This I Believe

Norine - Lake Villa, Illinois
Entered on May 2, 2007

I believe there is a demand for change in public schools today. I feel that good education can sculpt the future. For some, school can be a sanctuary, a comfort zone, and sometimes a nightmare. I began to notice that as I entered my sophomore year of high school my shy and respectful personality changed to angry and defiant. I became less interested in school and my grades and attitude began to reflect that. I defied authority figures, caused fights with my parents, and started hanging out with some negative influences. This change scared my parents because that was not how they brought me up, and they had no idea how to handle my behavior.

I feel children like me, who go through severe depression or have other mental or emotional needs, have a hard time adjusting in school. I did not have the confidence to join in any extracurricular activities by myself. I was too afraid to ask questions in class when I did not understand the subject, and I felt that if I did not believe in a rule the school had it did not matter, because I was just a student and would have to deal with it. These problems and more began to build up inside me until I broke down and could not possibly control how I acted. Although I knew deep down what I was going through was justified and logical, I was too immature to understand how to deal with it.

I believe now, as I began to mature and grow out of that defiant stage I could finally articulate why I had acted in such a way. I feel that today in public schools we have adults who try so hard to work for the benefit of the students, yet many of these children’s actual problems are being overlooked. When I was a junior, my wonderful mother decided I needed the school’s help with my emotional issues. With the help of the school’s life resource program I was provided with extra time for tests, a personal tutor, a personal social worker, and a private atmosphere to concentrate on skills I was lacking. I realized that many children who suffer in school are denied these benefits that can honestly help. Some children do not have parents willing to fight for these benefits, or their parents simply do not realize the benefits are available. I feel that if every student was provided these benefits, the school could finally reach out to those students who never thought they could succeed in life.

I believe that a school’s purpose is to build intelligence and especially self-esteem. Without confidence I do not think anyone would ever be able to follow their dreams or work to their fullest potential. Education needs to be less about grades and more about who we are as people. I believe we forget this, and pushing standards and honors on children teaches them to forget it as well. Education sculpts individuals and in turn sculpts how they will see the future.