A few rants about schools

Manas Mulay
10 Feb 2018

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There I stood in the library, waiting for the book to be stamped and given to me. I was going to be the first person in school to be reading it. The FIRST!! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Luck can’t get better than that. I had wrestled another guy for possession of the book and sneaked out before class just to grab the book. This was the best part of my school life, frequent trips to the library for getting new books to read. This was in the fifth grade. I never had much interest in school. School bored me. The education didn’t provide much of a challenge to me then. I wasn’t a valedictorian but I did fairly well without much effort. I never paid much attention in class, my mind always wandering about, dreaming.

I think there exists a problem with our education system. Although people do scrape through school, the education system is not meant for everyone. It is not inclusive. There exists a fixed, authoritarian structure almost akin to a jail. I am not trying to say that I am not grateful for going to school, I wouldn’t be able to write as I do now, however, what I’m actually trying to get at is the fact that I feel schools siphon the creativity off children.

Observe any child below the age of 5 and you shall see a completely different world through his/her eyes. Recently, during a journey on a train, I made a good 5-year-old friend. His father was an English teacher, and the kid was quite intelligent for his age. I watched Harry Potter (the first) with both of them, and the kiddo really got excited, exclaiming with surprise every time something magical happened on screen.

What my random thoughts are trying to say, is that when we were kids, this was us, awed by even the simplest of things. Curiosity was the order of the day, and our mind was filled with a thousand questions. But something terrible happened to us and we became monotonous little gremlins, parading throughout the day, driving any thoughts away from us via constant input to our gray matter. Maybe it was the schooling we received; accept facts to be true without ever raising a single word. Try this, think of a single time when you were allowed to have an open debate with a teacher. Any time the teachers’ thoughts were questioned, they were met with hostility. I was even called crazy once for questioning an English teacher in school. I put up a fierce fight but understood that people’s closed-mindedness is not something I can change.

If you haven’t had a similar experience, then either you must have had great teachers, or you have never been quite curious. The latter is what I want to address. I think that today’s schools kill creativity and curiosity. There has been set a fixed pattern to succeed in school, but my friend, life’s not about patterns and closed boxes. You must try and get out of the groove you are stuck in, try to reinvent yourself, try to think. Because, in the end, they can take everything from us, not our dreams.

This reminds me of a quote I read, it goes thus,

“The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. -James A. Baldwin

Thus, my rant is about to come to an end. Schools have become these Orwellian institutions, these money churning behemoths that try to just churn out 9-5 robots, as that is what the industry demands. Every day I used to wake up in the morning and try to think of an excuse to not attend school. In my class 9th and 10th, I was the occasional truant and have received my fair share of scoldings from teachers. Yes, I’m in a great college just because I received a good education. You’ll get to know whether you’re academically inclined or not, however that’s most of what I discovered in school. It’s only after coming to college that I got to really delve into my interests and hobbies. Schools are a place to learn, yes, but they really must push forward other creative activities like reading, sketching, learning a new language, writing short stories, film-making / editing etc. Or maybe it was just my school that lacked the facilities and I feel thus. Many will agree and disagree on the above, but these are my own thoughts. And thus I end my random flow of thoughts with this line;

Schools! Psh! They teach you what to remember, not how to do it. It’s the ‘how’ factor that really matters.

Manas Mulay

Loves to read, write, talk, walk and randomly roam about cities. Also cinema and guitars and much more.

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