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A few days ago I was invited along with two other colleagues by the collective of the middle students network to answer their questions on the subject of mental health.

The initiative started with a group of teenagers and was carried out by them with great seriousness and attention.

It seemed to me that they were much more concerned with mental health than adults. One of the issues that emerged from the meeting and that worried me is that the school seems to increasingly expect them to be small performing adults rather than adolescents. The pressure to study, the concern for the future, assimilating concepts, completing the program is strong and makes even the kids worry more about “functioning well” rather than growing up.

They are so busy not wasting a second that they wish they had already arrived, be complete, or maybe finished.

I would like to be able to tell him how many times I have changed my mind, project, life. How much bullshit has turned out to be much more important than things done well. How many times should I have avoided being a good girl, a good student, a good worker and instead I should have said “the hell with it!”

I wonder what this monstrous school is that fills kids’ heads with concepts but doesn’t really allow them to be. Yet from the meeting they invited me to, so many questions came out and also a lot of desire to search and get answers. I imagine that even during the long days in the classroom these questions emerge. Why do students feel that adults don’t answer them?

I also wonder if the professors have decided to become teachers to finish the ministerial programs or instead they had a whole other idea in their heads and maybe they too are sick from this situation. But is it possible that doing and knowing have become so much more important than being and growing?

Actually being, feeling and intuiting are the basis of the scientific method. There is no new discovery without observing the world, feeling that this is not good then an intuition and finally a total change of gaze on reality. But for this it takes time and knowledge cannot consist in a rush to gorge students with concepts, even if they were empty boxes to cram objects into.

Perhaps a “no” to this way of thinking about the school should begin to be said and it would be nice to see teachers and students express dissent together on this issue.

I think that even being a teacher running after the program instead of being with the kids is terrible because it can hide many dangers: you can put yourself on a pedestal and pontificate the lesson, you can be distressed by the feeling that you are missing an important part of your work and then there is the most subtle trap … you can feel good because you work less. Because teaching lessons to allow children to change is much more tiring than listing concepts that pupils have to learn.

I hope that the guys will invite me and my colleagues again to continue talking together, to try to answer their questions that have made us think a lot.

Gioia Piazzi


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