Why do you come to school? Friendship, education and the pursuit of happiness

School is friendship

Motivational psychologists and mental coaches are very popular. Regardless of profession, sport or hobby, we often hear that motivation is everything. The Japanese call it Ikigai, a complex and almost magical word, of which it is difficult to find a simple definition in our Western languages: in Italian we can translate it with “reason for being”, “ground of life”. It generally represents the answer to the question of questions: Why do you do what you do every day? But then it would also be appropriate to ask the young people: “Why do you get up in the morning and come to school?”
I did a short anonymous survey, on a fairly significant sample of about a hundred students, between 13 and 19 years old. The confirmation shows that the main motivation is friendship: over 60% of the answers have to do with their classmates, being with colleagues, confiding in each other, telling each other about their difficulties or first love.
The school is one of the main places of communication, socialization, sharing; in an age in which conflicts with parental figures are increasingly intensified. It is also for this reason that we – as teachers – are called to take care of the relationships in the classrooms; without interfering in their affairs, but without forgetting that a good relationship with their companions gives meaning to their days, beyond our good lesson. Therefore, we must be available to listen.

Original and fascinating answers

Among the answers, especially among high school students, the words “education” and “future” are frequent. Education – fortunately – is still considered a fundamental basis for fulfilling professions, and a future richer in … opportunities! Of opportunities, yes, and not of money, which is mentioned by very few students. Teenagers are less cynical than we think, or as some news reports.
Already thirteen-year-olds from middle schools declare that they will do everything to become an excellent lawyer or doctor in ten years or so. In the ranking of the funniest answers, these “whys” are reported:
– I have no better alternative.
– I remember one less day to go on vacation.
– I think after school I will have football training.

Finally, I find on a piece of paper what I think is the best reflection: “Finding happiness, even in those hours at school”.

Prof. Alberto Introini
teacher and writer
@ intro.prof

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