On the education system as a preparation for life

School is no preparation for life.

I can only see two ways in which it prepares you. The first is that it makes you get up and leave the house every day. The second is that it puts you in close proximity to other people every day.

The academic system has conditioned me to expect a renewal in the autumn. At the very least I want new exercise books, crisp-leaved and un-sullied. On a less conscious level I expect my entire life and being to be raised to a new level, to gain more respect from those around me and to have more answers to the questions life poses.

Strangely that never happens. Instead the russet leaves and whorl-grained conkers herald the beginnings of seasonal affective disorder and the dull, cold and unforgiving winter.

While there are many jobs in which you are expected to take your work home with you, it is generally recognised as “a bad thing” in terms of work/life balance, health and wellbeing. School homework and coursework has reached a level where some children and teenagers cannot do all their work and maintain any leisure time. At my senior school 13-year-olds were expected to have 3 hours of homework each night, increasing as they went up the school to culminate in the GCSE years. Assuming a finishing time of 4, 45 min. travel time home and a bedtime of 9, the 13-year-old only has 1 hr. and 15 min. to eat dinner, interact with his/her family, undertake any household tasks and relax before it all begins again. Is it any wonder that mental health problems are on the increase when children are taught they have no time to rest, relax, socialize or even exercise?

School teaches you to conform with procedures and rules but most successful businesses are successful because they adopt new concepts and challenge old working habits.

The “cheating” that is so frowned on at school becomes “collaborative effort” in the workplace. If you can take what another business has done and build something new on the back of it (as long as it’s legal) everyone will applaud you.

In the world outside the maths lesson, no one wants to “see your working”. It doesn’t matter how you get results and in general people are more impressed by seeing the conclusion without the three pages of crossing out it took to get there!

I will concede that a lot of the things I learned at school are useful but the ways I was taught to think about them were not helpful.

BRRRRRRRING!

Got to go – that’s the bell for the end of lunch. Has anyone seen my timetable?

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One thought on “On the education system as a preparation for life

  1. Jon Andrews says:

    How true, though I don’t remember the GCSEs (we had O levels … ) On to university and it’s as much about groups you’re involved with and learning to get on with people and take responsibility that’s as important as academic work.
    Ho hum.
    Thanks for these thoughts in your blog.
    Jon.

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