Monday, April 2, 2012

Things I learned in school

Things your child likely won't tell you when you ask them, "What did you learn in school today?":

In K3, I learned that staying home with my mother was no longer an option. On the very first day, I learned that none of the workers cared the least bit about me, when they left me to cry in the entry all day long, until my mother picked me up again in the evening.

In K4, I learned that smoking was cool. The other kids and I would pick up the cigarette butts discarded by the kindergarten "teachers" in the yard, and pretend smoking them during recess.

In K5, I learned that I would have to fend for myself for the entire rest of my school career when both my older brothers moved on to the elementary school, and I was left alone in kindergarten. I also learned that no amount of crying/pleading/begging got me out of being forced to attend.



In 1st grade, I learned that school is very boring to those who fall outside the one-size-fits-all cookie cutter design. I learned that the teacher disliked kids like me who had already learned to read (from my older brothers), and that her main goal for me was to keep me sitting silent the entire day, forbidden to answer any questions because I was somehow unfairly advantaged.

In 2nd grade, I learned that kids in German schools were no less cruel than those in Hungary had been. While in Hungary I had been called a fascist for being half-German, I was now being mocked for being a poor Hungarian gypsy. Of course, I was neither. I also learned that German teachers were no more keen on advanced students than my Hungarian teacher had been.

In 3rd grade, I learned that it was perfectly acceptable for my intimidating male teacher to pick students up by their ears if he wanted to punish them for speaking out of turn.

In 4th grade, I first grasped the concept of boys being after girls when one of the students in my class would keep track of, and boast about, how many times he was able to force himself onto a certain little girl in our class and kiss her against her will.

In 5th grade, I learned about sex ed., something I was entirely too young and naive for.

In 6th grade, I was first exposed to the incredible smut and wickedness being dished up in "teen" magazines.

In 7th grade, I learned that "dating" was no longer optional, but expected in order to be "cool".

In 8th grade, I was taught in Religious Education (R.E.) class that the Bible was not true, but rather just an old book full of outdated fables.

In 9th grade, I found out that only the most expensive brand name clothes were acceptable in order to be considered "cool". I learned that how a person looked was a lot more important than how they acted, felt, or thought.

In 10th grade, I realized that Catholic priests (who were often teaching the R.E. class) were serious predators to be avoided at all cost, and joined a small minority of students who opted to take "Ethics" class instead. (Note: the particular priest that pushed me over the edge became a bishop and then an arch bishop several years later, and has since been "retired" over child abuse scandals).

In 11th grade, I learned that a teacher can prey on, corner, and sexually assault students with little fear of recourse, because their word against the students' would always hold water.

In 12th grade, I was told that the next step in my successful "school career" would be to go on to college, so I could then pursue employment. I learned that not one of the more than seventy 19-year olds graduating with me even considered becoming a wife and mother as an alternative option.

In 13th grade, I learned that the primary purpose of a "senior trip" for many of my fellow students was to get drunk, sleep around, smoke pot, sexually assault other students, and generally make sure their life would derail sooner or later.

So there you have it. Yes, there were better moments in there, too, but they were more than overshadowed by the horrific things I won't even include in the above rundown, because they are just too graphic for my mixed audience. It was much too great a price to pay for the mediocre education I received in return. 

Something tells me things have not improved since I started school over 25 years ago.

8 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for what you have been through !

    I can't say I had the same experience for the whole thing you said : I was also an advanced learner and usually the teachers gave me something to read because I was so fast.
    And I have a totally different opinion on sex education than yours.

    However, you are SO RIGHT about the senior trip ! I didn't go the the trip that had been organized because I knew it would be this way, and from what I heard, it was. I hate drinking, even though I'm not a Christian, I find it repulsive. I have already drunk alcohol some times in my life (isn't it awful : it was because of social pressure even from my parents !), and recently, I have decided to stop completely. I will never drink any drop of alcohol in my life. And I'm extremely happy about it.

    I always say so : every schooler has a different experience. I must admit that yours seems horrible. I cried when I went to school the first day, but the teacher immediately comforted me. I was two and a half. I must say I have never learned anything about the bible at school, from what I remember. I have never been told anything about it being true or not, etc. I guess the reason why is because I was in Ethics, and not Religion education.

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  2. I think this is very well stated!
    I went to a Christian school all of my life but a lot of the same things applied.

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  3. Makes me glad that #1 I attended school in the US and #2 I attended a good Bible teaching/preaching Christian school.

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  4. This really is the story of my life when it came to school and I (live)went to school in the states.

    I too cried on my first day of Kindergarten. Staying home with my mother wasn't an option either as I was a child of a newly divorced parent. My first teacher was a down right monster.

    When it came to 1st and 2nd grade, I too realized that smoking was cool.I actually put my lips to one at being only 7 years old. Why? Because it was the "cool thing".

    2nd and 3rd grade are a blur.

    4th grade I moved to IN to find out that since I didn't wear Aeropostale and wore Payless shoes, I was a "geek".

    5th grade I learned kissing boys during recess was the "cool thing."

    6th grade I learned that if you didn't have (breasts) or let boys touch them, you were a prude or "odd". I also learned that if you weren't the "cookie cutter" shape you were ugly. Having cds from the latest artists was a must.
    Christina Aguilera: Stripped Cd was a must have for all girls.
    Pure wickedness as I look back.

    7th grade gang affiliation was "cool thing". Being White in a predominantly Latino and African American school, I was forced to "fight" or being a victim of bullying. I was threatened to have my hair cut off once. I also learned that survival of girl fights is to befriend the biggest meanest girl in school. Did I mention I barely passed with D in everything because I was in "fear" at that school?

    8th grade I learned that (sex) was the "cool thing". There were two pregnant girls in my grade then.

    9th grade was probobly the worst year of school. High school was survival of the fittest and I in no way could compete. Gang affliation was #1, then cliques. If you didn't fit into either you were bullied. I didn't fit into either.

    10th grade I
    learned (experimentation with the same sex) was the "cool thing." Being a virgin and a geek got food thrown at you. I also learned that if a boy liked you (even though you weren't interested) you were threatened with being stabbed and harrassed in the girl's bathroom.
    Did I mention open sodomy was allowed?!

    11th grade I moved to MI to find that a smaller school being predominantly white was worse than all the schools I went too. Even though I am White. Being an (outsider) led to EXTREME bullying. Dating was must. Sex was a must. Drinking and partying were a must. Sexting was a must. I also learned that not only was evolution emphasized on but was crammed down our throats over and over since the 9the grade. I remember challenging the biology teacher stating if we came from monkey why there wasn't half monkey half humans walking around? I was sent out with insubordination and had to write a 10 page essay on Charles Darwin...
    Did I mention that teacher was a Catholic? lol

    12th grade was all about getting drunk, partying, doing drugs because once high school is over, having a "life" and "job" would just be uncool. Our class song was "I wanna rock"- Twisted Sister and our class was known for being insubordinate animals. I in turn found myself in the wrong crowd unfortunately.
    Nevertheless we were forced to sign millions of college applications and pushed into choosing our career in life.
    Cyber bulling was the "cool thing" and girls were ruthless towards me.
    Prom and Graduation were everything. It was NOTHING. Prom= waste of money. I remember when Graduation day came I pleaded with my mom to not "walk". I just wanted to pick up my award and get out of there. But she insisted I "walk", so I did.

    13th(College) I did college online only to learn that I was learning NOTHING because it was all the same stuff that I had already learned. Did I mention I paid 10k for one year to learn nothing?

    14th I learned there was more to life than pursuring a career. I met my husband, got married and am not a lifelong homemaker and hopefully soon to be teacher. : )


    -All my love
    Heidi Edwards

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  5. Well, atleast you learned something valuable about priests.

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  6. Yep, what you said pretty much sums it up!

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  7. At what age do you think a child is old enough to learn where babies come from? Since you're often expecting, what do you tell your kids when they ask?

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  8. I agree with your post , I hated school ever since the first day to the last day . I was a poor kid going to a rich school and I was made fun of every single day , and it's true that what kids learn in public school is things they don't need to learn mostly sex and drugs and everything you have to buy or own to fit in .

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