Why school is cool

“What is the coolest thing in life?” I ask my students. Picnics, movies and boat rides, they reply. Unexpectedly, one girl, yells, “Sir, school is cool.” I am struck by her words. It took me many years to realise the value of my school days. But this young girl, a student of Standard 8, seems to have understood why school is ‘cool’. She tells me she treasures the time she spends with her friends and teachers.

School is not a place where students only solve sums or memorise poems and formulae. Their personalities are moulded in school. What we are today or what we will become tomorrow is partly due to the school we study in. We carry forward the values we imbibe from our teachers and friends.

It is in school that we learn to help others and be part of each other’s struggles. The principle of life is not homogeneity but diversity and multiplicity. It is in school that we take the first steps in the journey to a fabulous heterogeneous world. According to social psychologists, it is in school that our worldview begins to change. Making friends with children from different backgrounds, developing the ability to work in groups and learning to express ourselves confidently are processes that begin in school. Child psychologists emphasise the importance of the schooling years from the perspective of children learning to become who they really are rather than becoming what others expect them to be.

As my Standard 8 student said, “It is fun to discover myself. Every day that I step into the school I feel I have a little more courage and confidence than what I had the previous day.”

More than academics, there are numerous healthy struggles and challenges that we face as students. We cannot escape these realities, but we need to face them courageously. It is through these struggles and failures that we learn that what counts in life is not success but courageous perseverance. Schooling is a time to struggle, to fall, to fail but to grow in confidence that we will survive and triumph.

Unfortunately, schooling has become a burdensome experience for many students today. Academics, devoid of other fine aspects in schooling, takes the joy out of learning. But that is the subject of another article.

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