School is exhausting. Students have to get up early to make it on time, then try to stay awake through six hours of school and after school activities, with hours of homework after that. Not to mention social lives, family lives, and sometimes jobs; schools recommend at least 8 hours of sleep, but how are we supposed to accomplish that when school takes up all our time? Schools overwork their students to the point where they literally can’t keep their eyes open in class. But if they fall asleep in class, they’re “lazy”. Cheating is viewed the same way, but often the case is that they’d rather get the grade they need than learn.

Because school isn’t about learning anymore. Students remember information enough to pass a test and then they forget about it, because school is really about passing. School brings students to literal tears. Exams, standardized tests, classwork, quizzes, tests, homework. Kids go home and cry and have panic attacks after school, sometimes during school. School also makes you lose your confidence.

Students often gossip about each other and you’re always worried about every little thing you do, whether it’ll make you seem dumb or weird. People are always looking for little things to pick on others about. Because school is all about conformity. Teachers tell us what to think and never ask for our opinions or ideas. There’s only ever one acceptable opinion, and any other point of view is wrong. Students are taught when to speak, to ask to use the bathroom, to only speak when spoken too and keep our opinions to ourselves, but then they tell us to be ourselves!

The whole point of school is to teach us the skills we need to survive. But never are we taught the skills we actually need. Teachers never teach us about social injustice and racial supremacy, about sexism, healthy habits and relationships. Mental health is completely disregarded; you have depression? Social anxiety? So? Get up here and do a five minute presentation for the class. Learning disability? Who cares, answer this math question for everyone.

We’re taught that grades and GPA matter more than eating and sleeping habits. Teachers don’t care how much you’re eating and sleeping if your grades are dropping. The point I’m trying to express from this article is that schools need to focus less on the numbers that represent their students, and more on the humans behind them. Maddison Quinn adds that, “School would be a lot better if they cared about the well-being of their students, not just their grades.”