Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lessons Learned

This is Day 12 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is What I learned in school.

School is a place of learning, and that is not limited to what we glean from textbooks. We learn about life and how to function with others. Some of those lessons are harder than the scholarly endeavors.

My Brain in School!
Things I learned:
  • That it is not easy being the new kid in school, and not everyone will be your friend.
  • Not to raise your hand to answer a question. Getting the answer wrong is not a big deal for most, but I was embarrassed and did not raise my hand after that. I think I was in the second grade at the time.
  • I could not sing. We had a music teacher at the school where I was the new kid. She made everyone memorize and sing the "hymn of the month". Solo! More embarrassment. Fortunately, it was only that one year then I guess she retired.
  • Not all teachers are good teachers. I had one teacher who taught math and probably science. He said anyone who would stay after class would get the answers to the next day's math test. I was not good at math, so of course I stayed. The tests in the other class was pre-recorded and we had pieces of paper numbered down the side and four columns of circles. He played the tape of the questions and gave four choices. We filled in the corresponding circle.
  • My history teacher dictated sentences and told us what to underline. The tests were the exactly what he dictated, so if you were good at memorization, you passed the tests. I passed the tests. What did I learn?
  • I learned that extra credit is very helpful if you are doing poorly in math. Often it counted as a test; you do it and you get 100%. Win!

    Many people complain about the quality of education in our public school systems and there may or may not be justification, I don't know. What I do know is that most of the above experiences were in a private, Christian school, which I attended for five years. The school was growing and each year they added another grade. At the end of the 10th grade, I made the decision I was going back to public school, and there was a senior high school just a couple miles from my house that I could drive to.
What I learned there?
  • I learned that I could choose classes. I had never had that option before. We were told what the classes were and we took them all, which is why I learned to type at 14 and had three years of French.
  • I learned that if you were late getting back from lunch, the good parking spaces were taken and you had to park at the swimming pool.
  • I learned that didn't like accounting, and after all my years of typing (I was good and fast), that manual typewriters made it look like I couldn't type at all. It was embarrassing to get a mediocre grade in something I was really good at.
  • I learned that I loved shorthand, and was good at it, too. 

Lest it sound as if I did not learn anything, I got the basics in math by the end of the 5th grade, and my typing skills helped keep me employed for 19+ years. I even had occasion to use my rusty middle school French to order some pastries in a small French bakery. I did not enjoy school, but I never failed a class and got through it with a reasonable education.

What was your school experience like? Feel free to share in the comments if you wish.


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