By: Tessa Rubino
Growing up as someone who has attended a public school for all of my education thus far, I have never really taken the time to observe how the education/school system could be improved. As I am currently a sophomore and have become wildly interested in topics such as race relations, general relations across ages, our own communities, and more, I am starting to notice poor issues that can be improved. I am here to discuss the ways our school/education system can be fixed through the creation of better relationships between the staff and students, replacing detention with meditation, talking about more real world events and our own lives, and getting rid of standardized testing.
Having an understanding of somebody with whom you are different from can allow you to comprehend why they may act a certain way or make certain choices. In school, I often find myself judging others for the jokes they make or the ways they act, without taking the time to realize why they do those things. As much as we do not want to admit it, this judging occurs between students and teachers, as well. This can evidently create a huge divide between students and their teachers. A student may be facing outside pressure to be a certain way, and school could be their only place to express themselves. By a teacher actively listening and responding to a student’s opinions, they show an interest in their kids, encouraging them to continue expressing themselves.
Along with having an understanding for students, I believe teachers should intertwine real world topics to their lessons. It is so essential to discuss events that are happening in the world, especially in an appropriate and real way. This can help students comprehend the lesson more accurately, as it provides them with a connection in the real world. More specifically, I think we really need to have more discussion on diversity in history, and more accurate and open discussions in sex-education or health class. But, that’s a topic for another day. It is extremely salient to know what’s occurring outside of school, so you can apply it to your education. Not only that, but it is just flat out good to know the events that our happening around us, because they may have an impact on you or your life.
Standardized tests are a way to see how a school overall is doing. This is a good way (in theory) to keep track of how much information we are absorbing, but the way it’s given to us makes it very difficult to apply what we’ve learned. In my experience of taking standardized tests, I found it extremely difficult to focus. Before I know it, time is running out and random answers are being circled. Thus, I believe that the results of these standardized tests are completely inaccurate. Also, when taking these tests, not all of a student’s’ effort and focus is present. A distraction, such as a death or break up, may have occurred earlier in a student’s week/day, or test anxiety may take over. In my opinion, having a young person sit down with a computer or thick packet for a specific time period, and answering questions on certain subjects, is not an accurate way to collect data of a student’s educational growth or comprehension. Very briefly remaining on the topic of tests, I believe that we should get rid of, or at least reduce, homework (unless it is crucial to our learning). For example, in my English class we are assigned independent reading every night. I find this to be good idea and something that has many benefits. But, in other classes, I would often receive busy work and things that I wouldn’t remember the next day. Homework should only be given out if it applies to the lesson we are being taught.
A few months go, I took notice that some schools were replacing detention with meditation. I thought this idea was so progressive and well thought out because meditation has several benefits. It helps self awareness, calms your mind when thinking about events, and improves your focus. These can all be applied to your school day. Meditation should replace detention because in detention all that kids do is sit in a room after school, for two irrelevant hours. They may have a discussion with their administrator about why they were sent to detention, but in the end, correcting bad habits and improving a student’s decision making is a challenge. In fact, detention may give that student a more negative outlook on school and staff because they aren’t given a fair chance to improve. For example, an elementary school in West Baltimore has created a ‘Mindful Moment Room’ where the students go in, and are encouraged to talk about why they are their, then are lead into deep breathing exercises and allowed to stretch and do yoga. Having a quiet and supportive environment to figure out your issues is a great way to realize your mistakes, or take a moment to figure out why you chose to display or act a certain way.
In conclusion, everything I have mentioned could and should be fixed at Hamden High. These changes would create a more open, trusting, and positive environment, especially for the students to come.