1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I Can't Take it Anymore -- I love to learn, yet I don't like school

  1. Oct 9, 2017 #1
    Hello. I'm an 8th grader who loves physics and math, and I want to be a theoretical physicist and dabble in cosmology and string theory. I am very passionate, very curious, and I love to learn. However, there is one problem.

    School.

    Paradoxical, right? I love to learn, yet I don't like school?

    Well, the problem is the way they teach things.
    For example, geometry. I have already taught myself geometry through books like Euclid's 'The Elements'. I find geometry to be a very inspiring and beautiful subject. Yet, school teaches it in such a boring way. They teach the most simple and inelegant proofs. Also, two column proofs? What serious mathematician has to say, "This is true because of the subtraction property of equality" after he/she subtracts a number from both sides of an equation? My geometry teacher is terrible, gives WAAYY too much homework on stuff that is unbelievably easy, and he always complains that he is swamped with papers to grade (Think about the last sentence for a moment).

    English? Well, I enjoy literature, and especially enjoy writing. However, in English class, they always make us answer questions in a specific method, the restate answer prove method. I don't like writing according to a specific instruction.

    Here is a sample question with the first answer similar to an answer I would personally give, and the second an answer in which I have to use to get a good grade.

    "In the short story, what do you think the sun represents?"

    1 (How I would write)
    "In the poem, the sun probably represents happiness. I deduced the sun to be happiness through plentiful textual support, such as blah blah. The sun can also be this and that as that and this blah blah. However, the latter possibilities are not as well supported in the text. So, I can conclude that the sun represents happiness in this story."

    2(The school method)

    "In the story, the sun symbolizes happiness. In the text, it states (blah blah blah). Also in the text, it states (blah blah blah). This proves why the sun symbolizes happines in this story."

    The blahs and this and thats are just filling in for textual evidence.

    I feel like a robot when I write like number 2, and it is painful for my own brain to have to write down such a boring, down-to-Earth answer. Even if my way isn't as grammatically correct.

    Science? Give me a break. What they teach in science class is LITERALLY THE SAME EVERY YEAR. Seriously! Last year, the scientific method and the water cycle. This year, the scientific method and the water cycle.

    I am also incredibly bored in school. I don't mean to sound like I'm a brat, I'm not self-centered, but the stuff in school is too easy for me. When I have to sit through a 50 minute class about what evaporation is, I frequently find myself pondering the strangeness of the quantum world, or the curving spacetime of general relativity. (Of course, I don't think of the math, as I don't even know linear algebra yet. I ponder the relationship between physical and mathematical representations of the world most of the time). I usually smile as I imagine the 3d grid of spacetime stretching out infront of me into th infinite, and a star curving the gridlines around it inward. That smile fades away when the teacher places a packet of questions about the water cycle in front of me, and as my vision of spacetime fades away. It sucks.

    I try to tell my parents this, but they just say, "When you get into high school you can pick your classes, and classes will be more challenging." I am not convinced of this. I feel as if school will keep lowering my enthusiasm for subjects. I feel like when I get to high school physics, it will just be about memorizing formulas and not seeing why they work or how they were derived. I am currently teaching myself the beautiful math of calculus, but I feel like when we get to calculus, the teacher will just give us equations to memorize, rather than telling us why they work or how they were derived.

    Ever since school started, I have gotten more irritable, I have had a shorter temper, and my depression has been on the increase.

    I am at the beginning of a two week break, but I'm already starting to dread school. Dread the homework, the memorization, the boring proofs, the stupid answering methods, the laughable teaching methods, etc.

    I am sorry for the long post. Can somebody please just give me some advice?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 9, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 9, 2017 #2

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yes it is a long post, and I did not read all of it yet. Current comment is you need to use the program as given. Learn the subjects and courses which you're in and do things the way you are directed. That is part of what you need to learn. You are not giving Geometry the faith that it deserves. You need to learn the method (like two-column proofs) within your capability, and at the edge of your capability, and maybe something slightly beyond your capability. Something to understand about learning is that you learn to handle "simple" exercises before you learn to handle more complicated or difficult exercises, which is why some method is first used on simple things and later you use these methods for harder things.
     
  4. Oct 9, 2017 #3

    fresh_42

    Staff: Mentor

    What you describe is a phenomenon that is usually observed when especially smart kids have to deal with school. A school is a place full of compromises to assure that at least some basics reach each student. Also the way of measurement in place doesn't necessarily reflect the level of knowledge.

    You can speak to your parents and figure out whether you can change the school. At some places are schools, which are especially for the gifted students. Another more pragmatic possibility is to jump into a higher class. I don't know whether this is possible at your place, but it should be. Both of these solutions, however, depend on given circumstances which you cannot have influence on, at least not in the sense that it would be your own decision.

    You mentioned Euclid's elements. It's fantastic, that you've read them, and that you now turn to calculus. One important advice: stop comparing those contents with what is dealt with at school. Both are two rather different ways to consider the matter. And they serve different goals. E.g. if you read a real book about calculus, then you learn a lot you won't find at school, and if, probably completely differently presented. So what? Consider school as your workout, and your books as your home. They might even be complementary. A friend of mine once told me: "The genius is not the one with the brilliant idea at night, but the one who elaborates on it the next morning." There's much truth to it. You can learn a lot in advance, e.g. to study mathematics or physics and latest at the university it will pay off that you already know things others just started to learn. But to know how the theorem of Pythagoras generalizes to non right triangles is worth nothing, if you can't do calculations with it. I could give better examples, but I don't know you well enough. So consider school as training ground and your books as the place to feel home. In the end are both important in a way. If I was you, I would try to learn something, which is not taught at school. An easy and very useful example would be group theory or linear algebra, which only in parts are learnt at school. And in physics, you could learn classical mechanics. But don't compare them with school. Since school by concept has to provide knowledge in a much broader way, it cannot excellent in parts. It simply isn't meant to be. But there is enough to learn apart from that. More than enough.
     
  5. Oct 9, 2017 #4

    DS2C

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    At least your geometry teacher didnt sleep at his desk every day because he was doped up on oxycontin.
    Hating class isnt out of the ordinary. I despised my classes in high school, now I want the weekend to go by faster so I can get back into my classes for monday.
    You dont get to pick to learn only what you like and what you think is interesting. They key is to take pride in doing well, and finding a way to apply it somehow. Much more intelligent and experienced people than you and I chose the material for a reason.
    I also might say to try to test out of certain classes if you find them too easy. Its easy to get bored and unmotivated when youre not challenged. I agree that k-12 school sucks...
     
  6. Oct 9, 2017 #5

    PhanthomJay

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You are likely a well above average student. Often the courses are watered down because the typical student can't handle anything more than the minimum basics. Are you getting good grades in spite of your displeasure? I'm with your parents about how things might change in high school, but you must choose a high school that is well respected for its STEM courses,if one is nearby. Financial Aid may be possible if you choose a private school. I doubt any however will get too deep into cosmology or quantum physics. I suggest finding a school that offers or requires the study of Latin in its first year. That's a good sign.
    I know a geometry high school teacher who teaches geometry. I asked him how the students handle doing the proofs and QED. He laughed and said he doesn't do proofs because the students would never understand how to do them. So you don't want to get into s school like that. Shop around, speak to your guidance counselor or someone in the school you respect.
     
  7. Oct 9, 2017 #6

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Please do not let the current bad situation fuel a hatred of school. Things will get better, and you will grow to appreciate and enjoy school as you move to more advanced levels.

    Your situation sounds a lot like mine in about grades 7-8-9, but I was lucky that my school did have advanced course options, with more self-study for the few most advanced students. I consider myself very lucky for having that opportunity.

    A few ideas/thoughts:
    • Offer to help out some of your teachers with grading papers or presenting some parts of class. If they trust you based on your performance, this is a good way to help them out, and to keep your sanity in what would otherwise be very boring basic classes. I was once recruited to teach my 7th grade class for a day because the teacher was out sick and no substitute teacher could be located. It worked pretty well because (most of) the rest of the class knew my abilities, and trusted me.
    • Do you have local community college classes available to you? I took a few in high school, which gave me some advanced placement credits for college entrance, and also challenged me some and provided some very enjoyable distraction from high school.
    • Does your school have a Physics Club? A Math Club? A Science Fair? If not, consider talking to some of the teachers or admins about starting them. That's a great way to elevate the level of the teaching and help to inspire others to get more interested in STEM.
    • Do you have interests in some team sports that are available to you? They are a good way to round out your school experience and gain the trust of others in your classes. Think "Scholar Athlete" as you progress through Junior High and High School...
    Hope that helps some. Try to work past the frustration with creative ways to challenge yourself and keep preparing yourself for when school gets more challenging and much more rewarding. :smile:
     
  8. Oct 9, 2017 #7

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Very general but interesting posting. IN HIGH SCHOOL, the Geometry course, if along the line of college preparatory, must teach two-column proofs; otherwise, the course is deficient without a doubt. Hopefully course quality has not changed so badly.
     
  9. Oct 9, 2017 #8

    ISamson

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    May I ask, what country are you in?
    Please feel free not to answer if that bothers you.:smile::smile:

    This means PF would be very good for you!
     
  10. Oct 9, 2017 #9

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Thinkaholic, I just finished reading first post on this topic. I have some empathy. In the jr. high, you are limited but if this is the best available there, things will or should be much better in high school. Even some of the English courses may be better. You and your parents and maybe some of your current teachers know you best, so any advice from physicsforums might not be exactly the advice you need.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2017 #10

    ISamson

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Why?
     
  12. Oct 9, 2017 #11
    You should look into getting into a GATE program or a magnet school.

    Despite the common denominator of public schools being the worst learners out of differing reasons, there are programs that reward and try and accelerate or focus on the faster learners or more competent types.

    Best regards.
     
  13. Oct 9, 2017 #12

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    This:
     
  14. Oct 9, 2017 #13

    fresh_42

    Staff: Mentor

    Because you never have all the information. Every person learns differently and many aspects of a good advice depend on personal attributes. Also in such cases there are often hidden primary causes and what is discussed openly might only be consequences and not the causes. Everybody who answered so far, has been restricted to their own experiences and personality. This provides a good overview and maybe helpful answers, but might as well miss the target. A deep analysis is impossible, and here is not the place to share private information. We always ask for sources in our technical forums and a complete description of problems in our homework forums, because we know that this is needed for appropriate responses. Those information can easily be shared publicly, personal circumstances on the other hand should not and obey far stricter rules.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
  15. Oct 9, 2017 #14

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    We just do not know him well enough yet. Also Thinkaholic is still in junior highschool.
     
  16. Oct 9, 2017 #15

    ISamson

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    But why would advice from PF not be exactly the advice @Thinkaholic needs?
     
  17. Oct 9, 2017 #16

    symbolipoint

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Post #9, #12, #13, #14.

    Otherwise, Thinkaholic can tell us who was right ---- in maybe two or three years from now.
     
  18. Oct 9, 2017 #17

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    @Thinkaholic Do you have options where you live to take courses online? Then you can take courses at the speed at which you need, not impeded by other students. You need to ask what is available to you. Here in Kansas, public school students can choose to take their courses at home online at their own pace instead of attending class.

    Talk to your school counselors if your parents won't listen to you. Google your school system, see what they offer.
     
  19. Oct 10, 2017 #18

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    One of the most important lessons you need to take is how to deal with the reality, which NEVER is what we want it to be. Life is a @%^$#, you know.
     
  20. Oct 10, 2017 #19

    ISamson

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I am in year 7 and started off in a mainstram classroom. Them I got moved to HPL (High Performance Learning) because the mainstream class was too easy and I got very high grades. The HPL class is so much better and more interesting. They teach so much better and most importantly my classmates in HPL are (way) more studious and well educated than my previous ones.
    I live in Australia.
     
  21. Oct 10, 2017 #20

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    I am glad to hear about the emphasis on the scientific method.

    That is essential in science. Scientific journals require adherence to specific instructions to enable communication of the evidence supporting a conclusion in a structured format that the readers expect. If your goals are as you stated then you will need to learn to do exactly this.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: I Can't Take it Anymore -- I love to learn, yet I don't like school
Loading...