All of my children did well in school, but our one daughter was dubbed, “our braniac” because she outshined all her siblings academically. She was obsessed with doing her absolute best and being the top in her class. Her drive and competitive edge granted her Valedictorian in her high school graduating class, while holding two part time jobs! And then, she accepted an award for highest score in both Math and Science in her college graduation class, and all while attending college full time and working to help pay tuition.
One of my other daughters was quite the “social butterfly” and while she had the ability to get straight “A’s” in high school, she was completely content with a high “B” average. She was more interested (or at least as much interested) in enjoying her high school years as having the highest GPA among her peers.
I don’t know that the mindset of one of my daughters was any better than the other. I know our young people are expected to do well academically, excel in sports or other extracurricular activities and still remain active in their social life. And still there are those who need to work to keep gas in the car and money to buy extras, parents choose not to buy. As parents we are happy to see our children excel, while seemingly able to hold all other areas of their lives together!
What saddens me, however, is how students can be so set on getting the best score, but miss learning for the sheer joy of learning! There are even statistics that suggest our highest scoring students aren’t really “over academic achievers” after all! They have figured out the system and travel through the maze of learning without really “learning!” They are going through the motions but aren’t “transformed.”
And to make matters worse, the curriculum presented often doesn’t even offer quality preparation of life skills. The information presented is more about being able to pass a test! They navigate through their high school years without achieving the most important lessons that will enable them to live successful productive lives.
They then move on to college and are left wandering in a sea of “what happens next?” They’ve graduated from high school; are taking classes in college and still don’t have a clue what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Admittedly, courses of lives change, and so majors will also, but the confusion dealt with, and money spent on classes no longer relevant, can be staggering!
If this is how education is today, how does it compare for those students who graduated twenty, thirty or forty years ago? Did you have any idea what you wanted from life when you graduated high school? Were you a “top performer” and did your parents expect you to be? Are your expectations different for your children (or grandchildren) than your parent’s expectations when you went to school or college? Is our educational system in need of some kind of change? If so, where do you think the beginning should be?