Confession: I am currently in graduate school and I am biased for education.
Why am I biased for education? Because I am fully convicted that education shapes you more than most things in life. Education transforms your thought process, giving you new filters to see the world through. Education opens doors: whether by degree or by licensing or any form of training, the increase in knowledge opens doors for you to work, help others, get better at things, etc. Education makes for better leaders, better workers, better teachers, better employees, better bosses, and even better friends.
So maybe you think only one route of education is effective. Let me say this: I was home schooled from preschool through 7th grade. I went to a public middle school for 8th grade and public high school for grades 9-12 (shout out to my Alma Mater Baldwin High School in Pittsburgh, PA). I attended and graduated from a four year private Christian university (shout out to Ohio Valley University). I am currently a graduate student at Harding School of Theology. I have experienced home schooling, public education, and private education. Are there other forms of education I know very little about? Absolutely. Do I think those forms of education are useless? Absolutely not. Any acquisition of knowledge (even knowledge you disagree with) is well worth the acquisition.
The only time I remember trying to just get by in grades was while I was home schooled for grades 6-7. Something just did not connect anymore for me. So onto public school I went. And my life radically changed. I loved competing for grades – yes I loved taking tests cause I wanted to score higher than my friends. Maybe not the best method of learning, but hey, I am just being honest here.
Through public school I tried all sorts of things – I was in the 8th grade chorus as well as the 8th grade basketball team (if you must know, I am 5’5″, white, and overweight; I simply joined the team so I could have a jersey and feel what it’s like to be on a team). I joined clubs like Literary Guild (where we read books for fun and discussed them – an excellent idea, if I might add). I competed on the Forensics (Speech and Debate) team and the Mock Trial team. I say these things so you get this picture in mind: Education is not about test scores – it is about growth as a person.
I grew so much in my time in high school. The social skills you learn, the worldviews that are revealed to you, the life skills given by your teachers – all these things are invaluable to me. I was strongly affected by the teaching of my 12th grade history teacher. He used a phrase “PTG” (Play The Game) as a motto for life. Play the game of life without fear and without regret. Live life giving everything you have. That lesson alone was worth going to school for 12 years. I do not have time to tell of the effects of my economics teacher, Calculus teacher, or every single history teacher I had. But I hope you understand how deeply I have been shaped and changed because of education.
College had an even deeper effect on me – in college I changed as a person so incredibly much, I wonder how my friends in 9th grade would see me now. I will probably dedicate a blog post to college itself some time. But for now, let me say that higher education impacts your life with incredible knowledge and experiences. And after one semester of graduate school, I can tell you that this too will provide priceless knowledge and experience.
Are there problems with American public education? Yes. Are there problems with American private education? Yes. Are there problems with elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school? Yes. Does that mean you should avoid all of these? Definitely not!!
Teachers pour their lives into their work and into their students. Sure, not every teacher will impact every student. But if you as a student put the effort into each class you take, no matter the level of education, I will guarantee you will find some teachers and classes along the way that will shape you.
Would our world be a better place if more people cared about education? I truly believe so. In the practical sense, I know playing a game of soccer right after I eat a big meal is a really bad idea. I learned that from the experience. If someone just told me that, does it mean I would listen? No. However, if someone tells me that, plus I experience it, there are greater chances that the lesson will stick in my mind. We as the human race need to learn from our past experiences. We also need to learn from each other day to day in order to create a better future.
I’ll end my blog with this: I believe education is one of the greatest opportunities Americans have. I desire all people of every age all over the world to be given the chance to learn and grow. So many people are missing out on the opportunities and knowledge that you have right now. Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way; then go out and bless other people by implementing what you have learned.
May the dragons of life you face this week transform and shape you into a better person.