Don’t Be Boring

I was just cleaning the toilet and got inspired to blurt out a quick post. This has been something on my mind for a while.

We need to teach kids not to be boring.

Yes, crass, I know. There are more eloquent and persuasive ways to put this, but, as my students would say, whatever.

I think one of the biggest crises in education is that we perpetuate boringness at every turn. Boring, as in, in-one-ear-out-the-other. Boring, as in, the second I can flush this from my history of experiences, I shall. From our passing down of the Powerpoint Me To Death to our explicit teaching of standardized responses, there’s soporificness at every turn. We’re not just tacitly supporting it; we’re teaching it.

Of course, this in no way implies that we need to make learning cooler or funkier. We don’t need to have an auto-tuned pop version of the national anthem in the morning, or have iPads and cool apps in every kid’s hands. Boring, certainly, is subjective.

I’m simply talking about ridding ourselves of all moments where we explicitly and implicitly teach one another to be boring. I’m speaking of those huge ‘projects’ we outsource to students in groups that encourage regurgitation of facts and mindless script reading. I’m pointing at system initiatives delivered by people who don’t like questions being asked. I’m blaring at external accountability measures that essentially denounce dynamic and divergent means of communication.

There are too many great books to read, blogs to write, music to dance to, video games to get lost in, for us to spend time being boring.



  1. My previous school used something called the “Better Answer Formula” for responding to essay prompts, and one of the things that most drove me nuts about it was that it produced extremely boring writing.

  2. Couldn’t agree with this more. I think one of the biggest obstacles here is that the perception that many educators have of great learning is a painstaking, laborious, detail-oriented type of experience. High school should not be like med school or law school.

  3. School seems boring because we have students sit in 12 years of classes they never signed up for. In many cases they don’t want to be there. School feels like a sentence, so like a prisoner, they do what they’re told and what they need to do to get by (or get out). You are right. It’s not about gadgets or tech. What it is about is helping students find their talents, interests, and passions. Once they’re able to discover and pursue what delights them, school will cease to be boring for those serving time or for those hired to ensure they do.

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