That's why I ended up leaving school - because it required so much time ~ Shawn Fanning
I left school in 1975 ~ thus ending 13 years of enforced misery. Even now I can think of nothing worse than being forced to endure the unrelenting company of my peers! It wasn't that I was bullied or particularly picked on but each day was a challenge to not stand out from the crowd, to fit in, while being acutely aware that you did not fit in. I wasn't pretty enough ~ or sporty enough or clever enough. I wasn't into clothing or hair or make~up ~ & I had brothers so boys had no especial interest for me. And children, even ditzy children like me, are realists; school was a given. One knew one had to endure it. No point in complaining ~ not in our house, though I did know one little boy who did rather well at complaining enough to get out of school quite regularly!
There were some compensations to the unrelenting boredom, the stale lunch box lunches, the peer jockeying & the dreaded math lessons. I was reading off the primary charts & at least my primary school had an exceptionally good library with a most wonderful librarian & the older I became the less often I was to be found on the playground & the more likely it was I would be curled up, forgotten, in some cool corner of the library.
I went to a State Primary school. It took me 6 years but I finally chose my friends rather than merely struggling to fit in with the alpha group ~ who accepted me but did not miss me when I departed its vapid company. They were friendships destined not to last because my parents did not like our local high school, which had a really, really bad reputation, & chose to enrol me here.
This was apalling. It wasn't the hours of travel each day that bothered me. I can read on trains ~ & I did. No, it was quite simply the fact I didn't know a single other solitary soul in the entire school! And my math was so awful I got put down in the class for dummies ~ where I was chronically bored because all the good literature went to the A stream! Within a week another little girl from my primary school arrived but this was no solace as she was incapable of holding a conversation without telling you the price of everything ~ a quirk that astonished me as much as it apalled me. Fancy being able to hold all those numbers in your head, let alone think them important!
The school I attended was nothing like the bright & shiny school depicted in recent photos. It was still a relatively young school & the place this showed up the most was in the library! It did not have a good library. It was well equipped in every other way. The science labs were state of the art ~ no consolation to someone who refused to even consider a subject where you had to cut up dead animals! Uh~uh, not this little black duck! And forget Physics or chemistry; they required far too much math even if I was vaguely interested [I was not] in the how & why of things.
I was strong in the arts & quite capable of reasonable grades with an minimum amount of work ~ & it didn't take me long to figure out if I locked myself in my bedroom with the pretence of doing homework, I would be left alone to read. I wasn't a terribly social child & it's a good thing I didn't have more of an inclination towards wickedness because the most interesting people I knew where very wicked indeed. They grew pot in the neighbour's tomato patch & when they harvested it they smoked up a storm in his potting shed ~ resulting in the fire department being called out & expulsions all round.
We had the most awful science teacher; an Arab who made it plain he considered the teaching of science to females a huge waste of his time & whom every class he taught behaved so dreadfully he eventually locked one class in their room at lunch. They promptly climbed out the 2nd story windows & negotiated the window sills to enter the next classroom & escape. I did not behave badly. This was prime reading time so far as I was concerned & because I was quiet & no bother to anyone I was allowed to get away with it The sheer impossiblity of my cheating on an external exam left him bewildered at how I had managed to snag an A when I had patently paid no attention whatsoever in class.
Then there was the delightful day when the surfie chick crowd arrived at school completely off their faces on acid ~ & one girl freaked out so badly her friends removed her to the boarding house sick bay.
History, which I liked, & French, which I might have liked, were very badly taught. Lovely people ~ just not cut out for managing classrooms of obstreperous teens. In 13 years I can only remember having 2 absolutely brilliant teachers & it is no wonder I looked forward to their classes, paid attention, mostly, but for the most part drifted through my days with my mind on far more interesting things than what was going on in the classroom around me.
I spent 6 years, five days a week with these people. I know things about some of them even their nearest & dearest don't know. I left school & never spoke to any of them again. Not really. I rang my *Bestie* when her father & young brother perished in a light aeroplane accident. Three pilots on board & they still hit the deck. I went, once, to a reunion dinner at an Indian restraunt 6 months out of school, barely said two words all evening. Couldn't wait to escape. The gulf between us had only widened & we had absolutely nothing in common any more. I have never desired to attend an Old Girls Reunion. I have no desire at all to go back or find out what any of the people I spent so much time with ended up doing with their lives. It unlikely to have been overly exciting.
What about you? Do you keep in contact with old school chums? Attend Renunions? Or are you like me & thank God you never have to go back there ever again?!