High schoolers have differing attitudes about school


Featured image by Tyson Jamieson

Emily Oba

[dropcap style=”light” size=”4″]A[/dropcap]t the beginning of this school year, sophomore Dylan Soper set a new expectation for himself. Instead of attempting to get As and Bs, he decided to focus on passing his classes with at least a C because of his decision  that high school is not important.
“[If I had a choice to go to school or not, I would go] just to see all my friends. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Soper said. “I just feel like passing is important, but other than that I think school is a fill-in time for the day, especially if we are learning something we’re not going to use in the everyday world. I don’t think I’m ever going to have to know the square root of a triangle or something.”
Soper’s future plans involve either a technical or a welding career. Although he is aware that he needs math skills in his future,  Soper believes the required math and science classes at RBHS are not that beneficial for the job he wants. He believes that because he is not going into a career of biology or physics, it is not essential to learn it in high school.
Soper and many other high school students believe that school is unimportant. A report performed by the National Research Council found that 40 percent of high school students are disengaged from school. Those students did not think that school was important and did not care about their education, but this is not the case for sophomore Alison Scrivner. Growing up, Scrivner’s parents taught her the importance of school and pushed her to excel.
[quote]“Without an education, you will go nowhere in life,” Scrivner said. “That’s why a college diploma is so important—not for the physical diploma, but for the knowledge you gain from going to school.”[/quote] Scrivner’s parents were the driving force behind her view on high school, and she is trying to follow in their footsteps. Scrivner believes her parents’ dedication to education is the prime reason they are both successful in secure jobs, of managing sales and regional director of shelter insurance claims. Now that Scrivner is in high school, her parents say it is her responsibility to thrive in school.  
Parents have more of an affect on student’s attitudes about school than thought before. A study by North Carolina State California State University found that when parents were involved in their kid’s education by checking to see if homework was done, going to school meetings and discussing how school was that day,the kids would have more academic success.  
A student’s home life can both positively and negatively affect the amount of desire a high schooler has to learn. According to the Journal of Marriage and Family, authors Yongmin Sun and Yuanzhang Li, found that kids with divorced parents scored lower on academic tests and had lower ambitions for school. But just because parents are separated, it doesn’t mean they can’t positively influence their children. Parents who are willing to help their kids with their problems, have kids who are more likely to achieve in academics and psychological development.
Motivation from family members doesn’t always work, however. Although Soper’s mom is an advocate for turning in homework on time and getting A’s or B’s, his dad, Matt Soper,  is satisfied as long as Soper passes high school.  
“I think school is very important, not only for your building of knowledge but also for your social skills,” Soper said. “ If I had to do it over again, I may but school today is way different from the school I knew.”
Although parents and homelife can influence a student’s care for school, another way is to create habits at a young age. Mill Creek Elementary school teacher, Elaine Lawler, says things such as time management, organization and having goals are things kids can learn at a young age to become successful in their future.
“I believe it is very important to instill habits of success in young students. I teach important skills such as note-taking and how to study for a test,” Lawler said. “I also give homework most nights, even if it is only reading, so that students can get in the habit of being accountable for work as well as getting in a routine of taking things back and forth from home to school in a timely manner.”
Another teacher from Mill Creek Elementary school, Amberleigh Slaven, believes that by setting kids up with good habits in elementary school, leads to students caring about high school.
“When habits are made at a young age, it can have a big impact on students’ attitude towards high school and their future goals,” Slaven said. “Students can build on strong study habits each year so they become accustomed to using these strategies — these strategies then become natural habits. Students become self-motivated learners and care more about their progress in high school.”
At home, behavioral habits to aid in school can be developed with the help of parents. The Journal of Marriage and Family discovered that the more support fourth and seventh grade kids had from their parents, the higher the kid’s ability was to cope with failure and social pressures. The students also were not as aggressive, withdrawn and complained less in school, than their other peers.
Lawler believes there is a major significance in teaching kids to get the most out of school. She says that when students care about high school, they can begin to refine what their future will look like.  
“You are expected to make huge decisions regarding your future, and while none of them have to be set in stone, the very fact that you are in a position to make such decisions marks an important stepping stone into adulthood,” Lawler said. “High school plays an important role in all of this in giving students a chance to get the knowledge and support needed to make all of these potential changes as smooth and easy as possible.”
Do you care about school? Tell us why in the comments below.