Who fails at school, fails in life? On the contrary, our author believes. 5-piece students, she says, have a decisive lead over top performers.
There is this saying of Seneca, a Roman philosopher:
Not for school, but for life we learn.
For a long time, by far the biggest nonsense Seneca ever gave me! Because apart from elementary school stuff like reading, writing and arithmetic and a few things that I happen to be interested in and touch emotionally (eg that water at 4 degrees has the highest density), I have great difficulty remembering anything that I learned at school.
But: Maybe Seneca did not mean the subject, but the experiences we make in school . In this regard, schooling actually provides quite a bit of formative material, if only because of the fact that it overlaps with puberty, etc. Especially for those who sometimes go crazy …
What a 5 in the school really means
Certainly in the good ten years that I’m already out of school, gaaaanz much improved. But the basic principle will still be the same: adults will set their curricula, defining aspirations and expectations that students should parry . Those who live up to expectations will be rewarded with good grades, which are supposed to help later to get a great job and earn a lot of money (muahahaha, of course!). Pupils who do not live up to expectations, along with their 5, get a great chance to make (at least) two vital experiences :
- That nothing bad happens when they do not meet other people’s expectations.
- That they are – in the literal sense – deficient.
Seriously: Those are probably the key experiences par excellence! Anyone who already understands these two things as a child or adolescent, has something crucial ahead of everyone else. And that’s much more important than the ability to compute integrals or assign poems to their epochs. For while one forgets integral calculus over time and never needs it again in everyday life, the realization that in life it is not a question of fulfilling strange expectations is a prerequisite to go your own way . And the acceptance and recognition of your own shortcomings and weaknesses is the basis for self-confidence . Who cares about the characteristics of romance …?
The big catch …
Small problem: In practice, this is not so easy . Partly because parents, teachers and our whole performance-oriented society are putting children under pressure instead of building them up. Or because with a “Poor” in German and a math or a “Poor” too much even the exclusion from the class community threatens. This makes school grades, certificates and grades something far more important and important than they really are .
Also, some adults in the discussions about the “Fridays for Future” protests seriously criticize the students for a good cause !! – going to the streets instead of sitting in school shows that something in their perception is sitting quite across the board. Obviously, these people, like me in the past, completely misunderstood Seneca …
Poor is human
Unfortunately, it is difficult or even impossible for children to doubt what adults tell them to do . Many students therefore believe that they are failures if they do not grasp math and lose the chance of the above key experiences. I would therefore very much wish that we, as a society, finally stop pretending that top performances, for B. really worth something in school. A 5 is not bad, but deficient – and deficient is human .
Those who do not stumble upon their shortcomings in math, German or geography probably do it in subjects such as assertiveness, conflict management or partnership. Anyone who writes one at a time during school time feels totally lost at the latest in the first job, when the supervisor suddenly no longer honors every good achievement with a praise or asterisk. The basic principle on which our school system is based is far too simple and standardized to be really good for children . If we cling to this old system, we could at least show the greatness to admit it.
Anyway, it would have helped me, as a student, to be told by somebody, how unimportant or enriching a geography test is and that I should not be afraid of a 5. Maybe then I would be a bit further today and in some ways a better and stronger person. Because I was a 1-pupil and I can tell so much that I do not always have to fulfill all people's expectations, I still have not quite understood ...