In order to gain a deeper understanding of a child's back to school philosophy, it's essential to empathize with their viewpoint before forming judgments or expressing disagreements. I urge you to step into someone else's shoes, even if you hold different views. Our generation is known for being outspoken, yet many of us may lack the resources or confidence to openly express our concerns and perspectives. While I don't claim to represent everyone, having experienced seven years of high school, I feel a responsibility to illuminate the thoughts and opinions that I, along with my peers who have chosen to share on these matters possess. The issues discussed are safety concerns in schools, grooming, teacher shortage and the use of sixth formers to fill the gap.
Feeling secure within my all-girls school has never posed an issue, primarily owing to our small campus size and the strong bond between students and staff. Our school takes security seriously, with a security guard stationed at each entrance as well as the requirement of specific identification for visitors to gain access to the premises. Inside the school, we've experienced occasional cliques rather than gangs, and any instances of bullying were promptly addressed by the dean of discipline, principal, and, if necessary, involved law enforcement. I firmly believe that schools should maintain strict rules and sanctions to ensure the safety of students and the entire school community. However, it's apparent that safety concerns can differ significantly in larger institutions. For such schools, additional security measures like metal detectors, bag checks, and well-trained deans of discipline may be necessary to ward off external influences. While the idea of implementing comprehensive CCTV coverage across the entire schoolyard might seem excessive, the most effective method would be to selectively apply it to key areas such as computer labs and administrative offices. Therefore ensuring a balance between security needs as well as easing concerns of students who would feel they are being constantly watched.
Grooming at school has been an age old debate and one prominent at my school from classroom to classroom where it touches upon various aspects such as tradition, personal appearance, and societal norms. On one hand, we aim to uphold our school's historical traditions, but when these traditions are deeply rooted in colonialism, it becomes essential to consider the need for gradual change. This need for change is reflected in multiple facets of our school life. The frustration and resentment that many students feel aren't directed at anyone within the current school system but rather stem from the presence of colonial values within our uniform and grooming policies. For instance, the requirement for long dresses can be stifling and uncomfortable, especially in the hot Jamaican climate. The insistence on specific types of shoes, with the exclusion of sneakers, can pose a significant challenge for students who may only have sneakers as their affordable footwear option. The hair policy also raises concerns, as some students are labeled as untidy for wearing their hair in a natural puff while straight-haired students are not held to the same standards. Or what about the boy with locs he has to cover it up because this does not subscribe to the conventions of society? What about the young lady with large bodily features told to make her uniform two times bigger because it is inappropriate while she witnesses a slender girl with a uniform above the knee overlooked because it ‘fits’ her niceley? It is imperative that we critically assess these values and policies to determine what should be preserved and what should be reevaluated. Failing to do so means perpetuating a cycle of oppression from whence we came.
Teachers play an indispensable role in any society, and the current shortage we are experiencing is a source of concern for everyone. We strongly urge the government to offer teachers a fair deal to prevent their migration, as finding suitable replacements appears to be an unlikely alternative.
Speaking with fellow sixth-form students, it is evident that none of us support the idea of using our cohort to fill the teaching gap. We have invested significant resources to attain a higher level of education, and it would not be appropriate for us to resolve the government's issue. No amount of money can justify diverting our educational paths to bridge this gap.
However, we are committed to taking on our role as responsible citizens by engaging in self-education, which also prepares us for university. Teaching is a specialized skill that not everyone possesses, and it would be a formidable challenge to replace the dedicated educators who serve as the backbone of our nation.
For fellow students reading this, I encourage you to actively participate in your education. Don't merely wait to be taught; there are numerous resources available, including textbooks, videos, online sources, and educational games. Utilize your time effectively, as time once lost cannot be regained. Set achievable goals, plan ahead, and discover a study method that works best for you. The key to successful studying is not to exert excessive effort but to study intelligently. By doing so, I guarantee that you will excel in your academic endeavors.
I trust that you have gained insight into the contemporary school experience, as shared by a student who is nearing the end of their high school journey.