Why Students Are Skipping YOUR Class: Improving Teacher Practice from a Student’s Perspective

(A guest post from Trylyon Love, an Oakland public school student and energy converter)

A school is a place that we are supposed to be getting “educated.” If school is such a beneficial place for us, why are there so many students failing most of their classes? Why are students complaining every day about coming here?

Our teachers are teaching us unnecessary material that we don’t (and more than likely won’t) need on a daily basis or in our adulthood. Do I need to know square roots while going grocery shopping? Everyone doesn’t want to learn how to code! Teachers say that they want school to be fun and that they want us to come to school excited to learn, but with the stuff that they teach us, we aren’t really learning anything! Students aren’t going to be eager to come to school, they’re going to be eager to leave. I believe that teachers should be teaching us life skills.

Why So Many Students Skip Class:

We get bored just sitting in class being forced to work on an assignment that seems quite irrelevant to us. At my school, I believe that all of the students are intelligent, but they just choose not to do the work or to skip class because they don’t get what’s being taught in their classes. Much of what we learn is so disconnected from our lives. The watered down information from this history class will have zero bearing on my life if I’m living in poverty and don’t have the proper life skills to get me out.

Another reason some students are skipping is they aren’t getting the additional teacher support they need. Some of us fall behind and then just give up because we cannot see our way out of the hole. I have never been taught how to study. I am not talking about just memorizing a textbook, but really studying.

My final reason I think so many students skip class is due to the arrogance that some of our teachers show. There is always this attitude that because they’ve been young before that we have nothing to contribute.

While I appreciate and need the wisdom of my teachers, most of the ones I’ve dealt with are completely out of touch with my generation. It is different being a teenager than it was 10 to 30 years ago. We live in a new digital age that I was born in and many of my teachers have had to learn. Teachers must be OK asking us questions and allowing us to help inform what and how you teach us. However, if I know you’re going to just ignore me or write me off, plus the information is meaningless to me and I am not going to be engaged, why would I want to be in that classroom? Would you want to report to a job that felt that way EVERY SINGLE DAY?

However, I do have some ideas that I want educators to know. There are so many things I am worried about that I will need to know as an adult. Here are just a few that I constantly worry about:

Life Skills I’d Like to Learn:

I would like to know how to do taxes. I have no idea about that. I also know many adults that have to spend large amounts going to places like H&R Block.

I would love to know how to study. I need study skills! How do I take what you present and go beyond the pages of the textbook? If you can help me find deeper meaning through my reading and class time, I think it could be really beneficial for me as an adult.

I would also like to learn how to better deal with police and other higher authority figures. Not just police, but I want to learn how power in America works. Another skill I worry about is what to do when we’re in a troublesome situation that involves people of higher authorities. People are getting shot down by police. In my neighborhood, at some point, I will have to deal with police. It isn’t even a matter of if I am doing something wrong. They are just that big of a presence, and these are the times in which we are living.

What do you think?

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