Does School Prepare Us for Life?

by Vera Jagielski

How well does the school prepare us for life outside of the academics? When we leave the school after graduating will we be able to handle everything that the world throws our way? Will we be prepared enough to endure everything that adulthood requires? Will we know everything that adulthood requires?

A while back I came across an article written by a former student of ASW, discussing the good and the bad in the school system. It got me wondering what do people who work and study at the school currently think; how well is the school preparing us for life outside of academics?

According to what both Tim Munnerlyn, one of the high school counselors, and Julia A., a 10th grade student, had to say about the topic, there are some changes that students want to see, some of them already in the works.

The overall idea of communicating how the subjects we study in school relate to the outside world we live in is pretty well done by our school.

Being an international school, ASW also offers many opportunities to see how other people live their lives. CAS projects let us also explore the world through our own eyes and look at other lifestyles; however this is an activity only for IB Diploma students rather than lower grades. When asked if the school presents a variety of different lifestyles, Julia said that this is not really done, other than when sometimes there is a project where we can study and research freely about something we like or are interested in.

Currently the school does not teach students how to do normal life skills such as cooking, cleaning, paying taxes, etc. According to Mr. Munnerlyn, The school is planning on trying to add this to the advisory program of the school, though, Julia A., believes that some of these things might not even be necessary to teach in school.

Mr. Munnerlyn also stated that the school is also trying to add more talk about sexuality and identity with a wider-ranging health class.

Personally, I do find that I have learned interpersonal skills in class that I will use outside of academic life.

However, I find certain things I do not know about life outside of school. The biggest missing piece in my time at ASW has been the lack of an overall health program, one which explores different things ranging from sexual health to overall health.

The school seems to be trying to include some of this in the Physical Health programme, with this years 10th graders having a health unit. But if I ran the school, I would add more to the health programme. This year’s 10th graders are having sex-ed, I would keep this. But I would add more dietary information. Though nutrition was the topic of 8th grade health programme, I don’t think there was enough inclusion of different diets such as vegetarianism, veganism, being paleo, and so forth. I think it would be beneficial to teach students where the food they eat comes from, not learn just about what lands on your plate.

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