When a Year 10 English teacher at Napier Girls’ High School in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay asked her students to make a speech about a topic they were passionate about, the 15-year-old student, Anela Pritchard rose to the occasion.
However, Pritchard's topic of choice caught the teacher off guard, with the student seizing the moment to deride the school system as stifling to real progress and irrelevant.
“Do I honestly need to know what a = 1+ rn to the 2nd power is in order to get somewhere in life? Do I honestly need to know the structure of a seed and how it works and whatnot? No, I don’t think so,” Pritchard thundered.
“In high school we should be learning about the real world – how to pay my taxes, apply for jobs, mortgage my house, buy a car – things that we will actually use in the future. So far, I’ve only learned that whatever I manage to get done in a short amount of time isn’t enough.”
And she didn’t stop there. Pritchard riled teachers for making students feel “like complete idiots” and “useless”.
“We have all these teachers that don’t enjoy their jobs and are all angry about the cutbacks in their pay cheques, making us feel like complete idiots and making us feel useless,” Pritchard said.
“It’s teachers like this that make us students want to skip class and not go to school because they think we aren’t good enough for a certain subject. Like we are stupid and will never understand it. Teachers are paid to teach us, not paid to hand out a piece of paper with words on it and sit round and do nothing.
“I honestly used to love going to school. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it made me happy to go to school, to meet friends, to learn things that I never knew. But the minute High School starts, it’s either you fly, or you fall. Now I strongly dislike it, and want nothing to do with it.”
Determined to spread her message far and wide, Pritchard later emailed the speech to other school staff, also posting it on Facebook.
The English teacher who set the assignment was left in tears, according to reports by The New Zealand Herald.
The school suspended the student, who is now considering travelling to Australia over the holidays to stay with her brother.