School is the worst years of your life

Michael Carr-Gregg has a thoughtful piece — Making
Schools more Boy–Friendly
— in The
Age
this morning. I value Carr-Gregg’s ten suggestions. I note that most
of them apply equally to girls. Perhaps he could have titled it “Making schools
more student–friendly.”

Back in the mid 80s, while I was studying a post graduate course in education,
I did some research into the Quality of School Life at a girls’ school. I asked
students a number of open ended questions to which I received a broad range
of responses. Here’s a sample:

  • At school you should always feel that the teachers are there to benefit you,
    not the other way around.
  • At school you always have plenty of chance to get homework, get yelled at,
    get detension (sic) and feel like your in prison.
  • First and foremost school should help you to face up to the things that really
    happen in life.
  • You should be able to feel that you are a special individual with certain
    rights and you should be able to express what you feel about certain subjects
    without feeling imbarred (sic) or foolish as some teachers make you out to be.
  • At school you do feel that school is the worst years of your life, you are
    utterly stupid, your mother doesn’t love you.
  • At school you do feel that sometimes you could commit suicide because you
    hate it so much.
  • At school you do feel that not matter how hard you try, you’re always not
    good enough.
  • At school you do feel your time is being wasted, totally bored and that you
    would rather be doing something else somewhere else.
  • Above all else school does help you to – school doesn’t really help me to
    do anything really
  • You should be able to feel teachers are your friends
  • You should be able to feel you are wanted
  • First and foremost, school should help you to learn about the real world,
    not what they teach you in advanced maths classes.
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