Solving The Snoozefest: Why School Bores Us

School is so boring. This is a sentiment that many CB students share as their cries of boredom are heard throughout the halls every day. With a new year comes new classes, new teachers, lots of homework, and many chances to find yourself staring off without a care in the world for what’s on the […]

School is so boring.

This is a sentiment that many CB students share as their cries of boredom are heard throughout the halls every day. With a new year comes new classes, new teachers, lots of homework, and many chances to find yourself staring off without a care in the world for what’s on the whiteboard. It’s always an uphill battle trying to navigate the day with so much new information flowing in one ear and out the other. So what are those factors that bore us during those 75-minute periods? Your teacher might be dragging on the lesson, maybe your surroundings don’t inspire you enough to take notes, or you’ve had your last straw with the workload. Some of these things make us dread going to class, day in and day out.

The environment and teaching styles of classes make a huge difference between boring and engaging. When the teacher wants to be there and have a good time with the students, it makes all the difference and even helps learning flow better.

“You can just tell that [boring teachers] don’t want to be there and that they are just there to get their paycheck,” Mikelia Ghelfi (‘24) shares. A harsh way to describe a lackluster teacher, but it gets the point across. 

“When teachers are like ‘I have my schedule and I’m sticking to that,’ it makes it seem so rigid and there’s no room to have fun and you’re just there to learn,” Mikelia asserts. “That’s not a fun class.”

It’s not just teachers who make classes boring for students — the style of learning and workload also play a factor in a student’s interest. As I question Parker Clymer-Engelhart (‘24) on the specifics of why classes are boring, he stumbles into his answer, finally realizing what he dislikes the most. 

“Sitting down and paying attention to lectures. Being talked to. I’m more of a hands-on kinda guy.”

Parker doing some “hands-on learning.”

Starting to rush through the rest of his answer as we’re waiting in the lunch line and his turn is almost up, Parker concludes that a boring class boils down to a few things. “A lot of lectures, no hands-on learning, a lot of work. A little homework is fine, but like way too much, like multiple hours of my day just taken up by it — it’s not fun.”

Speaking of fun, Shane Shriock (‘24) offered a new perspective on the perception that school is boring. “I would like to provide a contradictory argument. I would actually like to argue that school is very fun and I find a lot of entertainment with it because I have all my friends here.” I think the word you were looking for was a counterargument, but I digress. 

Jacob Sawtelle (‘24) suddenly interrupts Shane as he provides context for said counterclaim. “This is the guy that last year said he peaked in junior year of high school.” 

After taking that like a champ, I bring Shane back on track and he identifies the subject of the class as the main gripe he has with school. “If you like reading and writing stories, then obviously you’re going to like English. But you know, I’m a science guy, and also I’m kind of illiterate so obviously I don’t like reading that much.” Taking his words into consideration, I think he’s not a huge fan of his literature classes.

Katie Jones (‘24) says class length is the number one reason behind the mundane school day. “I think that if we had shorter classes it would be more engaging.”

It’s not just the 75 minutes that bore Katie, but the temperature in the classroom affects how alert she is. “If it’s too cold, it’s falling asleep. If it’s too hot, it’s falling asleep.” Seems like you can’t win on either side of the spectrum. 

Now that we know what bores the students, I want to pose another question: do our educators get bored of their jobs? They teach the material day in and day out to multiple classes, so to us students, it seems that boredom would eventually befall our teachers.

In talking to Mr. Larry Reel ‘91, I learned that it’s actually the opposite — the job never seems to be a wrinkle in his day. “I don’t get bored teaching a number of classes, subject matter, in the sense that I enjoy my subject.” 

His fascination with his work has allowed him to explore these avenues and to make learning for himself and his students a better experience. “I’m constantly tweaking with it to make it interesting for the students, I hope, but also to keep piquing my interest to keep pushing myself to understand and convey, in my context, World History or Economics.” 

The classroom dynamic thrives when both parties want to be there. “All of sudden they are reading and writing and it’s creating that relationship — it’s a two-way street,” Mr. Reel says. “Teaching is not boring when you have a relationship with the students.”

Knowing that the task of teaching doesn’t bore him, I flipped the question onto the topic of students being bored. He seems to have done some digging on this topic already. “I think, and there is some research to support this, that a lot of students get bored with school because they have very little say in what and when they are learning things — there is not a lot of choice.” 

Leaning more into the question, I bring up the engagement factor, and we discuss how it is affected by the type of student and how they learn best. Mr. Reel admits he struggles with integrating activities into his lessons because he didn’t like that kind of learning as a student. He eventually draws the conclusion that CB’s student body is drawn more toward active participation.

“Every student is different,” he says. “But I think that there are a lot of students here that, when you have those very physically engaging learning activities, they are at least on the surface a lot more engaged because kids are asked to move around and do stuff.”

The history teacher’s final note on how to be fully focused on our education is that we combine our learning and interests to develop our skills with the ability to choose what we learn. When we do get that option, it can be overwhelming to find a good starting point.

But that freedom is what he thinks we need to become fully engrossed with the learning process. “Students aren’t given a lot of choice. They are not trusted with that choice, they are not trusted with their own education. It’s paramount that students are engaged with what they are learning, how they are learning, and given some latitude to do things.”

Every student is different. They all have various reasons for why they might doze off in the middle of a lecture or find themselves playing whatever new trendy iPad game has just hit the market. The solution to our school-wide boredom doesn’t seem to have a clear answer that will magically erase any indifference, and some of our grievances are out of our hands when it comes to fixing them. We can start by looking for the fun behind what we perceive to be meaningless and boring because our life is what we make it and making it boring is the last thing you should strive for.

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