Peggy, Former Teacher and Counselor, Mother of 4, CA

"We have to educate the whole person and realize that people have to be content within before they can go out and do things that are going to bring them fulfillment."

Imagine your child (or one you care deeply about) 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 just want them to be happy. Happiness to me is having a job or doing whatever they chose to do that gets them out of bed, that fills their heart, something they are excited about; having a good group of friends, that they are intellectually stimulated, that they want to do good for other and the planet. Happiness is being positive, forward looking and having fulfillment in their heart. Most importantly though, happiness is being healthy. 

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

Schools need to educate the whole person, not just one part.

I don't think everyone agrees with me. There is a lot of pressure on schools to be accountable for testing and I am not a believer in standardized testing at any level. I think there is also a lot of emphasis, understandably, placed on getting a job and financial success. But the way schools are working now isn't even working towards this. 

There isn't enough vocation training--there is only one definition of success. We need to show students that there is not one road that we all have to follow; we must teach that there are a variety of things people can do that will bring them happiness and one is not better than the other.

School is just not this one road that we have to all follow because that doesn't work for everyone. We need to teach that there are a variety of things for people to do and that one isn't better than the other. Just because you make more money, it doesn't mean you are more successful. Success comes from inside. We need to teach that everything needs to be valued. It is hard to expect schools to find a way to make kids feel fulfilled when so often kids don't know what will make them fulfilled until much later on in life. 

Furthermore, we need to pay our teachers more. Then, we can attract more people into teaching so that teachers aren't required to have 36 kids in their class, all from such different backgrounds--you cannot accomplish much in that setting.

I think what teachers do is absolutely freaking amazing but we have to value our teachers and education as much as we value other parts of life and society if schools are going to be successful. 

Rachel DowComment