I have never enjoyed math, yet that class does have an undeniable beauty. There is one right answer that is clearly defined and infinite wrong answers. Math is largely self taught, with the student deciding whether or not to go online and learn math or whether to leave it to class. To me, this kind of subject is missed in the age of over teaching.
Throughout high school I have found “over teaching” to rear its ugly head in classes like english, art and often times history. Over teaching occurs when the teacher refuses to let go of a curriculum or syllabus. Instead of an english teacher teaching kids how to write an essay, they teach kids how to write like them – seeking praise and admiration by teenagers. Instead of an art teacher teaching students how to draw, they teach them that in order to get an A, you must recreate my drawing style perfectly. Instead of history teachers creating a class that is accepting of all ideas from everyone, they accept only the ideas that subscribe to their syllabus.
I was reflecting on the subjectivity of the grading with one of my friends and he told me that what I was saying was hard to listen to. He said it sounded like a spoiled little boy complaining about a grade he got. Although I am certainly one to complain about a bad grade, this topic is slightly different. The way subjective grading hurts people is by killing creativity. The whole idea of creativity is based around whether or not you can teach yourself. At my old school, their slogan was to create lifelong learners. The skills needed to be a lifelong learner and the skills needed to get a 4.0 are mutually exclusive.
If left alone in the wild with the task of finding your way home, you would do all that was in you power to create plans to get home. When building your raft by hand so you can cross a river, you would not be harking back at your public school education asking yourself whether you would get an A on it. You also wouldn’t be wonder what Ms. Hill thought of it. Instead, you would be working very hard to create, invent, and plan ways to solve your issue – with no energy spent trying to gain external praise.
When starting a business, creative thinkers do not come up with a business plan and then call up their english teacher to ask whether or not the plan’s thesis correlated nicely with the conclusion paragraph. If that was a case, then our teachers would be the wisest people in all the land.
I am not dissing teachers. What they do is crucial and important. But many students often times correlate wisdom and intelligence with getting a good grade.This is a facile way of thinking. In any class, a 6th grader would be able to get a better grade than a high schooler if they are liked by the teacher or aware of the teacher’s writing style or teaching style. Except for math class and most of science class, all teaching is subjective where good grades go to those who know how to get them – a talent in no way linked to the creative mindset.
I truly hope this does not sound like a privileged kid complaining about a grade they got in a class. Yet if it is, please remember that this very blog that thousands of people read each month is a product of a bad grade. When I started this blog last year, I began it after getting the lowest grade in the class on a journalism assignment. Deciding that I would like to be the one that edited my own writing, I started a blog where I would be able to publish my own thoughts, free from arbitrary rating system.
At times, school’s grading can spark creativity – just not in the ways schools hope they do.