Editor’s Note: As with all articles published on Data or Die, we strive to provide a platform for all viewpoints, opinions and suggestions that come from a place of a genuine desire to promote positive change. While we as a company and individuals that compromise it might agree with an opinion presented, they do not always reflect the positions of The Burr Project. In this case, this article was written by Jason Bonsall, one of our 2019 interns, highlighting his opinions and interest in the field of Education – Vince Santore, CEO of The Burr Project
Passion is secondary to progress. Progress does not always bring success. Passion in life makes the challenges of school and the workplace easy to overcome. Education was once a luxury reserved for those with enough money for a teacher who would mold their lessons around the interests of the student. Yet today, there is a lack of passion for education that stems from the compulsion of the student to become proficient in various academic disciplines (English, Math, History, Science). It is the passion we have in the career path that we follow that leads to success and happiness in aspects of life other than the material (cars, high end clothes, jewelry). A job lacking interest and passion with good pay is still an appealing offer to many workers since it satisfies their needs or wants in the short term. However, when factoring in the long-term, it creates a worker who negatively affects both the business he is working for and his morality. The worker is stuck in a life centered around the amount of money they make instead of how happy they are with their job. A life centered around passion and the personal interests of life is the reason that the formative years of education (Elementary, Middle, and High School) are crucial for the student so that material things in life become a product of work instead of being the reason you work in the first place.
As of right now, college is the only place where a student from a public school can pick a single discipline to study, a setting in which you are rewarded for having a passion for a single subject. A student who excelled in English, but failed Math, Science, and History because of their lack of interest and will to learn the subjects would flunk high school. If we were to treat high school as the medium between public school, college, and the workforce, it could then function to better prepare students for college and the workforce. By allowing students to explore possible majors and minors while in high school these students would not go into debt exploring their interests in college. Some students want to be done with school after high school; it should be the job of the educators to try to give that student as many opportunities as they can since that student will not have many once he/she enters the job market with only a high school level education. Educators should help that student find a job that he would be able to do well in and be happy with when he leaves high school. Allowing the student to focus on a single subject that interests them also benefits the teacher by giving the teacher more time to be able to focus on a single subject. Learning can then become a reflection of the individual by taking aspects from the Harkness, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia methods of teaching where the student is given some responsibility for their learning. Teachers could function as a guide into the discovery of the academic discipline that the student could start a career in and enjoy; the teacher’s lessons would also be easier to comprehend with students enrolled in the class because of their interest in the subject.
We, as a society, need to recognize the infatuation we have with material things and see how this short-term thinking is influencing our lives. Once our society realizes that collectively our voices have the power to make a difference, we can then accomplish the amazing feat of rectifying the negligence within our new generations. As a society, we can not only place a higher value on the education provided for us but help the next generation not make the same mistakes we have made, one being the placement of a higher value on material things than true happiness. We must work together and use the power of our collective voices to find a way for public schools to center around the student being able to discover the subject(s) that motivates them to learn. We, as citizens, need to focus on establishing a system where the student is not forced to fit the mold of what others believe the perfect student should be. As a public, we have become satisfied living lives as dictated by standards placed on us. We must meet the academic standards in school to pass on to the next grade, even if the standards do not reflect our interests. We must be the employee of the month to get a raise, even if that job doesn’t inspire passion to perform. These standards do nothing for us but point out areas where we can’t match up with others. However, when comparing a worker who is motivated by his/her own interest in the job to a worker who meets the conventional qualifications for the job but is motivated by material wealth and possessions. The “passionate worker” will outperform the “qualified worker” who fits these conventional standards since the passionate worker sees the job as a marathon with no finish line. The qualified worker who is focused on the money considers the job to be a sprint until he gets the big house and nice car. What the qualified worker fails to recognize is that the big house and nice car leads to a cycle of doing a job they hate in order to pay for all of their material things. No matter what workers have accomplished in order to get a job they are going to be running a marathon, the passionate worker has the ability work a job for the long-term since they genuinely enjoy the job. Any worker who forgoes the job they are passionate in for a bigger check must ask themselves if material things are worth hating your job for the rest of your life.
To find jobs that bring happiness, we must indulge in our curiosities and let those interests guide us, then apply the self-interest that we have to specific academic disciplines to start to progress. It is the combination of passion, which sparks curiosity in a field, that feeds our ambition, the motivation to become an expert in that field, creating a cycle in which progression then becomes natural. However, we must first be able to allow ourselves to disregard the standards placed on us to find the passion that will drive us.