School – How it shaped me?
Having gone to a traditional school, that insisted on exams being key and that science was the only stream of market worth, one of its major influence on me as a learner has been the discipline of learning. There was homework everyday, handwriting was crucial, monthly tests added to your term-end scores and ranks at the end of the year decided your learning. So, there was an inbuilt rigor to learn and stay ahead, to catch up with the masses. This is something that has definitely that I see now as an adult learner as well, where any learning comes with a sense of disciplined rigor.
While this next influence is not necessarily true to my K-12 schooling years, days in under-graduate and graduate courses have definitely made me an independent learner, one who is able to drive one’s own learning. I believe that we learn the best from bad teachers and, sad enough for me, both the Bachelor’s and the Master’s programs had a decent number of these. That resulted in me taking more control of my learning, using varied resources and learning means to educate myself, not depending on the set curriculum and prescribed teaching.
School would have been better if…
- it didn’t brand students as academic or sports-inclined early on. I definitely feel like a lot of non-curricular activities were kept from me because I fell into the ‘academic’ lot. I was subtly handed fliers to the next olympiad or Science exhibition, while the trials for volleyball team were scheduled and didn’t even reach my ears.
- it had more career-focused counselling. During my schooling, your career choices were driven by the elders in the family, whose choices were driven by their societal group. I wasn’t even presented choices of a career outside of engineering or medicine, in that specific order. What if I would have made a good lawyer? How does one become an environmental activist? What did one need to study to become a firefighter? Schools should have been the place to find these answers. Schools should have presented all available career choices, pros and cons, and the academic needs of these, instead of herding us into very canned career options. Audiologist, my swimming instructor was an audiologist!
- it addressed the social and mental needs of children. I do not remember ever seeing a counselor in school, no one that was your point if you were feeling lonely or had trouble at home worrying you. The schools definitely treated us as placid resources, with no internal whims, fancies and conflicts. The mental, emotional and the social aspects of growing up were never addressed.
Schools of today
My top priority for the schools of today is to help children find their true calling, again and again. Schools should provide sufficient resources and support for children to explore as many avenues as possible, and to go become the best audiologist that is out there.
Schools should be safe spaces where children’s confusions about the world, family, relationships, sexuality, politics, finance, and everything under the sun are discussed. It should be a haven that doesn’t necessarily have all the answers but definitely acts as a forum for children to voice their questions and benefit from the communal know-how.
The third important priority that I would place on schools of today is to help children become earth-conscious global citizens. In a capitalistic, selfish and profits-driven world, children need to bring back the humane, collaborative and earth-friendly side of man. Schools should challenge children to find solutions to the growing impact of humankind on the planet. Schools should encourage children to look beyond borders of country, race, language or religion for the greater good of our planet as a whole.