With all our educational problems in California, people have been trying to figure out what's gone wrong. Some say it's the funding; the money is not going to the right places. Others say we need to pick better teachers, or pay our current teachers more. Still even more people blame the government and the broken system. But the real problem, however, lies in the students' lack of motivation. Even though great strides have been made to improve California's school system's curriculum, the single biggest thing would be to help students find more motivation.
The problem right now is that students can't see or plan for the future, so they feel like they have no reason study or do well in school. In the eyes of a high school sophomore, which would they rather do: study for that math test (why do they need math anyway?) or go and hang out with their friends? Unfortunately, many of today's kids wouldn't pick the math test. Mary Sherry, in "In Praise of the F Word," uses her son as an example of how motivation can effect a student's performance. After Sherry went to his school to talk to his high school English teacher, she told him, "She's going to flunk you." Sherry was evidently impressed by what a difference some motivation could make, because she explains that, "Suddenly, English became a priority in his life. He finished out the semester with an A' (Sherry par 6). This is a perfect example of motivation, because when faced with the decision to suck it up for a semester or attend summer school, he was suddenly able to study and end the class with an A. This example shows that teachers, government, and parents don't need to push, pester, or lower standards for today's students. The thing they really should be doing, though, is providing kids with a glimpse of their future, because that's the best motivation.
A good example of what a glimpse of the future could do to a student is what happened to my brother Alex.