I have known about School-Survival.net for a long time. Today I decided to make a special page about it. The final inspiration for doing so was reading the creator's personal profile. Suffice it to say that tears started to form in my eyes as I read it.
It is rare when I see someone with as much personal strength as SoulRiser. I read her interview with Doc Johnson and learned she was bullied at school. And that she has always been quiet. She sounds very much like the teens who find my website when they are in extreme emotional pain. But it seems she got more emotional support at home than the teens who write to us here at EQI. As far as I know she has never been self-harming or suicidal.
My partner, also a quiet person who was bullied at school, didn't get that kind of emotional support. When she was in high school she nearly hung herself with a rope in the school bathroom. School was one of the things which was literally killing her. She hadn't known about school-survival.net. Maybe it would have heleped her. In fact, I am sure it would have.
In her interview with Doc Johnson, SoulRiser said that people who come to her site feel less alone. It is the same with my site. Our sites offer emotional support, and maybe I can say intellectual support for people who don't conform, don't believe all the propoganda they are fed by schools and others.
Anyhow, I may put some links to particular articles from the SS site here. But I want to say that the school survival site is an important site. It is part of history. It is part of opening people's eyes. Of letting them see the problems in society and see some options for alternatives.
I admire what SoulRiser is doing. I support it 100 percent. And I feel inspired by what she is doing.
WHAT MAKES ME SMILE:
Here are excerpts. The whole interview is here.
Doc Johnson: When and why did you
start School Survival? Give as much detail as possible
about the process and your thinking at the time.
I started School Survival in 1999,
when I was in Grade 11. At the time, the only reason I
started it was because every day when I came home from
school, I was angry and frustrated. I decided that I
needed to write things down, to get it out of my system.
Doc Johnson: What, specifically, did you *not* like about school.
I was bullied and picked on since
grade one, because I was always a quiet person and didn't
really talk to people. I never liked the work much
either, most of it was boring and I only did it to
"get it over with". The only subject I ever
liked was Art.
There are a lot of things I hope for in my fondest dreams. In reality, one site can only do so much. All I can realistically hope to accomplish is that the site will be a place where you can go, and be accepted for who you are, you can get all your frustrations about school out of your system, without everyone telling you it's wrong, or that you'll amount to nothing in life because of it. In that sense, I could hope for School Survival to be a sort of stepping-stone towards making things better. If more people could realise just how many people there are in the world who don't like the way schools work, maybe they could work together and make it easier for everyone to get out and try alternatives, or come up with much better alternatives. It would of course help a lot if more parents would actually listen to their kids instead of judging everything they say - but old habits die hard.
Doc Johnson: 3. Explain why and how
you learned to do web design, and so forth. I assume that
you learned it outside of a school, so how did that work?
It was shortly after I had acquired internet access in 1998, and I got curious as to how websites were made, so I basically just started messing around ...
...I started School Survival in 1999. It wasn't until 2000 that I started learning about server-side programming, by installing a few Perl scripts to handle the comments on School Survival....
In college (2002) I actually took a web design course. It was quite amusing how the things they taught us were mostly things I had taught myself in 1998, and most of their techniques were considered old-fashioned by other webdesigners I had spoken with. The other students in my class actually asked ME how to do things rather than ask the teacher. In retrospect, I probably should have studied something else. The course did more to put me off web design than make me look forward to making sites for other people.
Doc Johnson: What are some of the
advantages and disadvantages of learning in an
The most major advantage I think is
that you can do it your own way. You don't have to
conform to other people's standards which may not work
well for you. You can do it at your own pace, as quickly
or as slowly as you want to or need to. If you're
particularly interested in something, you can spend as
much time on it as you want, without being forced to
"move on" to the next chapter.
If you know of someone who may be
able to help, you can ask them. If not, you can find
almost any information on the internet - quite possibly
even a step-by-step guide. There are many online forums
that have a section where you can ask about schoolwork -
which would probably still be relevant even if it's not
technically "schoolwork". If you don't have
internet, your options are more limited, but there's
still always the library.
It probably could. It would involve a mindset change on the behalf of almost everyone involved in running schools, as well as many teachers. If schools could be considered more as places one can go and do research and receive guidance as needed or requested, instead of places you go and receive rigid instruction, then I think they would cater both for people who want to do things their own way, and people who want to be guided a lot more.
Excerpts from Email between teacher and SouRiser
Teacher - I did not become an educator to be liked by the students. I am in the classroom to help the students reach their greatest potential possible. This means pushing them beyond their "comfort zone" which is very small. This is why teachers are perceived as "mean" or "rude." Based on the conversation, I make the assumption that you are a student. If you are having a problem with a particular teacher, talk to that teacher. Be nice, courteous and respectful and 99.99% of all teachers will return the attitudes.
Teacher - If you are worried about the attitude of your teachers, I would suggest that you start with your own attitude. If you are truly interested (or at least engaged) in the conversations and lessons of a class, the teacher's attitude will shift to a more pleasant nature. Teachers can tell who wants to be in their classes and who doesn't.
Other EQI.org Topics:
Search EQI.org | Support EQI.org
Online Consulting, Counseling Coaching from EQI.org
Teen Girl's Bullicide in Massachusettes
John Taylor Gatto Article - The Public School Nightmare: Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought?
Education System Designed to keep us docile
Excerpts: In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood Cubberlythe future Dean of Education at Stanfordwrote that schools should be factories "in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products...manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry."
William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, wrote: The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.
...the captains of industry and government explicitly wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately. We were to become good worker-drones...
"There is nothing on earth intended
for innocent people so horrible as a school" -
George Bernard Shaw (Nobel Prize winner)
Quotes are from here
If you are interested in the issue of suicide you can try this site search from Google. There are a lot of interesting articles, forum posts etc. about it on the School Survival site.
This is the actual search expression:
Rebellion is not just a phase
Teen Rebellion is not just a phase
Teens rebel because society is messed up, not
because of their hormones
We all have heard the term teenage rebellion. Its conventional wisdom that teens go through a period of turbulent adolescence beforeit is hopedthey settle down and become mature, productive adults.
Recently, the media and sections of the scientific community have concluded that because brain scans show the teen brain operates differently than the average adult brain this explains the behavior. Its all in your head, therefore, the acting out and rebellion are just a normal part of growing up.
At the Home School Legal Defense Association, we have been skeptical of the idea that theres an inevitable teenage rebellion. Through anecdotal evidence, we knew many parents with homeschooled teens were not experiencing the traditional teen rebellion.
Furthermore, the 2004 study Homeschooling Grows Up shows that homeschooled teens are successfully integrating into society. There was little evidence of teenage rebellion and significant numbers of students demonstrated their maturity by being involved in community activities. They also reported generally good relationships with their parents.
Teens are much more intelligent and capable than we realize. We need to have greater expectations for teens by giving them greater responsibilities.
Most homeschoolers have consistently maintained that the institutional school, with its necessary one-size-fits-all approach to education, constrains the teenagers natural ability to learn and advance rapidly and, at the same time, exposes them to negative peer influences. The environment of the institutional school might be the place to start looking if we are trying to uncover some of the causes of teenage rebellion.
Homeschoolers are not alone in their skepticism of the current explanation for antisocial teen behavior. A challenge to the conventional wisdom also has been offered by psychologist Robert Epstein, whose work was published in the April-May 2007 issue of Scientific American Mind.
His main point is the way teens are treated in society, by parents, institutional schools, the entertainment media and other government agencies is more likely the cause of the observable differences in the way the teen brain operates. He asks the questionDid the brains cause the turmoil, or did the turmoil shape the brains?
He points out that if teen rebellion was simply a function of the brain we should see the phenomenon across all cultures and all time. This isnt the case. The majority of pre-industrial cultures, where teens spent most of their time with adults, didnt develop a word for adolescent and most of the young males in these cultures didnt display antisocial behavior. Also, a series of long-term studies began in the 1980s show that delinquency increased when Western-style schooling, television and movies were introduced to non-Western countries.
He also suggests that if the answer to behavioral problems is to restore normal brain chemistry, the pharmaceutical industry would actively support this position due to the increasing use of drugs to address behavioral problems. If society is the main culprit driving teen behavior, however, then the solutions are very different from administering more drugs.
It is our view that teens have been shortchanged. So much more can be accomplished by teens if they are allowed to flourish in a home-based environment. They have so much potential, but unfortunately have been constrained by a system that doesnt serve them well.
Homeschooling has begun to give the wider society a glimpse of what can be achieved by simply returning to an individualistic home-based model where teens spend most of their time with adults learning how to become mature citizens.
We encourage parents of teens to carefully consider homeschooling because history shows teens are very capable and that we are at risk if we dont prepare the next generation adequately for the challenges we all face every day.
Original article at: http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/washingtontimes/200705070.asp