Is School a Nightmare? For Some It Truly Is

What Skills Do Young People Really Need?

Contemplation
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School Sucks for Some

You can talk to any group of young people and they all have different experiences of their school years. Some have a great time and find their school years an exciting time of learning, developing new skills in sport and the arts and finding their feet socially in relationships forming friendships that last for years and sometimes for a lifetime. While other young people stumble their way through and barely make it.

As a school counselor for 11 years or so it was clear to me that there are many unhappy young people who find school a battle ground and feel like square pegs in round holes. Difficulties with learning and struggles with mental health issues aside many young ones are often driven to despair socially and emotionally trying to fit it to normal school life.

Here in Australia the long summer holiday marked by the final of the Australian Tennis Open has come to an end and most students are preparing to return to school and some of course are starting for the very first time.

For many students the normal feelings of butterflies in the stomach last well into each term becoming so monstrous that they turn day after day and week after week into a hellish experience.

Many kids find school a real nightmare and there are varied reasons for this. It goes without saying that the bullying that happens frequently in schools is a constant cause of childhood and adolescent despair damaging self worth and sometimes resulting in the tragic death of young people.

Sometimes though it can simply be because the young person doesn't fit the system. This in itself can be a constant form of misery for a student. I mean when you think of it many school kids don't usually get to choose where they go to school, they just have to go because it's against the law for them not to. In the work force if you don't fit, you would either change to another section of the company you work for or find another job. Easier problem solved, perhaps but not so at school.

My children have grown up now and are long past their school years but for two of them they still can't drive past school without breaking into a cold sweat and shudder at the vivid reminder.

I can't help but wonder as I see young ones face another school year this year and notice some of their anxious faces just how many of them stand with fear and trepidation at the thought of another grueling academic experience, or another painfully awkward and often socially terrifying year at school.

A Need For Alternate Education

And I can't help but wonder if it may be time for a cataclysmic shift in our thinking and approach to the way that education is done. Perhaps an increase in individualized education providing alternate options for students who don't fit the system and can't learn in a standardized way.

Some senior high schools offer a variety of electives for students that offer educational opportunities such as computer skills; art, cooking, music, sewing; craft; furniture making and restoration; home and car maintenance and repairs etc etc but what if senior schools offered the same concept as that of community colleges with classes that prepare students for life beyond school such as marriage and parenthood; recognizing and managing depression and anxiety; running a home and managing a budget; understanding a mortgage and how to pay it off quicker; Human resources such as assertive skills and how to work in a team and how to address and manage conflict and communication in the workplace; effective communication and working through relationship issues; how to be a considerate, respectful contributing member of the community by volunteering and showing kindness to others.

These are just some ideas to cater for different students needs and lessen the anxiety, boredom and frustration that many students feel when not appropriately challenged or are forced to take a subject due to lack of variety and focus on academic subjects.

We need smart people who can run national budgets, fly aircraft to the moon, discover cures for cancer and schools that cater for the next generation of gifted individuals. But the majority of people worldwide are of average intelligence and rate in the normal percentile of the IQ data and will be at some stage of their lives married or in a relationship; have children; be employed in the workforce and be challenged to compete, communicate and manage conflict in the workplace.

Shouldn't schools by now in this enlightened age cease then to acknowledge that intellectual wisdom can only be measured by a scientific, mathematical, engineered, literate or artistic brain and not only recognize the issues at hand but attempt to dare I say overthrow archaic curriculum's and establish new far reaching into the future curriculum's that cater for different forms of intellectual smarts and make schools a better place for the majority not the elite.

Standardized education such as English, Maths and the sciences are most important but my point is, so to are mental health and well being; workplace survival management; marriage and family and parenthood skills that need to be taught and learned and used long into the future, and are just as necessary if not even more vital for the journey through life.








Motherhood - needs a detailed education.

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Comments 13 comments

YvetteParker profile image

YvetteParker 4 years ago from AUGUSTA, GA

I experienced this first hand during my oldest daughter's high school years. She often complained that school was boring. She was a good student academically; but her strengths and abilities were more technical/mechanical. She would have benefitted tremendously from an alternative education program geared for those students with more technical abilities than academic. I concur wholeheartedly with your hub. Thanks for being a voice for these students!


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Hi Yvette, thank you so much for your time and insightful comment.It meant a lot thanking me for being a voice for them. I do try to understand what young people need, it was a huge privilege working with them as a school counselor. But we mothers certainly know what our kid's go through at school and how the system can fail young ones like this. We have a couple of alternate senior schools like this in Australia but there needs to be many more set up to meet the demand.Really appreciate your imputt.


Rae Cross 4 years ago

You're spot-on with this Mary. As an ex-teacher I see our system is basically "one size fits all" & it just isn't working any more. More creative solutions need to be sought particularly to support those struggling with feelings of inadequacy, depression & suicidal thoughts & of course the proliferation of bullying!


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks so much Rae for your wise comments and for taking time to come bye for a read. It sounds like you no exactly what I mean, my hope is that together those of us who care can make a difference. Cheers


cheatlierepeat profile image

cheatlierepeat 4 years ago from Canada

Agree, my son struggles in reading and each year it gets worse for him. I fear for the future and higher grades. Thank god we haven't dealt with social issues, and hope we never have to. I feel sorry for kids, it's hard growing up.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thank you for your comment cheatllrepeat, your very kind to stop by. The pain that we as parents feel when we have children that struggle with learning is insurmountable at times isn't it?? And wouldn't it be better if we stop making kids feel inferior if they can't read too well and find alternate ways to encourage them to read/learn?

I hope you can make it through his school years OK, take care.


masmasika 4 years ago

I agree with your suggestions. There should be some alternatives to learning that will fit other students.

Great articles.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thank for dropping by & for your comment masmasika. I think many in education who care feel that there should be alternate way's to learn as we do...cheers


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Both my former husband and I had bad experiences in school even though he grew up in Texas and I grew up in Wisconsin. He in a large city, me in the country. Our experiences were different, but mostly negative. We decided we didn't want our child to go through the things we had and so even before she was born, we determined to home school when home school was still on the bleeding edge.

Home school isn't for all parents, but it is a viable alternative for many. It allows more versatility than either public or private school. It can be tailored to the student and the family. There are lot of places and ways children can learn social skills, most IMO are far superior to public or private school.

Some children are simply not social and nothing is going to make them so. All trying to force square children into a round hole is going to accomplish is a very unhappy child who will avoid social occasions once s/he has the power to do that.

Not everyone is the same. Forcing all children to ride the conveyor belt through school and receive the same processes and treatments as all other children is to suggest all "normal" humans are the same and require exactly the same treatment to turn out perfect. There are many examples of people who weren't "normal." Many of the people we hold in such high regard today were home schooled. While Albert Einstein was not home schooled, his instructors did label him as a failure from the get-go because he didn't fit in.

My daughter was home schooled from start to finish. She did spend a total of about 3 weeks in private and public schools so that she could see what other people her age had to go through and blessed the day her parents decided on home school, but otherwise she has been educated at home from birth.

I have several hubs on home schooling and I need to add more. Somehow doing is easier than writing about it.

My advice to parents would be to seriously consider home school, and I have written a home school questionaire hub to help parents decide if that is right for them.

I really believe home school would cut down on a lot of bullying and there would be fewer extreme reactions to bullying such as the mass shootings we hear about so often because no one steps in and puts an end to the bullying. Adults like to believe it's a natural part of growing up, but I can tell you it serves no good purpose and does far more harm than good. Home school is a great solution to so many problems if parents are up to it.

Great hub! It encourages parents to think about possible alternatives to assembly-line education. Voted you up, etc.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thank you so much Au fait, and I hear you I really do! Home schooling is definitely a great option for some families and the networking of the home schooling system is such an advantage these days...some parents worry that they won't be able to do it but most parents can understand the curriculum and teach kids at least until they reach their teenage years...and alternative schools do work for many...I guess my point is parents have to weigh up whether it's worth years of heartache if their child has been bullied or cannot learn according to the expected norms of education & that they should look around and research what the alternatives are for their child...thanks so much for your input & votes I really appreciate it as it is a topic of real concern to me...cheers


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

i think for some students really see school as boring and they hate it. i saw a lot of highschool students in my place who just go to school to extra money and just skip classes.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Uh huh yep that's how it is for some, bored & hate it. Over here in Australia school is compulsory and many kids skip classes daily or resent it so much they act out & make it hard for others to learn...many thanks for dropping by & commenting unknown...cheers


pringoooals profile image

pringoooals 4 years ago from Edinburgh

My daughter went to a new school last year and she was very lucky to find a group of very supportive people. But bullying was my main concern when relocating to a totally different environment. What you wrote is really wise and important. This really is a serious issue for young people stopping them from further development and not so easy to handle. When the problem is addressed and still the hope for improvement lost it's important to start to discuss the alternatives. Voted up!

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