What Has School Done For Me Lately?

When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute. – Simon Sinek

Treat [every employee] as if they are eventually going to be better than you.          James Altucher

I took a college biology class that the professor referred to as, “The biology class for people who are not going into biology.” In other words, “Most of you are probably bored out of your mind here, and I get that, so rather than wasting your time I have adapted the lessons to be more relatable to the real-world.” And well, it worked. Biology is awesome. I did not become a bio-major, far from it, but not a week goes by where I do not think of something that stems from that class.

I look at the world differently than I did before taking that class. That is something that can and should come from learning anything about any subject, but unfortunately rarely is:

Every biology class I had taken before that the teacher might as well have said, “Most of you are probably bored out of your mind here, and I get that because frankly I am too, so open your book up to chapter one and we’ll try to get through this as quickly as possible.” The result of all of those classes as a lot of wasted time. Plus I learned jack. I hate to give biology a bad rap though—that experience was roughly half of my time in high school.

You hear a lot about how schools are cutting art and music classes for the sake of math and science. But the worst part is that nobody ever explains to these kids why they should care about learning what they do not cut (biology, algebra, statistics).

You can put a kid in a classroom and beat algebra into him for seven hours a day, but if he does not understand why he should care about learning algebra in the first place, you should just stop wasting your breath, because his test scores are not going improve anyway. And even if they do, he is not going to remember much of the math in two months from now.

That part above where I said we should be happy to learn anything about anything at any time is completely missing from students in 5th through 12th grade, and probably most college students. Schools remove their curiosity early on. You know when a kid raises his hand and says, “Why should we care about learning all this? How does it relate to the real world?” Not one time was I in a class where a teacher gave a good answer. Usually they ignored the question or stumbled through something nobody remembered five minutes later. Probably because the teacher did not actually know. That is incredibly screwed up. The first lesson of every class ever taught should be called, Lesson 1: Why I Should Give a Shit About What is Taught in This Class.

To students, school is a game to see who can get the highest grades by putting in the least amount of work possible. You can try and convince me that, “No, school is about learning, becoming educated so you can go out into the real world and better society.” The flaw in that argument is that according to the almost 20 years I went to school, it is completely false.

So how do we fix it? Yes, many people will realize eventually that there is value in learning HTML code, regardless of whether or not you ever code a website, but why not explain this value to the students up front? Explain the why.

So even if you are afraid of math and science (a distaste you probably developed in school) you will enjoy and learn something from this video about physics: