Hradec nad Moravicí, CZECH REPUBLIC – After centuries of education being a rare privilege, we now live in a world where it feels common. But what once was desired is suddenly hated.
Getting an education at any level is not being seen as an opportunity to learn, but as a demand to memorize and study boring information.
Many might say that this is the students’ fault and our attitude must change. By ‘many,’ I mean adults who have forgotten what it feels like to be a child.
When I was about 10, my class met the character of Marie Theresa. Instead of the teacher telling us that this woman gave us – and previous generations – the opportunity to learn and get educated by law, to explore ourselves and meet others, our teacher gave a different story.
She told us something like, This is the person you will start hating if you don’t already. Marie Theresa made school attendance mandatory.’
Since we were so young back then, I think that my class would have acknowledged our privilege if only it were presented to us correctly.
But the fact that even teachers present school this way seems like an issue to me. Or at least a lost opportunity.
So in my opinion, it is mainly the teachers and even parents who should change their attitude.
I remember going into first grade being so excited to finally learn how to read. At age seven, it seemed to me that reading a book was the coolest thing anyone could ever do.
So how come I don’t have this feeling now again, with school less than a month away?
Kids are supposed to find their talents and passions in school, too. It is the place where we all should have the space to express ourselves.
But how can we express our true selves when the school only praises the ones who are amazing at all subjects and looks down on the ones who excel at only a certain subject?
Instead of the school encouraging us to express who we really are, it suppresses it. It makes us aim to be the best at everything, to study for long hours and therefore leaves us no time to invest in doing what we enjoy or are good at.
Instead of having our weekends free, we study and study, for we are reminded on a daily basis that it does not matter if we are good at English, until we are the best at physics, too.
Schools are like factories that focus on producing only one identical product.
And even though I think it’s the system and society who should change their attitudes, if young people want to change the world, we have to begin with ourselves.
So let’s at least try to view school as an opportunity, rather than a nightmare.
Viktorie Goldmannová is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International. She wrote the text of this piece.
Parnian Shahsavary is a Senior Illustrator with Youth Journalism International. She drew the illustration of Marie Theresa.