Turns out, I was a poor student

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

~Q

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8 thoughts on “Turns out, I was a poor student

  1. Generally I rocked at schoolwork. Lots of A’s, overachiever, gifted program, the works. (Except for PE, I completely sucked at athletics. Not that I was a couch potato, I was dancing ballet on pointe for awhile, and later was doing advanced square dancing several times a week. It was just the selection of activities in gym that I mostly found either boring or impossible.) My challenge has always been the social stuff. I’m mostly a loner, and was terribly shy for a long time. Being popular and making a ton of friends has always eluded me, I just don’t have the knack for it.

    There were a few great teachers along the way, especially 4th grade, 6th grade GT, and a public speaking teacher in middle school that I just adored. But a single bad teacher can really mess things up, too. A “B” from a bad 8th grade science teacher kept me out of honors science the next year, and I’ve never forgiven her for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ugh, PE. I don’t trust people who liked PE growing up. Those people are weirdos!

      Your story about your 8th grade science teacher reminded me about my daughter’s science teacher this year (she’s in 7th grade). During orientation he went on and on about how the 6th graders had been babied and how 7th grade science was the real-deal, and how, after all, soon they will be in 8th grade preparing for high school!

      I mean, why can’t schools stop this “preparing” emphasis (for the end -of-grade tests or always for the next year)? The teachers’ anxieties rub off on the kids.

      The science teacher’s syllabus was on par with the syllabi in my college courses. Jeez, let her just be a 7th grader!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. School had it’s upsides and downsides. Mostly mediocre. I was a C student overall, but got As in math after discovering things. I guess hands-on and following by example work better for me; recorded lectures / YouTube help. Mr. Wynn is/was an excellent math teacher. 🙂 Unfortunately, I can’t remember most of my teachers; memories can fade quite a bit over three decades.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If you got mostly B’s, then you were above average. Also, if you spent any time in Department of Defense schools (I was in DOD schools until I was 9), those environments are hit-or-miss for kids. I lucked out with the teachers I got, but my older brother got really bad ones. They made his life miserable, and as a result he didn’t get great report cards sent home.

    You’re right that teachers can make a huge difference in your accomplishments. But there’s also some credit that has to go your way, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi BroadBlogs! My apologies for missing your comment!

      I just wanted to say, as a former Sociology student, that I really enjoy your blog. Academically social sciences have always been my strength.

      Keep up the good work with your blog. I especially enjoy posts that your students have allowed you to share. 😃

      Like

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About Quixie

Hi! I go by "Quixie" My nickname comes from the term I began using to describe myself when I began blogging nearly 4 years ago: "quixotic," meaning "exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical." It's how I described my evangelical Christian faith at the time. Now I'm an agnostic atheist who is trying to find a balance between idealism and reality.