How Public School Students Should Be Educating Themselves

Photo by Eliabe Costa on Unsplash

We all know that modern public education is not sufficient. The system is broken, and it is not equipping our students for success in the modern business world.

It slows down the quick learners and speeds up the slower students.

It’s an assembly line.

The assembly line doesn’t adapt to the product; the product adapts to the assembly line.

Not only that, it’s not even teaching learners in general what they need to be learning. Financial responsibility, personal development, and communication skills, perhaps some of the most important things you can learn today, are all neglected.

If we really wanted to know when Christopher Columbus sailed to America, it takes five seconds to find out.

The average child when spend 15,210 hours in school, excluding homework or college. The 10,000-hour theory states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice in order to become elite at the skill that you are developing.

I would have to say that our children are elite at conforming and avoiding any forms of learning. School has drawn the line between work and play, learning and fun.

The reason it hasn’t changed in so long, however, is because it’s not an easy fix.

A personalized education is difficult to achieve.

However, if a student truly wants a personalized education for himself, he will get it. He will not sit around and just complain about how the education system is broken on social media, regardless of whether it is or not.

He will educate himself in his spare time, and take full advantage of his school’s resources, even if it means taking a bit of a hit in his GPA.

We often learn from colonial history about famous politicians or statesmen that studied at college or traveled abroad at a ridiculously young age. They weren’t all born geniuses. They simply spent all of their free time educating themselves.

Who knows what heights they could have reached if they had the Internet?

The resources we have for a personalized education are unlimited, but we’re not taking advantage of them. Granted, no student has that much free time in our current system, so our schools do limit us to a point.

What, then, should a high school student be doing to better educate himself?

With all of the homework assignments and projects, how does one find the time?

It isn’t easy. I’d like to share with you a couple of things that I do, and maybe you’ll feel inspired to come up with some methods of your own.

My first method which should be adopted by all students is reading. If nothing else, reading is the best form of education. I find time for books by including them in my morning and evening routines. I read when I wake up and before I go to bed. It’s usually only for ten minutes, but it’s the consistency that matters. Everyone can find time for books.

I also challenge myself academically at the private school I attend. The student-teacher ratio at the private school is quite low, so this is easier for me than others.

Not only do I take optional courses offered to me, but I also don’t do the bare minimum to pass my courses. If I am given an assignment, I will do that assignment to the best of my ability.

Even if you don’t like the system, it’s a good character trait to get into the mindset at excelling at whatever you do.

If you get into the mindset of “just passing” in school, you will continue to “just pass” through life.

In the modern era, people underestimate the power of the Internet. It can be used in a lot of negative ways, and many hours are wasted staring at a screen. However, websites like YouTube are very powerful learning resources, and I take full advantage of them. You can use the Internet to teach yourself anything if you are devoted to learning.

How do you find time for all of this? You can make time.

If you are finding two hours in your day for Destiny 2 and Overwatch, you can find at least a half hour for personal learning.

You may have to reduce gaming time, and you may have to start waking up earlier.

You may have to stop scrolling through your Facebook feed and texting your friends.

If you truly want something, you will get it. No excuses. No questions asked.

If the system is flawed, what does a perfect system look like? I do not know, but I do know some steps that I think the public schools should be taking to reach a personalized education. I do not know how long this will take, but I do believe that it will happen.

First off, we need more teachers that know how to teach; not lecture, but teach. Students should be able to refer to their teacher as their mentor. A lower teacher-student ratio will result in an emotional investment between the teacher and the student.

The goal will not be to get good grades, but simply to learn.

Whether the teacher is teaching the student, the students are teaching each other, or the student is teaching the teacher, the classroom needs to be a learning environment, not a lecture hall.

As mentioned earlier, technology must take over in the classroom. This sounds scary to some, but it needs to happen in order to achieve a personal education. Our country’s public education system should be taking full advantage of the opportunity that technology has to offer. The laptop should replace the textbook, but not the teacher.

In the meantime, you will have to take your education into your own hands. It’s unfortunate, but completely doable at the same time.

And when you graduate, push for education reformations to give you children a brighter future.

“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” — Ecclesiastes 9:10