After twelve years of school, it took me until now to figure out exactly why I had been there all those years. It was not to torture me by making me learn how to spell but to make sure that my classmates and I got the opportunity to make the most of ourselves. Opportunity that would come from learning as much as possible from books and beginning to see that the world focuses on more than just history and English . I owe my success in life and school to teachers who taught me to spell and to be respectful and responsible. Those quick to argue with me say that school's usefulness is shallow: deeper-real-life experiences truly educate a person. School should be seen not only as a place to study, but also as a place to learn about real life. People cannot depend on experience alone for education just as they cannot solely rely on information from school books to prepare them for life. The lessons, whether from a book or not, learned in school transcend the classroom to real life situations.
School, in essence, functions as a ladder to the future. The farther up the ladder a person goes, the more prepared for real life he will find himself. Respect is one of the keys to getting up the ladder and succeeding in many aspects of life. I grew up respecting my elders: whether it was my grandparents or the librarian, I have always had respect. The regard I have developed for teachers has come from knowing that I will need their help to make it through school and I can only get it by being respectful and polite.
To help students up the ladder, school indirectly teaches its students about respect. Although not found on the pages of any text book, learning lessons in respect can be very helpful. The idea of respect starts with teachers and often branches to the development of peer and self respect. Everyone has experienced a teacher that they couldn't stand and dreaded going to that class. It was times like that which challenged the respect that had begun to develop. In eight grade, my english teacher was one of the mose mean people I have ever met. I got a 0 on a quiz because I spelled one word wrong (it was not a spelling quiz). I hated going to her class, half the time, I just wanted to scream at her. But by the end of the year, I realized that she was one of the best teachers I had ever had. And if I had swallowed my pride and anger, I probably could have learned even more. Learning to put feelings aside and appreciate the teacher as an educator is much more important than having fun in every class. Giving that teacher a little extra regard could help the outcome of the class (grades, getting the respect of the teacher).
Slowly I learned that different situations in school called for different levels of respect. These distinctions started appearing when, in kindergarten, I realized that I had to speak differently to my teacher than I did when playing with friends in the block center. Talking with peers certainly requires respect, but talking to a teacher requires more respect. The longer I was in school, the more I realized that I had learned to gain respect not only for teachers, but for my peers and myself. I learned to respect teachers as people who were trying to help me. Instead of hating a classmate because she did better on a test than I did, I respected her ability. And when I studied for ever and tried my hardest and still did badly on a test, I learned not to get down and to respect my effort. Developing esteem for my peers helped not only my relationships with them, but the way I felt about myself. I always found myself jealous of the kids who did better than I did, but I learned that being mad at them only hurt me. I had to understand that I should respect their ability and have enough self-confidence to know that I could try a little harder and do just as well. Accepting the fact that I would not get an A on every assignment and might not be the teacher's favorite...