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Why I Hate School But Love Education

By December 12, 2012 No Comments

That’s the title that the rising spoken word artist, Suli Breaks, gave his piece of art. It has gone viral since he posted it on December second. My friend tweeted this to me and I’ve been mulling on what I think about it. Watch it first and then let’s talk…


On his twitter account Breaks describes himself as “Spoken Word Artist. The world is my campus and London City is my dormroom.” I couldn’t help but think about John Wesley when I read this when he said, “All the world is my parish.” These are words that I take to heart. So I get his postmodern emphasis to engage the world with hungry curiosity, I’m so there. The world is my parish and my classroom. Every person, every moment, every interaction is an opportunity to be the teacher and the student. I can go there with Breaks on that.

Here is what is upsetting to me about messages like “Why I hate XYZ but love ABC,” it creates unnecessary polarities. I’m not about polarities of any kind. I don’t believe it’s “this” or “that” but instead it is usually somewhere in between with a mixture of the “this and that.” Since Breaks has taken part of the institutional schooling system I wonder if it is possible that part of the reason he loves education is because he has gone to school?

Now before I go on defending the institution of school too quickly, let me also say that we need a major education reform. I don’t think the way we do school is for everybody. The way the majority of institutions educate is outdated, not creative enough, and is too expensive. We need reform! I hated school, too, when I felt like I was cramming for a test only to win the approval of the teacher’s subjective opinion of my essay. 

As a piece of art I have mixed feelings about Breaks video. I go to a lot of spoken word gatherings in New York City. While grammar is very difficult for my mind I do love words. I love it when people have the courage to offer their perspective on truth in the form of poetry. I applaud Breaks for filming this piece smoothly and for courageously incorporating his perspective on truth in the face of the institution that he stands in front of during the video. Yet as a spoken word piece I don’t see it as the most creative piece I have heard. The words are not imaginative enough for me.

Why do I write this here? Us Reformed types care about education and schooling. We care about good thinking and we care about the type of schools we go to. This piece inspires me to wonder how we can be part of the reformation of school and education. Anyone who cares about learning, like Breaks does, I offer my respect.

What do you think of this video, both the content and presentation?


Jes Kast

The Reverend Jes Kast is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament and serves West End Collegiate Church as their Associate Pastor.

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