Words can not describe what it feels like to come from spending your day doing meaningful work, to then having to put effort in to something that will be completely wasted and never touched by a human.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a junior in high school. Tomorrow I have 10 one page essays due for a class of mine. Instead of doing them I decided to write about it.
The teacher whose class I’m writing these for teaches 6 periods of the same class. Being conservative, we can estimate that each class has 25 kids. That’s 1,500 pages he’ll grade by a week from now when the semester ends.
Now, I think it’s safe to say that he won’t be reading them. More likely he’ll have a teacher assistant check each page for length, and grade based upon completion.
But I’m not trying to single out this teacher. This is just an example of what has become the norm. Assignments that aren’t intellectually stimulating whatsoever, but instead exist to keep students busy and get points in the grade book with minimal time spent.
This makes me think of a great blog post I read a couple weeks ago. “I want to do work that people will care about,” sums it up perfectly. Assignments like these won’t benefit anyone, let alone the students themselves.
How can we allow students to find meaning in their education? I think we need to start by allowing them to spend time on things that matter.
If we teach kids that their work has no meaning then what happens when they’re no longer in school?