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People Explain How School Failed Them

Knowable

At around age 5 or 6, we begin to attend school.

On a personal level, that is the day that we begin to make years-long friends, develop interests, grow more comfortable with adults, and learn how to function in society.

But if we take a bird's eye view, that is the day we become one individual student shepherded through a massive, complex, and influential institution.


Whichever country someone lives in, the Education System is profoundly important. And it is very likely full of flaws as well.

Creating a common system meant to educated millions of complex human beings that all arise from different biological, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds is extremely difficult and almost impossible to not be reductive.

Some Redditors shared how their school systems' flaws impacted their lives personally.

Wingless_Draco asked, "How did school fail you?"

Extrinsic Motivation 

"By the time I got out of elementary school I'd gone from a smart kid who was wide-eyed and in love with learning to a kid who just wanted to get easy A's, be done with school, and play video games all day."

"I've found that in general the US public schools accomplish the remarkable feat of sucking the love of learning out of children."

-- ParkityParkPark

Glossing Over the Big Ones

Mostly in English. It did shock my college professors when I genuinely asked, 'How do you write an essay?', 'What is/How do you do a citation?', and 'What's a Shakespeare?'" -- SonicXE21

"I thought I was the only one completely flabbergasted by how you write an essay. Like 'Intro middle conclusion' is not helpful." -- nerdprincess73

Setting the Wrong Tone

"Made EVERYTHING fun not fun, and told me I was stupid. I've spent the last decade rediscovering how cool all the things that school made shi**y are (e.g. all sports, all learning, languages, math, art, dancing, socializing, etc, etc)."

"So much time wasted not having fun and learning everything. Also the message school gave me, directly or indirectly, was that I was fundamentally not an intelligent person and therefore should maybe not try do things reserved for smarter folks."

"I carried this for most of my life, until at some point in the last few years I started to figure out that I'm actually not (at least not entirely) an idiot."

"This has really opened up the possibilities for me and I feel like I've come alive. I'm chasing med school now and while it is killer, I'm crushing it."

"How would I have lived the last 10 years if I hadn't been operating under the assumption that my potentially was extremely limited?"

"A lot of people really loved school, but for me it robbed me of not only the time I spent there (which was a nightmare, and anything of any significance that I learnt was from somewhere else or self taught) but also much of the value of the years afterwards."

"One of the reasons that I don't want kids is because I don't want to have to put them through that."

-- Throwaway2536476756

Bureaucratic Realities

"Cut the funding to the point we had no electives and that we had to have the least experienced teachers."

"Our principal was forced to retire in shame because he was trying to help our school."

-- illogicalfuturity

A Relentless Emphasis on Results

"School didn't teach me to try and get better at anything. They just taught us to separate the kids that were good at something from the kids that weren't and then move on."

"Take gym class for example. If we were in the basketball unit we were all just thrown together and the kids that were already good at basketball just destroyed kids like me and I didn't even want to try anymore."

"Do you think that taught me a healthy love of competition? Or that if I worked hard I could get better at something? No. It just reinforced the idea that they were good at it, I was bad at it and that was the way it is."

"Imagine if instead I had been shown how to dribble or shoot, I had my technique adjusted by someone and been allowed to practice, practice, practice."

"By the end I might not be as good as the jock kids but at least I went from not even being able to dribble to being able to. I would have been shown that with hard work and practice I could at least get better at something."

"Unfortunately that never happened and to this day if I'm not immediately good at something I have to fight really hard to not want to just quit."

-- Cheese464

An Ironically Named Policy 

"Thanks to the 'no child left behind' bill, school didn't even try to help some of the struggling students. It was up to the teacher/administration to help the struggling student which was rare."

"All the school did was move students along and force them to learn useless info for the standardized testing that none of the students have studied/prepared for."

-- Cheetodude625

What Could Have Been...

"I have a mental disorder making it difficult for me to do computational math in my head, but I grasp conceptual math very well. In school I was driven away from the mathematics world because 'you won't have a calculator in college/the real world.'"

"Had I not been I probably would have pursued a 'proper' higher education, and not gone for an art degree."

"Don't get me wrong, I like my current field, but I think I would have gotten more out of life had I not been pushed away & had ended up as an architect, engineer, or physicist."

-- PFreeman008

The Real Lessons

"It taught me that what mattered were scores and that relationships were things that happened to you. That my humanity was entirely dependent on people with no investment in my success or lack thereof."

"It taught me that nothing was fun and that I always need to be ashamed. At least, that I did learn there."

"Also it failed to teach me how to inflate my resume. I had to learn to polish that turd on my own."

-- Electronic_Ad5481

Not a Sure Thing

"They lied to me and said college would be able to place me in a job afterwards." -- Beginning-Smoke-5965

"I think it's partially because teachers and school staff have never been exposed to the outside world. They go from school, to more school (college), back into the school setting."

"They have no idea what the real world actually looks like. Maybe they worked a retail or fast food job in HS/college, but 90% of their life experience exists within a school building. And these are the people who prepare our children for 'life.'" -- iforgottowearpants

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