What’s the point of school?

The aged-old question. I’m asking the reason behind high school: that dreaded developmental decade.

Simply, being a teenager is tough. We all know the story; your body changes, parts get bigger sooner than others. Plus you’ve got all this un-channelled energy, new thoughts and questions about your world, coupled with the unbelievable ability to (un)intelligently hold any argument.

THEN. Then, there’s school. Public schooling could have up to one thousand people going through this phase and more. And yet, the State expects this same naturally troubled youth to remember their English assignment, their Geography assignment and nine other subjects’ assignments and deadlines.

I find this unfair. And I’m well out of my teenage years. As unfair as it is, it’s not going to change. The workload and life-load will stay the same. Students will be expected to perform regardless of the happenings of life. If this is the condition teenagers are in, why do we place the added responsibility of school?

I often keep this in mind when I meet my students for their 7th lesson of their day. I remember that I am the 7th voice they’ve heard. I remember that they are tired. I remember that they are just thinking about going home or going to break – just getting out of the classroom. All their unchallenged energy and new questions of their world takes precedence to the poem I’m teaching.

I have to remember this, because if I assume I deserve their attention, just because…I will fail miserably in my lesson.

The point of school? Perhaps this is to teach our youth that at your most vulnerable and confused phase of life, when your body is its strongest, your mind developing and your attitude to this world is being carved – that’s when life throws you the biggest bag of lemons, day in and day out. When you are on your knees, Life sends you an unfairly batch of sand somewhat aimed at your eyes. The point of school? Life isn’t fair. And yet you have to overcome all of it.

Students: take those lemons and have some non-alcoholic tequila.