My High School Experience in About 300 Words

I’m working on my reading log for class tonight and wrote this:

What The Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

Chapter 1 – Introduction: Defining the Best

On page 7, Bain says, “A teacher might scare students into memorizing material for short-term recall by threatening punishment or imposing excessively burdensome workloads, but those tactics might also leave students traumatized by the experience and disliking the subject matter. Any teacher who causes students to hate the subject has certainly violated our principle of “do no harm.”

This idea is particularly poignant to me for this reason: I can think back to specific instances in my own schooling career in which I began hating certain subjects because of the way they were taught. I have held on to the belief for many years that I really don’t like particular subjects when now, as I’m learning them again with my own children during our homeschooling, I’m finding that I do enjoy them after all. I may not enjoy them to the level of pursuing a master’s education in them, but I certainly don’t hate them.

Yet the intensity with which they were taught to me and the expectation of mastery over material I was, before then, never exposed to, painted me back into the corner of disregard. I did not master the material according to the instructor’s intention, therefore I failed (or in my case, earned a “C”). In a culture which placed such a high emphasis on grades, a “C” was as good as an F (or as bad as an F, as the case may be). Knowing that praise comes from mastery, and mastery from a report card full of “A’s,” I learned to avoid the subjects in which I would not be able to earn those “A’s,” due to insufficient mastery of the material. I learned to believe I was not good at those subjects. I learned to think I hated them.

There. I just summed up my high school experience in about 300 words.


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