Throughout my soon-ending school experience, I always thought that getting good grades was the only way to learn. I hadn’t had trouble with that until 2012, the year I became a University student. My grades dropped, I started failing subjects, my scholarship was reduced and, consequently, I had a personal crisis. It seemed obvious to me that I was becoming a failure and my life would suck forever because I just couldn’t get my average to what I wanted. My brain was going into shock and I couldn’t soak in any knowledge. I can summarize said experience with this song:
Many students believe that their grades define who they are and who they will become. If you have good grades you’ll be successful and get a good job, if they aren’t you suck. Thus, “I Must Impress My Professor” becomes a hymn.
It wasn’t until less than a year ago that I started seeing things differently. I started loving my degree and my subjects, I began feeling happy about myself and what I had accomplished. Who cares about grades when I have so much more to offer? I clearly remember a few months ago when I called my mum and told her “I think I’m finally getting the hang of school”. She laughed and said “Well, better late than never!”. It literally took me 19 years to understand what school was all about, or at least what it should be about.
A huge part of this change of mind I had, I owe to Ken Bauer and every other teacher that focused on helping students learn instead of showing off and acting as a deity. It’s because of you that I understood that everyone has their own learning process and it’s OK to take longer to understand something and it’s OK not to be as fast or as optimal as someone else. You are your own standard and your own competition. To all of you, thank you.
To all of the teachers and educators that read me, I believe it’s time to change things. It’s unfair to have the exact same expectations from every person, the situation worsens even more when we talk about children. Do we really want robots who are able to shout at the top of their lungs the right answer for every math and logic problem? Or do we want conscious citizens that change things and innovate towards building a better world? We need to help them discover what they’re passionate about and let them evolve in whatever area they want to.
To parents out there, your little girl can use tools and play in the mud, your little boy can learn how to cook and play with dolls; none of those things will take their femininity or masculinity away. They’re kids, that doesn’t matter to them and it shouldn’t matter to you either. The worst thing you can do as a parent is limit your child’s hopes and dreams. Pink is not just for girls, blue is not just for boys.
And finally, to all students and regular people out there, dare yourself to learn. Try new methods, do new things, learn from every single breath you take; I promise it’s worth it.