Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking back...

      Somehow  I learned how to read.
      I don't think I was always in the Bluebird Reading circle.  Somehow, I think I ended up in the Happy Squirrels reading circle in second grade, which was not a stellar year for me as I recall.  But I still learned how to read.  And do cursive.
      I don't think I ever liked my school clothes.  I mostly wore hand-me-downs from my older sister and, therefore,  was seldom an icon of elementary high fashion.  If my jeans were patched, it was because they really needed to be.  But I don't remember being scarred by any of that.
     I really didn't like saddle oxfords.  In first grade, my assigned hallway and bathroom "buddie" would kick me with hers when no one was looking.  To this day I have no idea why we didn't like each other.  I just know saddle oxfords are not the thing to be kicking people with.  After I figured out she could kick faster and harder than I could, I asked to be assigned another hallway buddie and that took care of that.  Today, I guess my parents would sue the school and demand that the school provide counseling.  And maybe people would watch me for the next ten years or so to see if I was going to retaliate for being bullied by  bringing a gun to school or not... Sadly...
     I don't remember scintillating reading/workbook material in the elementary grades.  As I recall, Spot was pretty slow off the mark and Jane wasn't in the running for Wittiest Girl in the yearbook line up.  I do remember spending about an hour a day two or three times a week practicing writing in third grade, usually at the end of the day when the teacher was a bit frazzled.  When she told us to sit and write, we did.
    And I recall waiting with baited breath for the day when I could use skinny pencils with real erasers instead of the fat ones without.
   I also recall being assigned a memory verse to work on each week - the teacher gave it to us on Monday and we had to recite it on Friday. By second grade, I had already decided that the Bible was too wordy.  One verse in particular gave me fits because it was "too" long; as a result, I totally disliked it.  In my college days, it would come back to me and be my favorite verse for those tumultuous years.  It was Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you."
   A hundred years ago, when I was in junior high and high school, my parents could not check on my grades with  the click of a mouse. This probably saved my life several times over. Seriously:)
   But the main thing I recall learning, along with science, math, history, language, etc was that the world did not revolve around me.  If my grades were slipping, my parents dealt with me and not the teacher. My grades never slipped for long.  Somehow, in spite of lost reading notebooks and a sour attitude toward math in the seventh grade, I graduated from high school and college with honors.  I guess my parents and teachers also knew how to correct "sour attitudes..."
   In fact, when I made the mistake of complaining about a junior high teacher being "forgetful" and "stupid", my mother made me cut a piece of paper up into 130 tiny squares.  Then she explained to me that my teacher dealt with this many kids every single day and that if she occasionally forgot something, it was small wonder.  Then she lectured me about respect. And then she made me pick up the pieces and throw them in the trash.  I never called a teacher stupid again after that. (Although we did imitate our college professors once I left home.. .Actually great fun... :)
    I don't know if the educational system was "better" back in the 1960's - I just know that, for me at least, it worked.
    Somehow, I learned the things that I needed to know.  And that didn't include just math, history, science, and language...
    And perhaps the most important thing I learned was that the educational system (and indeed the world) did not revolve around me.

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