I remember in grade school being told that I could do anything. I really believed it. But then I was told to get in line and join the slow 12-year march to college. There was no more dreaming, there was no exposure to the hundreds, even thousands of career choices that are available to pursue. Just prepare yourself for college I was told!
Kids are far more capable of finding their interests early in life than we give them credit for. This notion that they shouldn’t be exploring specific career paths or trades until late in high school or into college is foolishness. We say that every kid is different. We encourage them to explore different books, authors, colors, who they become friends with, what sports to play, music to listen to but not what type of work they would like to do.
So what do you think it’s like for the millions of students out there when they are considering what field to go into or where they should learn? Nobody wants to be alone during such an important time. If you are a teacher, parent or mentor, be the one that encourages students that they can succeed outside of institutional paths.
Elementary, middle and high school teachers don’t get paid a lot of money, especially for the work they do and things they have to put up with. To top it off, schools are getting their funding cut all over the place, I believe because the education that is being given isn’t translating into real world results. So people pull their kids into private schools, charter schools or home school environments.
Additionally, could it be that because college is viewed as the place where students really learn how to make a living, they are the ones getting all the money? Colleges and universities are getting 2-3x the amount of money per student as public, middle and high school students. I think that’s crazy. Middle and high school teachers are more than capable of helping their students learn job-ready skills, especially assisted by the online learning revolution that is taking place. Do this and you change the system, and possibly rescue it from collapse. Do this and you will make a life-changing impact to countless students. Just think of Freida Joy Riley and how she treated Homer as an individual and encouraged him to pursue his passion.
One more thing, please help crush the vocational snobbery that looks down on people that make and repair things, or have what is considered a dirty job. I grew up in the still non-politically correct years and had teachers making fun of plumbers and garbage truck drivers. It’s not a coincidence that we now have a massive shortage of workers for trade jobs like these. It’s also ironic that these trade jobs now make more money than many teachers with masters degrees. The shaming our culture took part in was very effective.
There are many people working tirelessly to change our educational system and the existing mindset that simply does not serve most students. But it’s going to take a while to turn the ship around, so I want to encourage you to take your education into your own hands. Educate yourself, set higher standards, higher goals for yourself years before others expect you to reach them!
- Nicholas Wyman writes about in his most recent article which