Jennifer, Student, Former Teacher, GA

Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life.  What do you hope for them about their life?  What would make it a ‘good’ life?

I want happiness for them. Happiness coupled with confidence and personal sustainability whether that is emotional or physical or financial. I don’t care job wise what they go into as long as they are happy and all the aspects of the happiness that I just mentioned are part of that.

Why is it important that they be happy?

Well I don’t think you need to be happy but I think it’s the aspect of life that will lead to contentment. And in terms of happiness, I don’t want to assign intelligence or humor or some other quality because it’s not set for each person as to what makes them happy. I mean happiness in terms of being confident and content with your life as it is. If you’re not happy with everything then you’re striving to get there and if you have everything you’re striving to maintain it.

What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?

One of the main roles that education should play is building confidence and perseverance because within any education system, or when going through life, those are the two things that are going to be required to get what you want financially, emotionally, or physically. And in general in getting you to the goal of happiness. I think the strongest aspect would be the self-confidence. So that you can build up your knowledge and what you are confident in and define for yourself your intelligence and strengths. From there you can learn more and become happy with where you are.

Do you think schools are currently playing that role/doing what they should?

Some teachers are currently doing that. I don’t know of many school systems that are doing that in their entire system though. I highly doubt a child goes though all of school and experiences that the whole time. School often is challenging that confidence, not building it up. A lot of it has to do with the content-based focus and every teacher falls into the trap of focusing solely on content and not what the content is supposed to support because in the end knowing how to do the quadratic formula is not what you want for someone. You want to build their understanding of how to work through something – how to persevere and continue. We need to move away from a focus on just content.