How do I stay engaged and curious about science when the teachers and the way they teach things aren't engaging or interesting? I used to love taking science subjects at school but now I've just lost all passion for it because of the way I'm taught.
Okay. This might come off sorta harsh, but here’s my straight-talkin’ answer, and one that took me a decade to realize:
It’s on you.
It is on you to foster your own passion, interest, and love for the subjects.
Unfortunately, we don’t pay teachers enough for them to be the miracle workers we hope they will be. We - and I’m speaking for the American public school system here - we don’t offer those individuals the sort of incentives they would require to pour that high energy and investment into their classes, course after course, year after year. There are some teachers who absolutely do do that – and they are the unicorns, altruistically giving up so much of themselves for the hopeful, future benefit of their pupils. But it is unreasonable to expect every teacher would meet such high qualifying standards. I had one, maybe two such teachers in my life, and I consider myself lucky for having them.
So it’s on you. And the quality of teacher aside - it’s still on you. High school and college years are phenomenal times in your life where your primary expectation is to learn, ingest information, and regurgitate it in a way that reflects what you have contextualized. For me, realizing that homework and research assignments were not a burden or a means to an end, but instead were structured opportunities, was absolutely crucial to my personal growth. Instead of rolling my eyes at a book report or research assignment I wish I would have appreciated the fact I was given a targeted task with such relatively low expectations: read the thing, pay attention, and share what you have learned. For REAL that is what my actual job is today – taking in information, and contextualizing it in a way that makes sense to me, then sharing the message with others.
Like, bad teachers can beat the hell out of a fascinating topic – but that’s giving more power to the instructor, and less power to the subject. FORGET the lousy lecturer. You know what you like, you know what gets your gears turning. You say you used to love science subjects – what about them, though? Take time to identify the sort of things that really got you going, and pursue that interest on your own time. Better yet, pursue that interest in the absence of your teacher telling you why you ought to care about whatever they’re teaching or saying.
Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you shouldn’t expect your teachers to be the sole drivers of your interests. In a best-case scenario, they may act as catalysts - but you’ll find that, for the rest of your life, you’re the only one leading the charge. Outside of high school or college it’s going to become really rare that someone else is taking the time to teach you something, aside from your independent pursuit. “Life-long learning” is a gushy phrase that sounds really hokey, but it’s one I wholly embrace. I am a self-driven, life-long learner. I am unsatisfied living a life without the unending pursuit of knowledge.
I hope you’ll find that if you stare at cracks in the sidewalk long enough, you might notice they can be pried open, forming rabbit holes, expanding into yawning, gaping caverns of unending curiosity. But you’ve got to ask the first question, and then you’ve gotta go find the answer.