I’m late to the party with this post in terms of SAT’s, they’ve been and gone… but my point with this is to do with education and exam stress, and the unnecessary pressure placed on children today. Which personally, I think is ridiculous. The title’s just got a good ring to it!
I know this will cause heated debate and disagreement with my teacher friends (as I proceed to rub them up the wrong way!), but I think in many cases the education system/schools are more concerned with results, reputation and ranking (marketing), than genuine development of pupils. Pressure is placed on teachers to churn out results, like corporate cutthroats. Children have got a letter above their head, in the same way as employees have a figure.
A few weeks ago the papers were full of stories about children feeling extreme exam pressure, children as young as 10 getting totally stressed out and nervous over SAT’s, thinking that if they didn’t achieve high marks it would set them up for failure in life, in life! I watched a programme the other day too, where a girl came out from a GCSE exam and had a full blown panic attack… crazy! Children shouldn’t know or feel this kind of pressure. Adults know (teachers know), that these exams are not the be all and end all. They are the basic foundations for future, but by no means do they define it!
This is exactly my point… this is what should be taught in school. Your exams are a foundation, they open doors, but as you go through life (live and learn), you’re likely to change your mind, thought processes, career goals, dreams and aspirations a hundred times! Unless your one of these annoying people who know what they want to be and do from day dot. Like my incredibly talented and clever friend Alison, who knew she wanted to be a marine biologist and work with great whites from being 5 years old, and guess what… she’s done exactly that and works/lives in South Africa studying, tagging and tracking sharks every day. However, most of us, like me for instance, don’t know. I’ve gone through the education system not really knowing what I wanted to do and recently jacked my job in to retrain and do something that I could’ve done without going to Uni. I don’t have any regrets with my degree, but I do have regrets not studying more creative subjects at college, which was what I enjoyed doing. Instead I chose subjects that I thought I should do to get on in life… business studies! Amongst other generalised subjects.
You spend a long time in education and then a bloody long time in employment… so how about promoting and encouraging children to do what they enjoy throughout school, FE, HE and beyond… if you love what you do, you’ll put your heart and soul into it, the pressure will be passion. Don’t pick something that you think you should do just because; everyone else is doing it, your parents say you should do it, you think it will lead to a ‘respectable career’. When it comes to options, subjects, projects and so on… simply pick the ones you enjoy doing!
This post doesn’t really sit well within any existing category on my blog, it’s more of a personal rant and airing of my views, as I so like to do! What I’ve seen in the news, on TV and reflecting on my own experiences in education, makes me want to go back in time and tell all of the above to my teenage self, challenge my teachers (which me being the gobby girl I am, I definitely would’ve done!), and most importantly tell children to stress less and enjoy carefree life more. Don’t stress the SAT’s, GCSE’s and so on… they aren’t the be all and end all, they won’t define you!
Do what you love. Love what you do.