Dreamworker has taught in schools nationwide for 26 years in grades 6-12; including blind, handicapped, at-risk, and ESOL students.
It is ironic that some of the most important things our schools should be teaching are often shunted aside to make room for those that are more "popular".
This happens mainly because schools give priority to courses in technology and academics because they feel these classes are more important than some that are vitally important to overall success in life..
In so doing,, schools are failing to prepare their students for real world survival. What good does it do to know how to work a computer if you are unable to manage your own finances?
Lack of Proper Life Preparation Is Harmful
Kids don’t realize that once they leave the protected environment that educational institutions provide for them, they’re going to be on their own.
There will be many important issues they’ll be dealing with, but without proper preparation, they will not be able to do so effectively..
- If their parents are savvy enough to have provided this information to them, and if they have been willing to listen to them, they can do well.
- If not, they’re going to run into the types of major problems that can really damage their chances for success.
Unfortunately, many parents never learned these skills, so will not be able to share them with their children.
So if schools don’t “step up”, life after school for many will become a constant struggle to try to deal with issues they know nothing about..
For example, if they have not been taught about the linkage between learning and preparing for a career, they may not take their studies seriously.
As a result, they may not understand that one "D" or "F" on their record can keep them from being accepted into a job training program or college or that too many absences can create the same consequences for them.
Below are issues that, once understood and internalized, can make all the difference in the world in a child's future success.
One of the biggest areas where schools fail is in not teaching young people how to deal with money.
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Very few young adults know how to keep or balance a checkbook, properly use a credit card, invest or even sign up for a bank account let alone create a workable budget.
You can ask just about any adult how much money they make as opposed to how much they bring home every week, and few will be able to answer.
How can we expect kids to understand such things if we don’t understand them ourselves?
How many people do you know who can accurately tell you how much it costs them to live?
- A young woman who was having financial problems was shocked to see how much she would have to pay for health care if she didn’t have insurance!
- She was making less than $30,000 per year yet was looking for houses in the $400,000 price range!
- She also did not understand the impact interest has when one borrows money.
I have actually met people who think that if they have blank checks in their checkbook they have money to spend! Knowing that having checks does not link to having money is a simple concept, yet few adults really understand this!
It’s no wonder that in 2016 approximately 800,000 US citizens filed for bankruptcy!
People would not be having such serious financial problems if they understood more about money and how to use it.
How to Double Your Income With Good Financial Management provides some basic information about this issue but it takes more than one article for people to learn what they need to know in order to stay financially solvent and stable.
The Importance of Career Prep
In all fairness, some schools do spend time teaching students about careers. However, many miss the mark because they don’t discuss the importance of preparation.
Kids don’t get the connection unless income differences are also presented or that preparing for careers is how they can get the jobs that pay the most money.
I used to teach a lesson that made a huge impact on my students and really brought this point home to them.
- First I asked them to tell me what they ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner on any given day.
- Then we estimated the costs for those meals.
- I also asked them how much they thought their parents paid for items such as housing, car payments and insurance.
- I added those figures up and multiplied them by 365.
- Then I showed them how much people earn on different jobs and included minimum wage incomes all the way up to the amount doctors earn.
- As the numbers appeared on the board, some kids began to see that certain jobs did not pay enough to cover the living costs we had discussed.
- I then asked them what they thought it was that made the difference.
The answer was Education!
It was then that reality struck them!
If they wanted to have jobs that were comfortable and could provide them with the better things in life, they’d have to prepare for them by learning what they needed to do to be able to get those jobs.
It was amazing to see how much more serious they became about their school work following that lesson.
I don’t know how many teachers make that connection for students, but all of them should be doing it, no matter their subject area.
Kids need to know that good jobs don’t just fall out of the sky, that there is competition for them and that you have to work hard if you want to get them!
How to Think
If there is one thing that schools should be teaching that is of utmost importance, it is how to develop critical thinking skills.
Without these skills, kids grow up not knowing how to analyze situations and things so that they can make productive, helpful choices.
Schools somehow assume that thinking does not need to be taught or that it is something you either know how to do or you don't.
The truth is, that it is a learned skill that is actually easier to teach than most educators believe.
Learning to ask questions of all sorts about things, then using the answers to analyze them is the only way people can really make clear cut decisions throughout their lives.
However, once students learn how to question, schools become wary. They don't want what they are doing to be questioned. It is much easier and safer for them to have students who simply "accept".
This is wrong thinking that leads to all sorts of issues for people as they mature and should definitely never be eliminated from any curriculum.
It is simply too important!
The Bottom Line
It is clear to me that our schools are misdirecting their efforts, especially when it comes to the three things I’ve mentioned here.
If we are to live in a civil society, people need to be taught that life is difficult but that they can become empowered through learning.
Schools really need to be teaching their students everything related to the issues that help them to function and live well.
It’s never too late to start.
© 2018 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on October 02, 2018:
Emmyboy from Nigeria on October 02, 2018:
Nice points you have there.
Thanks for sharing.