“Where am I going to use all this in my life?” (#176)

The TEACHER has written something on the board and all students are “expected” to copy it in their notebooks.

STUDENT: [whispers to himself] Where am I ever going to use this in my life?

TEACHER: [hears STUDENT] Your final paper depends on you knowing this word-for-word. So get on with writing it now.

STUDENT: Yes, but why is it all such a big deal? The final paper, I mean.

TEACHER: Those marks, cumulated with points elsewhere (which include your marks for discipline and obeying the teacher by the way) will determine how well you fare in life.

STUDENT: I don’t believe you.

TEACHER: Are you questioning my higher authority and knowledge?

STUDENT: [scoffs] Is there something wrong with that?

TEACHER: Didn’t your parents teach you basic manners?

STUDENT: They must have taught me but as you might not know teaching is very different from learning. Though school and “educated people” are a great means to pass on this common ideology among all malleable children’s minds in society, some of them learn to think for themselves and criticize this irrational idea of not questioning authority. And why shouldn’t I question you when you don’t provide any explanation for why you impose certain things upon all of us?

TEACHER: It is expected for all students to obey school norms and score well in their examinations and to pass school with flying colors so that they get into great colleges and everything be eased up from then.

STUDENT: Until when are you going to make us blindly believe that a good college admission will be the end of all life’s problems? Why is it that there is simply one path for us all to tread on and become “successful”?

TEACHER: Because it works, that’s why! This established teaching method of discipline and excellence has been producing respectful students for years. This is the only way to go on and lead a good, polished life. Only an unreasonable fool would question it.

STUDENT: Well then, I’ll be the unreasonable fool for as Bernard Shaw would put it, all progress depends on that critical man*.

[Bell rings]

* “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
— George Bernard Shaw

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