I’m almost fifty and I’ve spent half my life as a student in some kind of formal education. Much of my K-12 experience I hated. I was often bored in class so I didn’t pay attention, which left me lost much of the time. I always seemed to be a target of one of the bullies. My dad was on the board of education, my mom was a playground supervisor, and we lived next door to the elementary school principal. In high school, I had several teachers that my older brother had. Some liked him, others didn’t. One teacher still had his work hanging on the classroom wall three years after he graduated. Throw in the fact that I’ve known that I’m a lesbian since at least eighth grade, and you can understand my displeasure with my K-12 years.
My daughter started the eighth grade yesterday. She loves school. She loves learning. She loves her friends. She’s liked almost all of her teachers and they’ve liked her. She’s outgoing, funny, and bright. It hasn’t all been a breeze for her, but she’s the kid who gets annoyed when she’s sick and can’t go to school. She really loves school.
Now since my K-12 experience ended I’ve learned a lot about education. I have a bachelors and a masters degree in Education (plus a BA in journalism). I also did all but my dissertation for a PhD. I’ve learned a lot about education. I’ve learned enough to know that my experience was not unusual. I’ve learned enough to know that the diagnosis of a learning disability when I was in the third grade was probably wrong.
I’ve also learned that it doesn’t take much to suck the love of learning right out of a someone. I’m grateful that my daughter continues to love school and learning. She has big dreams and I think that if she continues on the path she’s on, holds on to her thirst for learning new things (and helping those around her learn them too) she will do well in life no matter where it takes her.