ducation – My Experiences
My education began in first grade in 1974. My state didn’t mandate kindergarten, so my parents didn’t send me, even though my brothers and sister went. It wasn’t easy for me, because school was the first place I ever got to interact with other people, mainly children, as an equal.
Before school started, I was pretty much kept indoors, and not allowed to have contact with other people, except for members of my own family. Being the youngest, I was looked down upon as being inferior, a lower class citizen, and basically, a big joke. During the first 5 years of my life, I figured that was all I was entitled to, and even though I hated it, I lived with it.
In first grade, I had to interact with other kids for the first time, which wasn’t easy. I did eventually learn that I could be an equal to them, and soon settled down into school. The quality of education that first year wasn’t bad, I learned a lot and grew a lot during that year. I had great teachers too, who really gave me the help I needed.
Second grade at that school was a different story though, I had a different teacher, who wasn’t very good, and seldom offered the help I needed. I was also treated like I was lower than the rest of the students. I don’t know what her problem with me was, but it set me back a great deal, both academically and emotionally. When I needed help, it wasn’t given and I was often ignored. She felt that it wasn’t worth it to help those students who needed it. Fortunately, my parents saw this and intervened, first trying to negotiate, then after that broke down, transferred me to another school.
The new school was very different, being more structured than the first, and being a boys’ school. When I started, I was behind in many ways due to the problems of my previous school, but I had a dedicated teacher who helped me catch up the best she could in a short time. I remember having difficulties with cursive writing, which my new teacher helped me with, but giving me a crash course in it for a few weeks at recess every day. I did learn it, but never learned it well, and always got poor marks in penmanship as a result. I don’t fault her for that because she did the best she could under the circumstances.
In other areas, I began to excel, often being on the honor roll, being one of the top students in the class. In fact, my teacher was very surprised at how I had started the school behind, and had caught up and excelled. It was nice to be appreciated, both at home and school because I did so well, and it really felt good to accomplish something.
I stayed at that school for over 2 years, and had one day hoped to walk across the stage and graduate from there. It never happened because while I was in fourth grade, for some unexplained reason, my parents, who had always respected this school, began to despise it. Among their complaints were I was always doing homework, the school is a “playhouse,” and “they don’t do anything,” which I meant they offered few extracurricular activities, which was a true statement, but in my opinion, wasn’t a problem. On one occasion, I was even picked on about the khaki uniforms we had to wear, which had been worn by my brothers at different schools with no complaints at all from my parents. They constantly harassed me knocking everything about the school and eventually, I gave in and agreed to go to another school, the same school my sister was attending.
This new school was totally different from the previous school. It was coed, the classes were larger, and seemed to put academics in lower regard than I was used to. I was also introduced to the concept of “school spirit,” the mindless blind following and support of your school regardless of what they do. I also learned that being a boy who was not athletic was a serious strike against me, since they valued football and other sports over everything else. At my other school, we had always had textbooks that were...
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