Ten Ridiculous Habits, Attitudes, and Ideas Most High Schools Teach Students

10. They teach you that being obedient and agreeable will get you ahead in life.  It will not.  It will only reduce the chances of you ending up in jail, especially if you’re from a lower or lower-middle class community/family. It will not help you rise to anywhere near the top of any profession because the higher you go, the more you’ll be surrounded by those who care solely about vision and standards and little about conventions and people’s feelings.  Steve Jobs kept employees working as many as three consecutive all nighters, while reminding them that they’re “Fucking Dickless Assholes” for even considering missing a deadline. Bill Gates broke into computer lab rooms to rig scheduling in his favor.  Jesus Christ screamed and flipped tables when people fucked with his shit.  Marissa Mayer as known as a demanding “bully.” Star surgeons, renown science lab directors, Grammy winners, Micheline star chefs, NBA all-stars, Silicon Valley CEOs, US Senators, NOT many of them are obedient and agreeable. Most are NOT what most would consider “nice.” They’re blunt, concise, and demanding and hold others to high standards. They’re the ones who got into a bit of trouble, who tested and pushed the boundaries of conventional and acceptable behavior.  If you want to get ahead, be responsible, not nice.  Being responsible means telling people things they don’t want to hear, not giving things they want.  It may mean not giving your kid the car he wants because you want him to work for it so he can learn how to be dignified and how to delay gratification.  Or telling your girlfriend that she needs to lose weight and change her diet.  Or not letting your dog eat dinner until he learns a new obstacle course.

9. They insist that you’ll be nothing if you don’t have a high school degree.  That you’ll be poor if you don’t have a college degree.  Bullshit, this is based on someone’s interpretation of statistics he doesn’t understand.  All you need is an 8th grade education.  If that.  The rest of your life is determined by your ambition, desire, and grit. And few schools teach ambition, desire, and grit.

8. They teach you that being “creative” means becoming a writer, or an artist, or a musician.  Which implies that Math and Science disciplines don’t require creativity, just conformity.  This false binary gives students a face saving reason to dismiss Math and Physics when they struggle with them, declaring that “I’m the creative kind, not the robotic kind.”  That’s ridiculous. It takes more creative problem solving skills to build a submarine or an IPod than it does to write a song of questionable value. Point is, it takes creativity to reach the top of any profession.  The reason why people are fooled into thinking that it doesn’t take creativity to build a 10 mile bridge or a rocket to the moon is because most people refuse to put in the effort to figure out how to solve these difficult problems.  They refuse to put in the effort because they can’t handle failure, don’t like being told they’re wrong over and over again.  So many drift to softer sciences like Sociology and  Anthropology, and Humanities (excepting Philosophy), where it’s never clear if someone is right or wrong because the methodologies used in these disciplines are so problematic, unstable.  That’s why an undergrad Sociology major is easy, while majoring in Math is difficult.  Put it this way, a bridge or rocket either works or it doesn’t and the consequences of it not working are deadly.  A painting and musical piece, their value is ultimately determined by collection of subjective tastes and listening to something one doesn’t like usually won’t result in loss of human life.  And there’s always Mommy to tell the kid that her drawing is beautiful, even if it’s not to anyone else.

7. That life is a multiple choice question.  Yeah yeah, most teachers would agree and blame testing system.  But there’s nothing wrong with multiple choice questions.  It’s the teaching that’s the problem.

6.Rote memorization stifles creativity. It does not.  Rote learning stifles creativity.  Rote memorization is often the first step to mastery and creativity. So memorize your multiplication tables because I and others can’t teach you more advanced, creative work if you don’t have fundamentals down.  I nearly flipped a table when I found out that one of my star employees, who graduated from Mountlake Terrace High School with a 3.7 GPA, could not provide correct answer to 7 times 4 and had trouble with 17 plus 7 because some moron, likely with a PhD in Education, decided that it’s ok for them to start using calculators in 5th grade. That’s when I declared war on local schools.

5. That education mostly occurs in the classroom.  That school is the only place you’re going to learn how to read and write.  That you need school to be intelligent and knowledgeable.  Fuck that.  First, being taught by a bad teacher is like going to a bad doctor.  Bad doctor will worsen a condition.  Bad teacher will make a student dumber, kill off the desire to learn, desire to live.  Most will learn more at work.  Or just living life with childlike wonder, exploring what the world has to offer. Even engineers with impressive degrees will tell you that they learned more on the job than in the classroom.  There are very few schools that can teach students to learn how to learn, motivate them to learn outside of the classroom.  They’re only able to teach students to fake fake fake it till parents look happy.

4. That school learning sucks, is a test of discipline instead of a fun exercise of the senses and mind. No wonder students fake it.

3. That inflating self-esteem (being “nice” to people) is the only way to boost self-confidence and motivation and reduce violence, bullying. Studies are showing that the self-esteem movement may have increased violence and has not improved school performance.  And I argue that inflated self-esteem correlates with LOW self-confidence and poor mental health.  Someone who keeps being told that she’s so pretty, so smart, so wonderful may start believing these accolades are true.  But without achievements to legitimize accolades, this person will avoid situations that may put her sense of self in question.  Like hanging out with those who are smarter, prettier, etc.  But reality strikes at some point, and reality is brutal.  The rejections pile up and she has two options: to retreat back to her inner circle of acolytes or face the truth about herself.  Most choose to retreat — totally uncoachable at work — or turn violent, to erase those who dare challenge her sense of self.  Those with low self-esteem, on the other hand, are more likely to seek higher level competition, where  criticisms are more common and biting.  Female models, for instance, are known for never being satisfied with their looks.  Their low self-esteem makes it difficult for them to handle compliments about their looks, because they don’t match their sense of self.  That’s why they become models.  They CRAVE someone telling them they’re too fat, too short, too ugly.   For those with low self-esteem, the only way they can get people to acknowledge their sense of self is to move into more competitive environments where the standards are set high.  The higher you go, the lower the self-esteem and the higher the self-confidence and tougher the skin.  The lower you go, the higher the self-esteem and lower the self-confidence, thinner the skin.  Those who don’t understand this will never grow.

2. That in order for students to be prepared for STEM economy, they need to be exposed to latest gadgets and technology at an early age.  No they do not.  That’s why Silicon Valley executives will send their kids to schools theat DON’T allow computers, calculators, tablets, etc.  One doesn’t need a calculator to do math. Don’t even need a blackboard, a lot of math can be taught with an orange.  So instead of spending time on laptops watching porn and playing mindless games, let’s have kids go outside and play with sticks and mud.

1. That failure means you’re stupid and being good at something is function of genetics. No wonder so many people give up so easily. This may partially be why so many think it’s ok to laugh at other people’s failures (as a way to boost self-esteem)? This is why most American schools don’t ask the weakest students to work on a problem in front of peers.  Students are taught to jeer at struggling students rather them pick them up and push them, cheer them to try harder.

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