The boy sits there, tapping his pencil on the desk to the rhythm of the beat. His eyes scanned the room. It was loud, the kids all chattered while the teacher struggled for control. Paper airplanes flew across the room, while some students drew pictures all over the 80 dollar textbooks. Chaos and disorder was nothing new to the boy. Growing up his parents fought like wild animals while his older brother was passed out on the couch due to an overdose of Vicodin and other sorts of unheard drugs. Out of all the things his parents fought over, such as furniture, bills, who’d be doing the dirty dishes, and most of all, money, never once had they squabbled over him or his brother. After the divorce, his dad moved to Los Angeles, and practically forgot all about them. At the same time, his mother paid no attention to them, and slept all day. His brother was 17 when he dropped out of school, moved out and has lived a miserable life ever since.
A spit wad hit him on the head, snapping him out of his daydream.
He wasn’t the most popular kid. Insults were no longer insults but now a daily routine. He had grown numb to it. But he wasn’t immune to the flying fists, and heavy shoes that were slammed into his face and stomach on a weekly basis.
It didn’t matter. He was empty.
As much as he hated school, he hated his life at home more, and would much rather stay at school, and endure the torture than go home, and face the same thing from the one person he shouldn’t hear it from: His mother.
He looked at the homework assignment. What a coincidence, it was on dropouts. He looked up at the teacher who finally sat down at her desk, dispirited, and hopeless, then looked around the room filled with kids who just didn’t give a damn. He had a feeling that a little more than half of these kids would drop out themselves. And although school was a get-away from his life at home, he took it seriously. He loathed the thought of becoming a drug addict, or living on welfare like his mother, or even struggling for a position at McDonald’s as a cashier. And he knew exactly how to avoid that; do well in school, go to college, get a degree, and move up from there. He knew that he couldn’t afford college so getting a scholarship was necessary.
Sure, he had it all figured out. As for the lazy, careless kids in his class, what did they have in mind? A majority of the kids complain about how the teachers give them bad grades because they hate them, but is it really the teachers fault? Or perhaps the schools, because they can’t afford the latest technology and books? What’s technology good for if the kids themselves don’t want to learn in the first place; let alone respect what’s given to them like those tattered text books? Or maybe, it’s the kids fault; they won’t do the homework, or listen in class, or study for tests. Whose fault is it? What if the kid who does want to learn can’t because of their surroundings, such as rowdy kids or a bad teacher? Are computers, expensive books, and the best technology around really necessary to teach these hopeless children? Or are there certain things that we’re missing? There’s so much that can affect a child’s learning abilities. Ultimately, the human population is just too big for the school to focus on every individuals need.
What they don’t teach us in school is they don’t show us the beauty of existing, they don’t show us the wonder of the earth, the unity that human beings have. They show us who’s better, who’s worse. They show us what they need to show us in order for their system to survive. They don’t teach us how to love. Maybe when we learn how to love properly, things will go smoothly from there. Maybe if we learn about from the children themselves and what they’re going through, then it would be easier to teach the student. Maybe if we took the time to learn the students learning style, and separate those children into different classes it could be easier. But then again, we’re always haunted by the idea that we are wasting precious time. There’s no time to teach each and every individual student, we must teach them in groups and hope that at least a couple are taking the class seriously.
Every child has the ability to graduate high school, no matter the situation. Sure there’s kids who must drop out due to certain reasons, but what’s stopping them from going back? This boy was certain he would graduate and go far, but he didn’t need encouragement, or a specific teacher, or even a computer, he was going to do it because he was determined to do it.
Every kid can do the same, can’t they? Or must we change the whole system? Or continue to convince ourselves that technology and money is what’s needed to help kids succeed?
by Adam Valdez