How School Can Prepare You for Work
The public education system in the United States is often condemned because it does not prepare you for work. While some of that grief is well-deserved — namely at the governmental and administrative levels — most teachers are still doing their best to get their classes where they need to be. In fact, you could look at the typical teacher’s classroom as a simulation of the work environment. Here are several things that a well-run classroom will teach you about work.
It teaches the role of authority.
In a typical classroom, the teacher is the prime authority. What she says goes, and if followed properly, will be the difference between a class where actual learning takes place or one where you pass the time until your failures to do so catch up with you. It’s up to you to respect the role of authority in the classroom just as it’s up to your teacher to set the conditions for success. This very same relationship exists within a company’s hierarchy. The manager sets the conditions, the workers follow those conditions.
It teaches the importance of asking questions.
Questions are essential to deepening your understanding of a subject. If you don’t ask questions, how will you ever bridge the gap between what you know and what you don’t? A typically well-run classroom will have a teacher that encourages question-asking. In the same way, a business that is successful will typically encourage employees to ask questions. As long as those questions result in more knowledgeable and better skilled employees, they are an asset to the company because they ensure things are done correctly and screw-ups are nonexistent.
It teaches you to work on deadlines.
Teachers set assignment deadlines with good reasons. They understand that there is more to their subject than the current assignment, and they know that for you to understand the more complex parts of the whole, they can’t afford to keep you stuck on one thing for the entirety of the course. Similarly, the days of employees, who do only one job, are long since over. Today’s employer wants a highly valuable employee. Someone with good communication skills and a comprehensive understanding of how one job fits into another. Your teacher simulates this for you through the comprehensive teaching of a subject. They help you see how multiplication and division works, for example, by building on what you know of addition and subtraction.
It teaches you to work with others.
There are few, if any, classes left where you are allowed to be a lone wolf at all times. Working with different groups and personalities is as much a part of employment as it is the classroom. You would be wise to take it seriously and work for the greater solution even if you are not blessed with the most knowledgeable or helpful colleagues.
It teaches there is a tool for every job.
School supplies are something you have to purchase at the start of each school year. These are not your teachers’ sneaky ways of bilking your family out of money. They choose those specific materials because you will need them to meet the demands of the course. Similarly, each profession has its own set of necessary tools. Construction workers need levels, hammers, nails, and screwdrivers, to name a few. Office workers need computers and, increasingly, tablets/phones, software proficiency on a wide variety of programs, etc. Point being: whether tangible or cloud-based, each job has its own set of required tools, and that’s something your classes start teaching you from the very first notebooks and pencils your teachers require you to buy.
It teaches you about consequences.
“But my teacher doesn’t do any of these things for me,” you may be thinking. “His class is an out of control wreck. We get to do whatever we want!” Unfortunately, if all this is true, you and your teacher are about to learn a very costly lesson about consequences. Teachers with no control don’t stay in the profession long. They’re either fired or they get sick of the situation and quit. Students who prey on these teachers may not feel the effects right away. They may even get an A in the course. But it all eventually catches up with them. It could happen through a bad ACT score. It could be failing the next class or flunking out of college. It may not even happen until they’re out in the workforce and try to pull the same stunts on their boss. Eventually the hammer does fall. There are consequences, either now or later, to the behaviors and efforts put forth in a classroom. Will those consequences be good or bad? Will they come now or later? One thing is certain: if there are any hard consequences to come, you want them to come now while you still have the guidance of a parent or guardian to fall back on. But why take chances in the first place?
As you move further into the new school year, think about the efforts and behaviors that are going on in your classroom. Are you exhibiting your best? Are your peers? What can you do to right the ship if things are moving off-course. Students with the answers to these questions now are destined to become the leaders of tomorrow. What bothers you the most about your school classes? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Monster]