You are more than that, I promise!

Blessed are those that are given the gift of an education. Those that have been to nursery, school and university. Those that haven’t had their books taken away from them, those that have not been forced to stop going to school because  they can no longer afford it, those that have the opportunity to loathe maths and smirk at the headteacher’s weekly assembly. Blessed, blessed, blessed.

I am one of them.

I have been to 7 different schools in 3 different countries. I consider myself blessed and am thankful each day to have had this gift.

Throughout my life at school, I learned lots. I learned that angles on a straight line add up to 180 degrees. I learned that photosynthesis has NOTHING to do with pictures. I learned that the more you have of something, the less the satisfaction you derive from it, my teacher referred to as the law of diminishing returns…or something along the lines of that. More importantly, I learned the one thing in the whole world that I love the most, I learned to read.

Blessed? I think so too.

Last night, I was talking to my elder sibling about life. We talked about our childhood, our experiences and how our life is shaped by our experiences. We talked about school and what school taught us. We reached a conclusion, however, there is something terribly wrong with the education system.

School taught us lots, yes. But it forgot an important lesson – self love. Our teachers went on for hours and hours about angles and plants and the economy and the metric system. Some of us listened intently, some of us remained clueless, gazing at the board before us. Schools set exams and tests. Why? To help us. To get us to the top. Everyone applauded the A* student, but what happened to the one that scored a D? or a C even? No one gave a damn. This created a boundary, A* meant excellent, D meant poor. Schools defined these boundaries as the people. A = Verrrrry goood! E = Oh oh oh.

What the education system forgot about was the domino effect. By making use of the grading system, they created boundaries. A meant excellent, D meant poor, etc. These boundaries are given so much importance that students believe they are these boundaries. They class themselves as poor, satisfactory. There is a line formed, inferior and superior. The former is the student that scores below a grade B, and the latter above a grade B. Students then begin to see life like that. They begin to believe that life is going to be one massive exam with a massive score sheet at the end. Got a job? A*  Got the money? A* Good position at work? A*. In short, it is killing any self love someone has.

There is no single lesson in school that teaches the kid to love themselves. There is no lesson in school that teaches us grades do not define us. There is no single lesson in school that teach us to look at life beyond grades. Not a single lesson.  What school did have was billions of classes that stressed the same thing – don’t get an A* and you are worthless.

I was that student.  I was the student that brought home ”poor” grades. Up until the point a teacher with a kind heart and a nice accent said to me, “Meera, I believe in you, I think you need to believe in yourself a little bit more!” That one sentence made the biggest difference to my life. And I feel that schools across the world should include lessons on self esteem. Because a person’s life and self esteem is worth so much more than a grade. Because having one person tell you “you can do it!” makes all the difference in the world.

That’s the problem with our education system. We are made to learn that everything else is a tonne more important that us.

Now, I am not saying that grades DON’T matter, they do. I’m trying to say that there are more important things in life than the grading system – an individual self. And think about it, if someone has self love and self confidence, isn’t their whole life going to go on an upward spiral? I think so.

This goes out to every student out there.

I believe in you guys. Your grades don’t define you.

You’re more than that, I promise.

Love,

Meera

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