School makes me

Something’s seriously wrong with our system when ye olde Google search brings up this:

School makes me


But maybe I get those results because I want schools to change and that’s reflected in my online surfing. Anyone get anything substantially different?

March 11 addendum. We just asked 5 students at New Tech High in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to complete this phrase. They said…

  • enjoy school
  • have fun
  • be ready to be someone
  • proficient
  • feel like it’s one big family and I can talk to anyone

40 Responses to “School makes me”

  1. That was my first thought – that it was YOUR custom set of results. I got virtually the same list, though.

  2. How many ways can you end the phrase “school makes me” in a positive way?

    I think that while the suggested searches here are a bit depressing, it’s worth noting that the language that started the search is somewhat leading.

    • School makes me…

      feel safe

      and so on?

      • Yes, those all complete the sentence, but that is not how we use the phrase “makes me” in our language. We would say “makes me so” or use a different form of language.

        See this post wherein the author has explored other variants:

        I’m not trying to suggest that schools are amazing, awesome places. I have written about many different issues I see in the systems of schools, but I just think our argument is stronger if we don’t rely on autocomplete suggestions to make it.

      • School makes me….
        feel important
        be creative
        hungry for more
        think outside the box
        the person I want to be
        see other sides and opinions
        believe in myself
        yearn to make a difference
        Wouldn’t it be nice if these phrases turned up?

  3. Scott, not only did I get the same list, but the first two results were even more disheartening. See here:

    The results for “learning makes me” are a little more promising. See here:

    Of course, the rough logical conclusion from this is that most schools aren’t about learning. Sigh.

  4. Great research idea: Do this activity with all ages of students. Compare results from elementary, middle school and high school students. Any doctoral students out there? Any teachers in our own classrooms willing to take the risk? Administrators, what would your students say?

  5. I got drepressed, feel stupid, and sad. Very sad 🙁

  6. I got the same as Becky G…so equally sad…

  7. In addition to your list, Scott, I also got School makes me: sick, hate life, want to kill myself, cry. Yikes. 🙁

  8. Scott,

    I had to try it and I got the same thing. Sad state of affairs that it has come to this. Time to grab the bull by the horns and change this image!

  9. The results I got on Bing were even more depressing. What does this mean is going on in our schools?

  10. Perhaps we’re misunderstanding the nature of the web. It’s often a place to voice frustration and anger. Type in “my parents make me” and the list is equally disturbing. Should this raise alarm? Of course not.

    • I wouldn’t see that as good news. There’s probably a fair degree of parity between the way a culture parents and the way it operates schools.

      • Yes, that’s true, but my point is that I think we’re misvaluing Google results as though they’re illustrative of how the majority of kids interpret the school experience. Google doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t represent the voice of the majority. For instance, the Google search “my friends make me” leads to the same results. Do friends as a whole make people feel depressed, left out, stupid? Try “parties make me.” Top three answers: anxious, sad, nervous. For some perhaps. Or how about “my husband makes me”? Answers are “wear diapers (!), depressed, cry, feel stupid.”

        All I’m saying is that this type of reactive response to schools leads to stereotypes. Google searches do not provide data about how students experience school. Do I think schools are fully meeting students’ needs and developing their aspirations? No, but I didn’t come to that conclusion with a Google search.

        • Ask any high school student, as myself, and they’ll tell you that those search results are majority.

        • You may be surprised by this but being a student in high school, who is still doing homework at 11:10, I think the google search is fairly accurate. also I tested your “friends make me search” and the first thing that came up is friends make me happy. Also, many kids actually dislike school or at least dislike something about school. I hardly ever hear a positive comment about the school from anyone but a teacher or parent sometimes. Actually, some parents don’t even like the school system. I can say I do enjoy parts of my school, but there is a lot of bull crap too. Like homework, I love homework XD. Not

    • I disagree that the web is the place to voice our frustrations. In class, I hear countless stories about how awful my own acquaintances are treated at home. I hear it more in person. It should most DEFIANTLY raise alarms for adults. With 1 in 5 teenagers cutting themselves and the percentage of teens with depression, I haven’t the faintest clue why people aren’t worrying about them now. We try to get adults to listen to us, because teens are ignored because we are ‘young’ but to be honest, I’ve heard the wisest and most intelligent sayings from my generation.

    • You need to look, and I mean really look at this whole entire thing.

      “Type in “my parents make me” and the list is equally disturbing. Should this raise alarm? Of course not.”

      Of course not?

      If someone is suicidal, or even unhappy by any means, this should definitely raise the alarm.
      If something as ‘disturbing’ as suicide by young students does not ‘raise the alarm’ for you, then I pray for your children.

      Put yourself in our shoes. High School students have the same anxiety levels as mental patients in the 1950’s. This means that we would all be put in mental facilities in that day and age.

      Here’s a fresh thought to wake up to every morning; “My child belongs in a mental asylum. My child along with all other acquaintances will essentially run the world tomorrow. Should this raise the alarm, though?
      Well, of course not.”

      • I was taking issue with using Google search as a barometer of our youth’s perspective on the value of school. Type in any noun and “makes me” and you’ll find the same results. The issue is with the verb “makes.”

        If you want to change schools to make them more student-centered, student-led, inspiring places where people are celebrated for their gifts and talents (which frankly has been my life’s work thus far), then I think it is important to focus on arguments that can gain traction, not ones based on hyperbole or misplaced invective.

  11. In addition to these, I am getting “school makes me feel good about me” and “school makes me feel good about me essay”.

    Quick investigation shows this SEO is happening because of a contest offering kids $250 and $500 to write an essay with that title. Enough said.

  12. Same.

  13. I got a mix of good and bad when I tried “School is” using Bing. The first two were “cool” and “fun” and then “prison.”

  14. I think you’d be doing school right if a snow day didn’t result in such pure unbridled joy from everyone involved in the process of schooling. We seem to have accepted culturally that school will be a miserable experience for students and teachers to the point that it’s an open joke.

    • What’s the saying? How many kids run into a school as fast as they run out?

    • Every time there’s a snow day, my Facebook feed blows up with people wishing they could have a snowday off from work.

      I do not believe school is different from the vast majority of jobs most people hold.

      Yes, that’s a sad statement on our *society* but it’s just that: a statement on our society, not merely schools.

    • I meant to add that I think it’s the spontaneity of a day off in the middle of a week more than being out of school. That’s not to say the kids don’t enjoy being at home rather than school, but I do not believe school is alone in being a place people don’t mind a random day off from.

  15. Melanie Link Taylor Reply March 8, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Thanks for posting this. The challenge–bringing the joy of learning into school. I’m assuming those searches belonged to teachers.

  16. OK, I admit it, I totally had to do this myself because I was in disbelief. I came up with similar results. Sad, sad, sad.

    I do agree, however, that most people feel the same way about their jobs, which is equally horrifying. If you have to do something for 8 hours a day for decades of your life, my hope would be that you enjoy it! I tell my students that they have to find their passion…and that’s not always easy.

  17. Re: Addendum March 11: Hawthorne effect…

  18. My list was worse. So glad you got to meet some our kids. I had no idea you were visiting Sioux Falls. Missed opportunity to meet you, we have followed you for a long time.

  19. I wrote a post with a little pushback on this blog post:

    Interesting how the meaning changes when we move from “makes” to “allows.” So, on some level, it is a matter of linguistic perspective.

  20. I’m in high school right now and all of the search results are completely true. High school is becoming the worst four years of my life, and most students think this way. The curriculum is becoming harder and harder and we are becoming so over-worked that we can barely keep our eyes open in class. I can say that I have broken down almost every night because of school work. I wake up at 5 AM and go to school for 8 hours everyday. High school is ruining all of our lives. This is what I believe any students would tell you, or worse.

  21. I think it has to do with compulsory schooling. I’m in high school right now. When something is compulsory and you are made to do it, it takes all of the hunger and passion away. You have to do it. It is prison.

    • You’re absolutely right. Motivation is largely based on autonomy – our desire to relate, to understand, and to pursue our own passions, not someone else’s. Why don’t you and others in your school who feel the same way (and it sounds like it might not be too hard to find them) start a communal blog to share the vision of school that you’d like to see? Make it public and encourage your classmates to read it and add to it. Clearly, you have passion around this subject. Imagine the change you could enact. There’s a great quote from Dave Burgess’ book Teach Like a Pirate: “Light yourself on fire with enthusiasm and people will come from miles around just to watch you burn!”

  22. Hi Scott,
    I did my own ‘School Makes Me’ experiment back in January. At least did have a school makes me happy as part of their list. Sigh…

  23. It works on duckduckgo, so it may not be about personalized results.

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