In our society we are taught what makes us a good citizen from a very early place, and how to act in society to fit this mold and play a respectful and contributing aspect. These standards are seen to be quite slim and made in a way that it will most definitely exclude some members of society, and not allow everyone to be seen as a “good citizen” for reasons such as poverty or disabilities. This again builds the power in society and gives it again to those who conform into this mold.
When looking back on my own grade school days, I definitely remember being taught and pushed in the way of becoming a “personally responsible” citizen, through such things as learning to help others in need, and use what we have, as I did attend a school in quite privileged conditions, and help others that are less privileged, and those who did this more became seen as “better citizens” than others who did not. When looking at this idea, and wanting to make sure all people succeed and become great citizens, where does this put students that go to lower privileged schools? How do we teach them about being the ideal citizen when they don’t have the abilities to fit this mold?
In my school, which was also quite preppy in its nature, students who never questioned teachers, or never went against the norm in any certain way, were seen as these good citizens. I think when looking at this now from an outer perspective, this really shows how much school has to do with building us to fit into the mold of our society, and never question why things are the way they are, and keep moving in a stream through life. But, although some people do go through life just like this, others will have a drive to go outside of this mold and question society, but does this make them bad citizens?
There was also a major drive in the building of the “participatory citizen” in my school community, which I personally saw in many ways. Throughout high school I was not the most involved person at my school because of my commitments to dance after school hours on almost all days of the week, which made it hard for me to get involved in school activities. If you were involved in school sports and school clubs, you were automatically seen as a better student in many ways, and a better citizen, which gave you many benefits.
I personally believe that our schools should be teaching students of all backgrounds and privileges that they can be good citizens and are just as worthy of being apart of their countries and smaller personal communities as everyone else, as this is how we will build the society of citizens that we want and need.