Dear teacher, may I have my dream back?

“Learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do.” ~ Seth Godin

Education makes an individual a better human being. I think it should be mandatory for everyone to go to grade school at the least. Besides the basic know how of the world, school also inculcate in us various invaluable traits; like discipline, team work, curiosity, analytical skills and many more. Being surrounded by teachers and fellow students makes us inquisitive about life and instill a desire to learn and grow. The experience is supposed to create the foundation of our life and make us who we become later in life. Schools are great.

Having said that let me clarify that what I want to talk about in this post is not how awesome schools are, but how ridiculous our education system is! Instead of doing what schools are supposed to, this is what’s happening – Schools are preparing students to be a future employee at an organization. In the process, they are helping build the students some important characteristics that their future employers would want them to have – obedience to rules, not questioning the authority, following instructions, following a defined pace, being easily trainable and such. So technically at the end of each school year, the result is not smart passionate young adults, it’s more like a batch of trainable zombies.

In the process of learning the employer-desired traits, what do we lose? The traits society needs to grow and become stronger, intellectually and culturally. Traits like awareness, commitment, honestly, independence, innovation, creativity, originality and many more on the same lines.

Schools are not doing a very good job of developing students’ minds. The exam patterns are based on the lower learned minds. The study material is the same for every student in the class. Money is wasted teaching geometry to students who will either quit school (because they were never taught commitment) or end up become a philosophy major (because that’s what they like to do). There is no way to customize curriculum per student’s interest and taking into consideration what he/she wants to do in future. Dreams are destroyed in the process of mass-production of future factory employees.   

Everyone in school is taught to play safe; because taking risks is scary. If 100% of us had followed that rule, innovation would have been long dead. Google, Apple, Facebook, Enterprise etc would have never been created. If every one of us had taken the ‘safe’ path of graduating college and taking up a nine to five job, there would be no start-ups, no self employment and we would all have given our future in the hands of our employers. 

I am not saying, don’t send your child to school. You definitely should. All I am trying to say is – that yes, in the long run we need a revolution to change the education system, but right now we can try to help the kids to analyze the options, tell them the truth and give them a chance to chase their passion. Take just one moment to think – what are you teaching your kid? To be a superstar trainable machine or… a passionate dreamer. The future is in your hands!

Further reading: Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin

2 thoughts on “Dear teacher, may I have my dream back?

  1. What you say is so true… but please don’t blame the teachers. So many of us get into education because we are passionate about learning… so many of us get bogged down in the requirements of a system that, as you say, is geared towards an assembly line approach to churning out reliable employees. There is nothing that turns a true teacher on more than seeing a student experience a light bulb moment… seeing a child take the reins and run with their own passion… but it is rare that such a moment is valued in an assessment driven world where knowing what 2+2 equals is more important than understanding why or where it can take us. And the one size fits all approach to education rejects the true meaning of the word – towards the light – not everyone is academically inclined, but not all learning needs to be ‘academic’. We should be allowed to teach children, not formulaic results driven mush, and while the answer may be in the enthusiasm and drive of individual teachers, change is in the hands of society at large.
    Great post by the way.

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