We have been doing it wrong… at least I seem to think so. After listening to Logan LaPlante’s TED talk and reading Bud Hunt’s blog post, I have come to the conclusion that somewhere along the line, we missed the mark. Or maybe the lines got a bit skewed.
Now you must understand, I don’t mean “we” as in just us teachers (or future teachers). I mean we as in a society. At some point, school became more about ensuring our kids were being entertained, educated, and could get a slip of paper in the end. We pile on the homework, eliminate the playtime, and mold each child to think in the way that will “best benefit society!” Wrong. Instead we have young children being medicated for the inability to sit still for 8 hours at a time. We have test scores that are constantly fluctuating, underpaid teachers that teach only to the test because they are being forced to teach material they don’t want to, and parents who often take the child’s side over the teachers any day. We push kids to know what they want to be, who they want to be, and where they want to go before we even trust them to buy lottery tickets or consume “adult beverages”. Something about that whole scenario just feels wrong to me.
As I listened to Logan, at only 13 years old, speak of the school system and the lack of emphasis on happiness and health, I was intrigued. Then as he spoke of his education and the “hackschooling” he does, I was nearly motivated enough to quit college and pursue what this kid was! Then it hit me, I could. What Logan is pursuing is happiness. As cliché as this sounds, I wasn’t eager to pursue the world of skiing and all the other things he was. I wanted to pursue happiness, the freedom to choose my education. We are blindsided into believing that is what college is for. In reality I am paying thousands of dollars to take multiple classes in which I have absolutely no interest in, pursuing a degree program in hopes that it will land me a job in my chosen field, and all the while spending four years behind a computer screen. My college life looks something like too much time spent on hundreds of assignments, way too little time spent reading textbooks that I paid too much for, and trying to maintain a social life that doesn’t revolve around my mental breakdowns and all-nighter study habits. More than anything, I want to be happy and healthy.
Linking this to the blog post I read of Bud Hunt’s, I believe we need to start pushing for three things in the lives of our children and students. Make, Play, Hack. What a wonderful idea that we actually need the one thing we most often rob our children of… play. Not to mention we beg our students to be creative, yet squash even the slightest bit of creativity that isn’t “realistic”. How backwards! Just as both Logan and Bud have stated, we need to relearn how to “hack” our education. In this next several weeks I will be doing just that. I plan to hack my education in a way that brings me what I want most in life… joy. I hope you do as well.
Joy is a choice. I am making that choice.