Callous Curriculum

“You won’t be able to get away with this in college.” I knew college would be different than high school; my teachers have been making comments like this for years. However, they made it seem as if it being a student was going to become a death-sentence once I reached college. Much to my surprise, I have never felt so liberated as a student. 

In the midst of syllabus week, I was talking to a friend who was taking the same class as me, just with a different professor. I was shocked to realize how different the course could be, just based on different professor. She called my attention to the fact that in college, there is not the same curriculum, so professors can present the material however they like. In high school, our teachers had to follow a very strict, specific set of standards set by New York State. In college, our professors are given much more freedom. I thought about this a lot, and it really opened my mind up to how controlled our primary education is. It’s almost frightening how teachers are given such a specific plan on what to teach and how; it violates their creative license as a teacher. What is even more frightening is that I did not even realize how the system I was part of worked. It was too simple to just follow the motions; I could predict almost every class. We would get to class, do a warm-up, take notes, and if we were lucky we would do a group activity. This would happen for about five classes, then we would have a test, and it would all start over the next class.

These thoughts came back to me during our class discussion about our discomfort with being given the assignment to write freely. We have become so accustomed to these strict guidelines given to teachers, that we as students have lost our ability to be creative in the classroom. It makes me wonder how the teachers must feel? What is the point of all the schooling they went through to learn how to educate if they are given explicit instructions on what to do? It is also disheartening to realize that by going through the motions, we have become dependent on strict guidelines. I look forward to breaking this barrier, and becoming more comfortable without a curriculum.



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