Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Out of Gas

amazed, appalled, amused,
befuddled, bewildered, confused
the ride that we took to the past--
so glad that we've run out of gas

I knew everyone would be able to write about schools or schooling; I just had no idea how many of you would have such vehement dislike of those days! As a teacher, I loved a good challenge -- a kid with a different kind of thinking, one whose previous teachers had warned me to watch out! These were the thinkers (yes, and often the stinkers) with whom I developed the closest relationships and respect.

I have to admit, though, that it saddens me to know how many of the smart, talented, creative, funny people here had such bad experiences with school. I feel a gigantic apology is in order...so, on behalf of those witless wonders of wisdom who lacked the vision to connect or protect or promote you...I am sorry.

The Bus stops here.


  1. your so kind to issue an apology. have a great night.

  2. We certainly had a busload of gifted children, with all the requisite drama. Thanks so much for driving!

  3. My mother fought for me at several points along the way because she knew the trouble I had. It did not really help that much. There was a time in high school that I was accused of plagiarism because no one of my juvenile development should be able to produce such work. In that case my mother was actually accused of doing the work for me. That was because my work on the battle of Chancellorsville was deemed post grad collegiate quality while I was a junior in high school. For the most part, I did relatively poorly in school because my survival depended on my deliberate misconstructions of the tasks in front of me. I could not face the tasks as they were presented.

    I don't think my trouble should be considered their fault, however I do think some kids falter in the school environment because they should not be there at all. When I completed my college education, I did it by being totally removed from school and producing my own work my own way. I couldn't have done it any other way. I got 28 credits for my work and had almost no contact with the school at all during the work. The outcome, I was invited to present a segment in a weekend seminar that I needed to finish that degree. Instead of being a student, they made me the teacher. I am not bragging, just pointing out that some of us don't need to be in school. When we are forced to be there we most often look like mediocre students.

    The real conundrum and revelation is that this in no way signals persons of high accomplishment in post scholastic society. People like me don't necessarily do so well there either. It all hinges on finding a niche where we are left alone to some great degree. My work is quite sideways to my main thrust but does have that quality of "they have to leave me alone to do it." I have never figured out how to make my strengths pay.

  4. Thought you might like to know a bit more about the Mr Linky Tool HERE

  5. I'm so scared for my kids. They start school in one week, and both find school a bit frustrating. One just doesn't like all the homework (and classwork--wants to be an artist), and the other is bored out of his mind... (about to go into 1st grade, but reading at a 3rd grade level already).

    Not sure how to help them.

  6. I loved school, Karen (except for gym-class). I've jumped on really late here: http://hyggedigter.blogspot.com/2010/09/way-late-for-poetry-school-bus-gym.html

  7. You were a brilliant driver Karen! Twas a great prompt

  8. I second your thoughts here. A nice post.

  9. Karen
    my experiences with school were dreadful but the fault was mine and I shall never forget the teachers that truly cared.

  10. I quite enjoyed school but I know a lot of people who hated it

  11. I hear many people saying they had dreadful experiences with school, and I see many parents these days who distrust schools today because of their own experiences in the past. I would like to say that schools today are different, and certainly we know more about how children learn than we ever did. We have research-based instructional strategies and we know how to support students and families, yet the bottom line is that schools are institutions run by people and are always only as good as the people who run them.

    Everything depends on the classroom teacher. He or she makes the experience fruitful or not. He or she protects and supports the child or not.

    I think that one of the biggest problems we have in education is that teachers think they teach English, math, science, etc., when what they really teach is people - little people as unique and fragile as snowflakes.

    For many people, the horror of the school experience came from the other children. If they don't already, I think the school must attempt to teach children to respect and celebrate difference. That's a tall order.

    Schools are asked to be all things for all people. The expectations are exceptional, the mission is probably, quite frankly, impossible, but the attempt is noble and worthy and imperative.

  12. School is strange alchemy. If it were just an infusion of knowledge one-on-one, it would be different.

  13. "the attempt is noble and worthy and imperative." - couldn't agree more.

    i had plenty of teachers who were burned out or going through the motions or just downright mean. but i was fortunate to have two - one in 8th grade and one when i was a senior - who understood and lived out what you just said.

    they were the difference. they were enough.

  14. I had a great time in school. Especially when it started the day I enlisted at 17.

  15. School. For its faults, and for my own, I still would not have traded it for homeschooling.

    My next door neighbor is homeschooling their son because he found public school intimidating. Their daughter, younger than the boy, is all gung-ho for public school and at least they are allowing her to attend. But the boy. His mom has a college degree, although not in education, and she is a religious fundamentalist. So the boy learns only what she knows and not what anyone else thinks, including other children (with the exception of his sister). Personally, I think homeschooling should be illegal. I cannot believe how prevalent it has become in the U.S. and I wonder if it exists in other developed countries.

  16. Lydia, Interesting ... you know very little about something so your immediate reaction is to say it should be illegal ... in my book it makes you about as blinkered as the religious fundamentalist home-schoolers. Please don't tar us all with the same brush. For most home educators it is a chance to open the world up for our children not close them off from it.
    Karen, love your poem, short and sweet, says much in a few words.
    thanks for sharing