Glenbrook North is a place full of diligent and successful students. We work hard, balance our extracurriculars, and take on the APs. Our classes are jam-packed with information ranging from basic US History to solving algebraic equations. GBN prepares us to become receptacles of information. Stephen Wolk, author of “Why Go To School?”, claims that students go to school to become workers rather than leaving school to find themselves in a world of opportunity. Wolk states, “Our children go to school to learn to be workers. Going to school is largely preparation either to punch a time clock or to own the company with the time clock” (650). Although the standard classes are important, GBN fails us in preparation for a socially and emotionally stable future, and instead creates informed robots. How can we plan for a life we want after GBN when we aren’t given the space to learn and grow as individuals first?
GBN fails to take advantage of our changing society. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and it feels as though teachers have no mercy. My classes are moving faster than ever. Two seconds late to zoom is a tardy. Hours of screen time burns my eyes as we are expected to do homework online as we normally would if we weren’t spending 6+ hours on zoom per day. However, it isn’t just the lack of recognition of the pandemic and our circumstances. It’s the lack of effort our school has put forth in taking advantage of the opportunity COVID-19 has offered to simultaneously live, learn, and reflect. Our curriculum has not changed to keep students informed about what is happening around us during this pandemic. Ashley McCall, author of “What If We Radically Reimagined the New School Year” writes about ways school can give students the opportunity to learn in our standard classes while incorporating knowledge about the pandemic. She states that we could be exploring the “calculation of distribution options for COVID stimulus checks [and] inquiry about virus transmission and the role of vaccines” (3). Incorporating knowledge about COVID-19 is important so that we are not dismissing experiences around us. If schools were to include more relevant information, we would become more educated and active young adults.
In addition to not taking advantage of current events, the curriculum is also failing to promote self-growth. The class, SEL, asks students to share experiences during quarantine within the confines of our gym classes. However, in my experience, almost no student feels comfortable sharing with the other 44 upperclassmen over zoom. The main reason is that talking about our feelings and mental health is not the norm. GBN has not sparked a lot of self-reflection during my high school years. This lack of self-reflection causes students to end up feeling lost, lonely and sometimes even in danger of hurting themselves. In order to produce more confident, mentally mature students, GBN needs a class that discusses self-reflection and the state of our mental health.