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I'm new around here. - schoolsux - 02-20-2015 12:56 PM

Hey, I'm Ed, a 13 year old trapped in a middle school in a very boring New-England style town in Central Ohio. I play bass clarinet for the school band, which is the only reason I have any motivation to go there. I found this site when I was looking up pranks to play on my teachers, who don't know what the fuck they are doing most of the time (most teachers, anyway).

I am a student who can get straight A's in advanced classes if I gave a shit about school. I liked it when I was a little kid. I was a conformist. Then around the start of 7th grade (the 2014-15 school year), I started to hate it, unlike most of my friends, who are conformists and love school. I started to see that school drilled useless shit into your mind, like sensory language and what trophic levels are. Like I will ever use that shit in the real world.

Teachers are like wardens. They make you stay in your cell (classroom). Students are unpaid labor. We students get our minds drilled with useless shit. We also have to go to school from 8:00am to 2:50pm (at my school), five days a week, nine months a year, for 12 years.

The teachers eliminate freedom of expression. I hate my science teacher, so I put an article on my website (since taken down) saying that he sucks. I got sent to the principal's office for saying that on my website and also posting my teacher rankings online.

RE: I'm new around here. - Aureate - 02-20-2015 02:08 PM

Welcome to School Survival. We can all identify with your unfortunately commonplace situation and all-too-familiar complaints.

As a junior in high school, I do not recall ever hearing of trophic levels, but then again, neither will you when you're 16.

I found it particularly ironic that you were reprimanded for ranking your teachers. They are payed tens of thousands of dollars yearly and showered with nationwide gratification for doing just that to you.

Similar injustices are outlined here. The list is a bit intense in presentation, but I think you'll appreciate the logic behind it.

Beyond acknowledging that we are in much the same boat, I can do little to help you, but I will offer a story and a recommendation.

Precisely halfway through ninth grade, I was engaged in a conversation with an eleventh grade classmate. He remarked somewhat offhandedly that he could not comprehend the incredible duration of his three remaining semesters; he wondered how I could even function with another seven still before me. I laughed and made some half-joking comment about taking it day-by-day, and the discussion ended.

I began to realize that his observation was weightier than he intended. I started measuring school weeks not relative to the time of my graduation, but relative to his position--only five semesters in. My friend had convinced me that my endless hours spent in quiet classrooms and crowded hallways were to be served not in one lethargic trudge, but in two. I would complete what felt like an eternity only to find another immediately before me.

Now, having finally arrived at that monumental landmark, with three semesters to go, I feel I can begin counting down the days again. But my friend, for all the discomfort he caused me, had not misled me. The time it took to reach this point was truly unimaginable, and I would struggle to proceed if were placed back in my ninth grade body, faced again with those four semesters.

Across the duration, my face changed. Time has rendered me noticeably older, and will continue to do so as I traverse my "second eternity." You are now only 13. You mention that you will someday have attended school from "8:00am to 2:50pm...five days a week, nine months a year, for 12 years." How long will it be before you arrive at the midpoint of freshman year in high school? How long then until you reach the 5-semester milestone of my old friend? How long then until you graduate? How will your face look when you're finally set free?

In reminding you of the ghastly magnitude of your schooling effort, I seek partly to unsettle you, but mostly to motivate you. The lengthiest interval awaits you; you would be wise to begin vying now for your release. Google "unschooling", and try to make the case to your parents. Read The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn. Even if you fail to be heard, I think you will find the said topic and book life-altering.

Good luck in whatever you do.

I'm new around here. - SoulRiser - 02-21-2015 02:38 AM

Welcome Smile

If you didn't have school, what would you rather be doing with that time?

I'm new around here. - xcriteria - 02-21-2015 12:18 PM

Welcome! How many of the people making arguments against archaic forms of schooling are you familiar with? There are so many, and more and more teachers are realizing that school-as-usual isn't helping a lot of students.

If you haven't seen Ken Robinson's various talks, for example, check them out. His 2010 talk, Changing Education Paradigms is a key one, and something to consider showing parents, teachers, admins, and other students.

If you're that unhappy with school (like most who find this site), I encourage learning about alternatives. Although parents are often locked into school-as-usual being the path to success in life, there are many other options, and I'm interested in helping people learn about them. The North Star / Liberated Learners model originated by Ken Danford and a fellow teacher is one of the most promising options I've found. I highly recommend watching his TEDx talk, School is optional: Ken Danford at TEDxAmherstCollege.

There are several documentaries coming out that explore issues with school-as-usual as well as alternatives.

This teaser-trailer for Most Likely to Succeed juxtaposes students who are locked into thinking memorizing things for tests is what they should be focusing on, with a summary of the history of Prussian-drived, factory-model schooling:

MLTS Teaser: Vince

Another documentary coming out this year, and available as screenings, is Class Dismissed: A Film About Learning OUTSIDE of the Classroom. It follows a family that chooses to opt out of school, along with interviews with various advocates of homeschooling and learning beyond school in general.

The reality is, despite what so many people think, you can still get into many colleges -- from those who accept anyone, to MOST top-tier and Ivy League schools, without going through traditional schooling. There's a whole process for making college-friendly transcripts for those who opt out of school, and a range of consultants and programs who can help people do that. The key is spending your time actually learning, and developing yourself as an interesting person, as opposed to complying with grades while true learning takes a back seat.

At the same time, many people are questioning traditional college, and the world of higher education, like education in general, is experiencing a fair amount of disruption these days. The same kinds of content, experiences, and connections presented in college can happen in other ways... so it's worth exploring options, as well as the range of college programs out there, and figuring out what makes sense given who you are and your ideas about what kind of life you'd like to pursue.

The documentary Ivory Tower (trailer) is out now, and it addresses the disruption going on in higher ed.

These days, all of the basic content covered in school is available, for free, online, like through YouTube resources like Crash Course and Khan Academy, as well as in many other forms. Even if your goal (or your parents' goal) is preparing to take tests, like for selective college admission, there are always better ways to prepare if you're not learning effectively in school.

All of those things are just a taste of the criticism and disruption going on in education in the 21st century.

It's a very interesting time to be coming of age, and I hope more of the current set of students trapped in school can take steps to learn about it all and help change things for themselves and others, then in times past.

Anyway... again, welcome to School Survival, and let us know if there's anything we can do to help you figure out how to make sense of it all.