“I think it was ninth grade, or maybe tenth, and I was sitting in after-school detention. I’d been sentenced to hard time for being late to class, even though I had a valid excuse. See, I was only late because I hated school with a burning passion. I dreaded every class, every assignment, every test, every worksheet, every mound of busywork, every shallow and forced interaction with peers I couldn’t relate to or connect with or understand; every moment, every second, every part, every inch of every aspect of my public educational experience. I hated it. I hated all of it. I was suffocating.”
"It Wasn't Until High School When I Started to Fail and then Fail Miserably"
These are the words of a popular online blogger by the name of Matt Welsh. Matt runs a very popular online blog, properly titled “The Matt Walsh Blog.” Reading deeper into this particular article, he describes a little more of his personality and feelings towards school. “It had been ten years of public school up to that point and it wasn’t getting better. It never would, and I knew it. I was able to hang on for a long time, managing adequate grades, even an ‘A’ here and there. I was “passing,” at the very least. But in high school that changed. I started failing and failing miserably. We’d take tests, I’d try my hardest, but often I’d still get zero answers correct. ZERO. Fifty questions — all wrong…..So there I was in detention. Stupid me. Lazy me. Disappointing me. The teacher assigned to guard duty tried to rope me into a conversation about my future….I thought about the one subject that actually came naturally to me: writing. I couldn’t pass a test about the rules of grammar or the parts of speech, but I could write….That’s when she dropped the bombshell: “Well, that sounds like an amazing goal, Matt. Get those grades up and go to college for a degree in creative writing!”
I have to go to college to do the one thing I’m kind of halfway good at doing? I have to finish high school and then go through FOUR MORE YEARS OF THIS? Impossible. I’m not college material. I’m not even high school material.”
Sorry for the long introduction, but it paints an image of the situation that many parents face. Their children don’t succeed in school and they are afraid that their child is bound for failure his entire life. As a parent, you might think “well maybe if we get him to college, he’ll find his passion their and then he’ll be OK” or “well once he gets to college maybe he’ll realize how important all of this is.” Chances are though, that won’t happen and all of a sudden your son has amassed upwards of $50,000 dollars of debt by age 25 and all he has to show for it is a diploma he probably won't use. You’ve heard the saying that “the numbers don’t lie,” and the numbers say that 1/3 of all college graduates end up with jobs that don’t require college degrees and only 27 percent of college graduates actually work in jobs related to their major.
What’s A Parent To Do?
When we start talking about what a mess the education system is (if you haven’t read into it, The New York Times tells a scary tale), people jump to the conclusion that you think education isn’t important. This is 100 percent false. Education is the foundation for success. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that most people like to learn about things that they are interested in. The trick might be to get your kid to turn off the television and pick up a book about a topic they are actually interested in.
Obviously, it’s easy to talk about the problems without identifying solutions. More and more, we’re seeing what the great Mark Cuban identifies as “branded schools” and says that “The competition from new forms of education is starting to appear. Particularly in the tech world. Online and physical classrooms are popping up everywhere. They respond to needs in the market. They work with local businesses to tailor the education to corporate needs. In essence assuring those who excel that they will get a job. All for far far less money than traditional schools.”
If your child isn’t responding well to traditional education options, don’t give up. Your child is capable of many great and wonderful things. You just need to help your son or daughter find what they’re passionate about and assist them in developing that into a skill that could help them in the future.