Well, I’m not impressed.
I was going through some boxes while packing for my move and I found a folder my mom had given me over Christmas that contained my school records. I had just shoved them in a box at the time and today I noticed that it contained all my school records pre-college.
So I opened up the folder, curious how I had performed academically growing up. Um…well, I was a bit mediocre, I have to say. The numbers reflected differently than I had remembered.
Barely any A’s, tons of C’s, sprinkling of D’s here and there. I made mostly B’s.
As I was reading the report cards it all came back to me. The knot in my stomach, the shame. The dread.
[Quixie] is too timid.
[Quixie] needs to speak up more.
[Quixie] takes too long to finish her assignments.
[Quixie] needs more encouragment.
[Quixie] is not trying hard enough.
[Quixie] is too sensitive.
It has always been difficult interacting with teachers, even as a parent, because the typical teacher personality comes across as lacking orginality and as rigidness and oppressive caring (“mom” behavior).
I had forgotten how much I hated school growing up but reading my report cards brought it all back. I can barely recall any positive experiences, but plenty of misery.
I was not meant to be in a regular school environment. It is oppressive to my spirit and I could never seem to give the teachers the responses they were looking for. I am quite certain I would have flourished in a Montessori type school, where I can be hands-on and explore at my own pace.
I learn at a slower pace, but I’m not, to put it in an un-PC way, “slow.” I didn’t flourish with grades, but did score very well on national standardized tests. For the ASVAB, ACT, Iowa Basic Skills Tests, Texas Assessments, CPC Medical Coding and others I typically scored around the 80% percentile (meaning I scored better than 80% of test takers). That’s not “gifted” category, but it’s still not too shaby.
The best way I learn, I have found, is to take the subject matter and ask What If? questions. There is always more behind the facts. Without the more my brain simply can’t absorb the information.
Some examples of more are:
- How is this information actually going to be used at my job/in my life, etc. ? I need specifics.
- What implications does this information have for human beings (on both an individual level and for a group)?
- What if we did this with this information? What about this situation, what do you do then? What about this exception? (And so on, this line of questioning never stops)
All of these “more’s” are disruptions in a classroom environment. The teacher simply needs to get through the course material and keep the class in order. My way of learning is not efficient. In looking back, I now resent most of my teachers even though I’m quite sure they did the best the could.
There were three teachers I had that were like beacons of light in my miserable primary school experience.
- Ms. S, 3rd grade, a Hawaiian woman with shiny straight black hair all the way down to the back of her knees. She invited me to her son’s 4th bday party and I was the only stranger there he didnt hide from. Ms. S was very kind.
- Ms. F, 7th grade English. She was fresh out of college and was more like a big sister than an “adult.” Her less “strict” style made her easily approachable and she was so positive and encouraging. She had the hugest smile and would put lots of cute smileys on my work. Because of her I went from mediocre performance in reading to gifted.
- Mr. S, 10th/11th grade Algebra 2/Precal. I thought I was shit at math. I barely passed math through my years until 10th grade. Then I got Mr. S and I started making A’s. He let me ask questions (and encouraged it).
These three teachers made a huge difference in my confidence in my intellectual and academic abilities. Other teachers were impressed by my good behavior, but unknowingly killed my spirit.
What is important to me is always human-centered. I am not a numbers-driven, nor logic-driven person, though I can for limited spans of time do well at both. I’m not, and never will be, efficient.
What about you:
- Did you like school growing up?
- What did you like or dislike at school?
- Did you make good grades or struggle?
- What is your learning style?
- Did you have any favorite teachers?