o When we are 7 & 8, we practice ‘exam style’ questions for our end of First School exams.
o When we are 9 & 10, we do previous test papers to make sure we get the best grade possible in our Year 6 SATs.
o At 11, 12 & 13, we study for our end of Year 8 tests, and move from Middle school to College.
o Ages 14, 15 & 16 we are told to put our heads down and focus on our education, as our GCSE results will decide what job we will get.
And from what I’ve heard this pattern continues all the way through A Levels and University.
I have found that this kind of learning means that we (students) never get the chance to stop and ENJOY a subject or school. There are never lessons where the teacher asks us what we would like to know or find out, it seems they always very strictly follow the syllabus and re-outline the ‘path to success’, success being an A or A*.
I understand that examinations need to be carried out in order to see which students are needing extra support, and of course for jobs that require special skills they are required, but it can be quite overwhelming and stressful to base an entire 10-20 years of our life on what results we receive in a test.
For me, subjects like Science and Geography are fascinating, and I do love some of the topics we cover, but at the end of the lesson when the teacher says, ‘And now we’re going to do a GCSE style question’ and tells us that anything we learn is useless if we can’t structure it properly, can be quite an off-putting experience.
Not only does the constant build up to EXAMS DAY, or even results day affect the students, but the teachers too. You can tell that they are under a lot of pressure to ensure their pupils get the best grades possible, and again the actual joy of learning can very easily be lost in the process.
And what happens when we complete our final exam or take the last test? What do we work towards then? A family? A promotion? Retirement? I know that a life always in preparation for something and where I would never quite live in the moment, is not one that I want to lead… How are we ever going to feel content or joyful with how we live, or enjoy our relationships when we are looking and comparing ourselves to a result or outcome we ‘need’ to get? Is there a way of educating young people where they are allowed to open their minds up and explore what really interests them and supports them to lead a life fully engaged with the world today, rather than being given a linear step by step guide of what they need to achieve in order tick all the right ‘life goal’ boxes?
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.