Thursday, March 2, 2017

From Eric Carle to Shakespeare...

    Let me be that person and just say it: we're lucky to have a great school system. Quit abusing it and use it to your benefit.
I have a brother in kindergarten. It's Love of Reading Week, and you should see his excitement - we already read together, but now even more so. At Alpine Elementary School, they have proposed that if the students read ten thousand books, Mr. Leone and Mr. Miller will sit in a dunk tank and The Cat in the Hat is coming for a visit, so it's everything right now. "Aba, can you please take a break from homework and read The Very Hungry Caterpillar with me again? Please??" He asks me this with such genuine desire that, without even thinking about it, I put aside my AP GOPO assignment and we read. Then another book to add to his daily total, of course!
The kids are genuinely excited. They're helping themselves by reaching towards higher level reading and thinking, but they don't dread it. We were once those kids as well. Why has the dynamic shifted as education becomes bigger? Some people I asked shrugged it off with the typical “it won't help me in the future” excuse. I tilted my head a little and nodded, but what was really running through my head was how? We're lucky enough to not know life without an education, but if we didn't have it, we would be eager for it. Make the time to read Malala Yousafzai’s book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban to discover the message I’m really trying to portray.
Yet when I asked another student, typically the more quiet one of my peers, why genuine effort in school diminishes in some students, she told me, "It's not that not everyone just doesn't care. At the end of the day, they do for one reason or another. But I think it's related to the fact that the grade matters more than the interest. A teacher won't base how hard I studied for a test to change my crappy grade. So we just kind of do it to get it done, to get the full credit, and hope for the best."
She does have a point. Our colleges aren't going to see the effort we put in, they'll just see the grade we end up with in the course. However, I still believe everything is in our control. Effort, as we've grown through the school system, has lessened when it shouldn't. Put in the time, and the test grade won’t be a crappy one. I hope, if anything, I teach my Jonathan to value the education he has and to use it to his benefit, to always keep trying in kindergarten and beyond. Put in the hours, put in the time to go to Academic Assistance, put in the effort. A mantra I like when it comes to education is, effort counts twice. When you work hard towards your goals, it counts when you fully understand the topic to take the test, then again when you get the ‘A’ grade you've been yearning for.
Education is more than just tests and confusion. It's furthering yourself. We all know hard work pays off, so let’s start to apply it. Read a book you genuinely like - there are SO many great ones. Talk to a grandparent or great aunt about how life was in their time. Explore the culture of a country you've been dying to go to, and learn some common terms. Look up a fun science experiment you can do right in your kitchen. Whatever it may be, incorporate education into daily activity and appreciate learning. Find yourself while gaining extra knowledge like we did when we were little and I promise you'll find a whole new calling.

My overeager best buddy ready to read.

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