By Summer Fonseca
As I sit down to tackle the pile of homework on my desk I grumble to myself, “What does it even matter? Why do I have to do this? What’s the point?”
The answer is simple really. It has been ingrained in every child since they were four or five. Any teacher, counselor, or parent will say, “Knowledge is the key to success”.
And in our world today, that really is the truth.
This is not the America of yesteryear where you could be a millionaire without even a fourth grade education. A high school diploma will barely get a kid fresh out of high school a job flipping burgers at minimum wage. The competition is ever fiercer as the years go on.
Even college graduates are having trouble finding jobs these days. And this is the world students today must fight to survive in.
It feels like the only way to be successful is to play the grades game. Get the A, get the 4.0 GPA. Get all the points you can, as long as you make the grade.
However, all of this focus on grades has a consequence.
You are far more likely to hear a student ask “How can I get my grade up?” than “How can I understand this concept?”
Unfortunately, the actual pursuit of knowledge has fallen by the wayside.
In the realm of social science, a more subjective couese, AP US History teacher Brady Clay noted that, “more frequent high stakes tests are less likely to lead to cultural literacy” in these subjects.
Students are not as concerned with the material; they care about the points, the tests, the scores.
“I am fairly anxious about maintain my good grades,” said Senior Rosie Nanz, 17.
This statement can apply to many students, including myself.
As a student in my senior year, I am constantly thinking about college, how I’ll get it and subsequently, how my grades are going to affect my entry. And I am as guilty as any in letting my actually acquisition of knowledge to fall. After taking a test, I will often be rid of the information I studied so hard in a manner of hours.
All hope is not lost, however. There are ways to regain the zeal for learning.
The first step is a change in attitude. Concentrate on mastering the material and the desired grade will likely be acquired if one becomes well versed in the actual lesson. Keeping focus can be difficult if it is perceived that the curriculum cannot be applied to one’s own life. This is why making a connection to the material that is learned is key to real learning. Be sure to ask: “How can I connect this to my life?”
Educators and their continued enthusiasm can be an aid because it creates an environment that facilitates discussion and interest. For example, in Jodi Robert’s AP Psychology course, the use of Socratic seminars gets students to explore and process the curriculum of that particular class.
“I like the Socratic Seminars because it is a chance for students to clarify the material. It helps me retain the information,” said Sophomore Becca Gross, 15.
By taking the education students at Escondido High School receive, by seeking out the truth of the world through knowledge, and by challenging themselves, they can become great forces in the world of tomorrow.