I am aware of the fact that there are many other students that are motivated by the same idea. They want a transcript on steroids, loaded with APs while somehow achieving the impossible task of maintaining a perfect GPA. Some do put forth their best effort to do well and show what they can do when they challenge themselves, but others are known to cut corners. One of the most common practices I’ve noticed around the school is cheating on tests. Ultimately, it’s only the numbers that count, right? Oftentimes, this practice not only harms those who take part by robbing them of an opportunity to get to know the content better and refine their studying skills for future use, but it also hurts those who have worked hard prior to tests and papers, yet may receive a lower grade. Although this goes back to the numbers, which should not be the main focus of school, other students are still punished for the mistakes of one person or a group of people.
Many teachers — even the best willed — will fail to establish a human connection with their students because they can not overcome the rigid constraints of formal schooling. Grading, administration and test prep are all privileged ahead of students’ personal needs and preferences. The prevailing didactic model of direct instruction, in which the teacher lectures to students, is deeply impersonal and strips the classroom of its humanity by reducing children to passive consumers of knowledge.