By: Hilda Kolawole
I didn’t want to write this article because I had no motivation. Well, that’s not true, this article will be graded, and that grade will determine whether or not I pass this class. So I guess I do have motivation: passing this class, and that’s enough for me. It seems this is the category most students fall under and the only driving force between caring and not is a passing grade. According to Union College Educational Studies, “the current U.S. student has become an unmotivated apathetic individual with a lack of interest, goals, and determination to succeed in the academic curriculum”. However, what’s to say that we’re not products of the system, years of being force fed information and asked to regurgitate it at a moment’s notice have left us broken, unable to feel true educational bliss. The joy of learning has been ripped from our number two pencil holding fingertips and replaced with tips on how to pass standardized tests that are curved so hard it’s impossible to tell who truly understands the material.
Socially deemed “smart kids” say that they care about the general concept of learning and they enjoy education, but they dislike the fact that the grades they make in high school will determine the rest of their life or at least the college they get into. Students I’ve talked to say they feel “screwed by the system” and as a form of retaliation they spend periods of time not doing their work only to come back to their senses and bow to the system’s crippling power over them. One look at social media and it’s clear that students are tired; between jobs, sports and attempting to have a social life sometimes there’s not enough time or energy to care.
Another part of the problem seems to be technolgy. This supposed educational aid has now become education’s biggest opponent. Teachers fight to keep the attention of their students against pocket sized laptops that are making it almost impossible for kids to focus in class. Phones and the internet causes student attention spans to dwindle and often completely disappear. If the true cause for student apathy is easy access to technology, how do we solve the problem, how do you defeat an enemy that is virtually everywhere?
When I spoke to other students, they blamed the structure of school for their apathy. School gives them depression and anxiety, between low self-esteem and social conflicts, school offers them no benefits. These students do not feel like they receive adequate help when they have problems in class, or they get called on by teachers whose goal is to ridicule them. At this point in their educational career some kids are just done with the nonsense, hence their apathy. It doesn’t help that we’re waking up at ungodly hours of the morning, and up before the sun. Tired, bleary eyed, belligerent kids don’t make for the best students.