This is an installment of Chris Yobb’s weekly column “My Two Cents.”
When I graduated from high school I realized that after all my years of schooling, I became extremely good at one thing: passing a test. This was great when I was still in high school. I was able to study for quizzes and tests and pass them with flying colors. However, soon after graduation it dawned on me that in the real world no one cares if you’re good at passing tests. People want to see you demonstrate your life skills, not your test-taking ability.
As an aspiring teacher, this worries me. The fact that most teachers’ main focus is essentially to teach students how to pass tests is a cause for concern. Let me explain:
With the introduction of so many state tests, teachers are now held to the standard of how well their students perform on said tests. This is not the teachers’ fault by any means. This is a flaw within American education that needs to be fixed before it is too late.
I have come across so many obstacles after high school that could have been prevented if I was taught, let’s call it, “adulthood knowledge” in school. Upon signing up for my first credit card, I saw that I had a 25 percent annual percentage rate, which sounded good to me. It turns out that it is not so good. An annual percentage rate has to do with loans.
A class in high school about teaching students essential life knowledge would be way more beneficial than the classes that are offered senior year. During a high school student’s senior year of high school, he or she is usually already accepted to a college, making many of their classes irrelevant. Why not offer a class that will teach them how to survive in the real world? Because believe it or not, there is more to life than being able to pass a test. After high school, students move out of their house and start to live on their own at college. Learning things like how to establish credit, do your taxes and even laundry is pretty important.
I am currently a history and secondary education major. Those extra math courses in high school are not helping me with anything I may encounter today. Not once have I have ever needed to know the slope of anything, nor have I had to find the radius or diameter of a circle, except when I was in the classroom. What I do need to know is how to budget my money properly and the importance of paying a bill on time.
When I have my own classroom I will dedicate time to teach outside the textbook. I encourage any teacher or aspiring teacher who is reading this to do the same. While I am not advocating to abandon the textbook completely, taking a little time out of the week to teach students how to survive after high school would be so helpful. I know I wish that I had that help while I was in school, and that’s why I plan on giving that help when I am able to in the future. These students are the future, so lets help pave the way and make it easier for them to succeed in their lives after school, not just on tests.
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