I lived within one block of my elementary school. I was an average to below average student, according to my old report cards, but it was a very strict school, with very high standards. When I went to High School, my grammar school preparation made it easy for me to stay on the A honor roll all but my Senior Year, when Physics kept me off with a B I felt lucky to get.
Why the sudden jump in grades, you ask? Was the high school just easy? No, I went to a college prep school and actually finished as a National Merit Semi-Finalist. So why were my grades so ordinary all through elementary school???
Since I ended up teaching elementary school for 25 of my 29 years, I think I know the answer.
I hated that school. I feared the principal, and I feared some of the teachers. Corporal punishment and humiliation in the classroom were common tools used to push students to behave in class. I rarely dared get into trouble, but I felt every blow and shrunk from every insult aimed at other students. When I did get a scathing stream of ridicule headed my way, I just about died. In a climate like that, is it any wonder my grades suffered?
I vowed that when I left that school, I would never step foot in it again. And I kept that vow.
No one was more surprised than I was when I ended up teaching elementary school! I think I secretly wanted to do my part to change some of the bad attitudes that my students had developed toward learning, that I understood all too well.
nostalgia, childhood memories, corporal punishment, humiliation, school climate