Going To School To What? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was getting late. There I was, still in the process of cramming two pages of Spanish vocabulary words for the quiz. As my eyelids were getting very heavy, I thought, Oh well, it's only a quiz. I know most of the words already, plus I got a good grade on the last test. As long as I do okay on this quiz, it won't affect my average that much. Does this sound somewhat familiar?

It didn't occur to me that anything was wrong until the next day after school. As I overheard a five-year-old telling his mother proudly what he learned in school, I finally realized the problem. Yes, I did okay on the quiz and it didn't affect my average, but it also didn't add much to my brain. Most of us don't care how much we learn in school anymore. All we care about is what goes on our report cards and transcripts. It is not uncommon that a student forgets the material a few days after receiving an acceptable grade on a test. Does getting 85% really mean we understand 85% of the material? Or does the grade measure our short-term memory? I am not saying that we are not learning anything in school. The problem is that learning is no longer our priority. The definition of "school" in the dictionary is "an institution for teaching and learning." Yes, learning.

Although we, as students, are responsible for learning in the first place, it is not completely our fault we are so concerned with grades. The educational and grading system in today's schools heavily emphasisizes them. To be in this organization or maintain that office, you need a certain grade. To stay on an athletic team, you need at least some minimum grade. Get into an honors class? Better check your grades first. What is one of the major things colleges look at on your application? Grades. To make it even worse, some parents put pressure on their children. You got a C+? Why didn't you work a little harder and get a B-? With all these unending requests for this number and that letter, it is difficult for students to focus on learning. In some cases, grades can be a burden, cause of distress, or even discouragement. Remind yourself, your friends and siblings, and even your teachers and parents, that we are not going to school for a piece of paper with A's, B's, C's, D's, and F's on it. When our grades no longer reflect how much we actually learned, they mean nothing. Grades, grades, and grades! Maybe this is why a child in kindergarten returns home happy and learns something, while we feel stressed and tired. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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