Tara’s Take: School does not prepare you for the real world

It is 7 a.m. and you are waiting to turn onto Lockwood. The light turns green and you press the gas pedal, but your car won’t move. Next thing you know, smoke is coming out of the hood. You put on your hazards, and immediately panic. You are one unexcused tardy away from getting a detention, but the school will understand right? After all, school is supposed to prepare you for the real world.

It is very common to hear how school prepares individuals for the working world. Besides academic material, school teaches important information about punctuality, time management and how to interact with others, which are all useful skills needed for the work force. Work and school should be seen as twins, since their skills and environment are supposed to be the same.

However, this is not the case. There are numerous examples about how school and work are completely different, and if I named every instance, you would still be reading the list 100 years from now. But, I can cover the biggest problems.

The tardy system policy is the easiest to pick on. While I do understand that the school must create a definitive list of excused reasons for being tardy, they should make some exceptions. Look at the car breaking down as an example. If you are late to work because your car breaks down, I doubt your boss will ask for a note from the mechanic who fixed your car, and I doubt that your boss will give you a hero pass.

Lunch is another big one. You have 30 minutes to shove food down our throat in a confined area that feels as small as a dog cage. I get that they have to control all the students and watch them, so maybe being shoved into one small lunch room isn’t a bad idea after all. At least you can eat with your friends, if you find a table to sit at of course.

One of school’s main goals is to teach independence, but I never understood when teachers said “Nobody will hold your hand in the real world,” and then proceed to basically give us all the answers to the assignment and hold our hand. It can’t be labeled as independent work when the teacher has the answer key that you can look at every three seconds. Obviously little kids need that kind of guidance, but if seniors need answers handed to them on a silver platter, that is a problem. And if teachers feel the need to give answers away to almost adults, maybe we need to rethink our education system.

School and work are two different environments, and that is okay. Different environments have different rules, conditions and expectations. However, we should stop telling students about how school completely prepares them for the real world. While school teaches lots of important skills useful for work, many other experiences introduce students to skills that are impossible to teach in a classroom. We were always taught that honesty is the best policy, so maybe we should start following that rule when talking about how similar school and work are.