Saturday, May 16, 2009

"State Street School k-5

At “State Street School” all the teachers were women including the principle. On occasion some of the teachers openly argued and physically fought parents who came to school and stood up for their kids and openly disagreed with the way they were handling their children. The kids who witnessed such horrific events went ballistic by becoming unruly themselves and responded by jumping out of the windows, throwing erasers at each other while the teachers were in the class rooms. Kids would fight and bully each other on the way to and from school. One day as an example; my oldest brother had a run in with some school school punks who thought he’d try out his new leather boots on Dan’ s face. The kid should be thankful that my brother didn’t have a gun. He would have killed him on the spot. Dan was my hero and I always looked up to him even as a kid. He had the confidence, the passion, the drive, the brains and the Ideas. He was always one step ahead of all of us.
Then there was me, who for one was not comfortable with sitting still in a class room setting. I was the one who was willing to take risks, easily distracted, gullible, naïve to reality, a right brain thinker and at the same time believed everyone and everything that I was told except for the Easter bunny and Santa Claus. I was the Tom Sawyer and the Huckleberry Finn all wrapped up in one.
I enjoyed my childhood and was never bored unless I was in school being forced to keep up with the teacher’s demands to learn things that I wasn’t sure of its future value in for my life.
After all, who cares about a noun or an adverb let alone a predicate when there are creeks with crawdads and green “soft shell leather back turtles” to be caught and tree houses to build. I have always thought that if the teacher would simplify things by bringing and in frog or a turtle and let us hold it and write about it , it would have opened up a whole new approach to learning biology, math, science, animal husbandry, and responsibility that I could have personally related to.
The problem was for those boys who were raised by their mothers as “girly boys” who were allowed to play with baby buggies and dolls because their moms wanted a girl, would not have been attracted to the basics of life such as getting dirty, collecting bugs, turtles and frogs, snakes, birds and or building an awesome underground fort.
Evidently I had a lot to learn, so off to school I marched at age five to learn from people at State Street who didn’t know how to teach even though they had a degree in education.
I always thought it was interesting how an individual could go to 12 years of school, four years of College then graduate and get a job teaching in the same school system without ever having to work out in the real world and function in the general society to see how practical education was applied.
From the “get go”, I did not like my first grade teacher or my second grade teacher who was known as “Miss Allen”. She just so happened to be the same person. As they carefully explained it, “There weren’t enough school teachers for each class, so a few of us who were in the second grade had to be in her first grade class learning second grade information because of the abundance of the “baby boomer kids”.
I distinctly recall Ms. Allen had it in for me and our personalities must have clashed from day one. There were those times when Miss Allen actually made me sit under her golden oak desk while she taught the class in front of the black board. She always had a way of making me feel worthless, unwanted and alone and It wasn’t unusual for me to feel rejected and humiliated in front of the other kids as she made sure that I felt like I didn’t rate.
My Mom however, who saw potential in me didn’t buy into the teachers misinformed conclusions and went to bat for me by attending the parent teacher meeting. Ms. Allen would try to sweetly explain how I wasn’t learning as fast as the other children and how she might have to keep me back for just another year if I didn’t progress. My Mom firmly explained to her that it was her responsibility and duty to teach me since she was “the teacher”. Evidently it didn’t set too well with Ms. Allen, because she never once had a word of encouragement for me.
I recall one day someone brought in some chocolate cupcakes to celebrate their birthday. For some reason while eating mine, I scratched my head to relieve an itch. Evidently, in the process of scratching my head, some of the crumbs that were stuck on my fingers tips became lodged in my hair (what ever!!!!!!!! I was only 6 ears old !!!.
When we were finished eating our snack, Miss Allen had us all line up at the class room door to go to the restroom to wash. Then to my surprise her eyes locked on mine and she glared at me and with one motion she snatched out at me and jerked my arm and dragged me over to the classroom across the hall.
She pointed at the crumbs in my hair to the third grade teacher in front of her entire class while they too were all lined up at the door.
She said out loud with a stern voice with her fire engine red lipstick lips “Look what I have to deal with”! I was so humiliated that morning that I learned to despise her. From then on learning from her was an impossible challenge (I had lost all hopes of respect for her for ever).
One of the problems I still have with the public school system to this very day is that your “personal folder” goes with you to be read by the next year’s teacher. If you have an issue with one teacher such as a learning disability or personality conflict, or a tendency to scratch… that information travels with you behind the scenes for ever and ever until you graduate. It’s all about each teacher’s perception and assumption based on what the last word was and not necessarily what the truth is or was.

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