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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An education & a half.

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?!


Joluise said...

I have two friends who I knew from pre-school (infact we knew each other since we were babies), otherwise no I have lost contact with all my school pals. I was a poor student, had great difficulties in class, seemed to always get C or D (as in fail), just wasn't bright enough!! I wasn't great at much, except I could run the 100m's and win. I was also reasonably arty. I have 3 very smart brothers and I was the "dumb" one!! I went to a great school, in the sense it was a posh private girls school full of rich families, but that doesn't guarantee brains. I wasn't a student and I hated being a student as I was so poor at it. However take me out of the classroom suitation and I learn just fine. In fact I went on to go to univeristy and become a statistican - not dumb anymore. I even surprise myself sometimes!!!

I would NEVER go back to school as I do not have fond memories AT ALL. Just memories of failing :(

I doubt I have anything in comment with the girls I went to school with.

Anonymous said...

Your story about the science teacher that locked the class in the room brought back such memories! My middle school art teacher was perpetually agitated with my unruly classmates (at a Christian school, no less!). One particularly bad day, she left the classroom in a quite a state, locking the door behind her. Except she forgot about the other door that led into an infrequently used inner hallway. Very quietly one by one, my classmates slipped out the door and tiptoed across the hallway, making their way to who knows where, and when she returned with superintendent in tow, she found an empty room except for a lone blonde girl in the corner desk with her nose in a book. She proceeded to collapse into her chair and covered her face with her hands. She retired from teaching that week. My class maintained their "reputation" throughout middle school, and since the majority of us went onto high school together, it is there that they strove for even greater notoriety and were quite successful in that endeavor as well. I really have no idea as to how most of them "turned out", I'm sure age, marriage, children, life has worked it's charm on most of them.

Ruby said...

Loved my primary school days! A 2/3 teacher school in the metropolis of Goovigen, CQ. Loved my high school days. Boarding school so I go very home sick but loved the company and most of the schooling. I know. It is unusual, especially for a home school mum! I don't have heaps in common with those girls but boarding together for five years develops a strong bond and a lot of us keep and contact. And yes, I have even organised reunions. We are having one this July!

Julie said...

I do have a few school friends I keep in touch with. With two of them, I'm amazed to say we've been dear friends for forty-seven years, and only grow closer as time passes. We pray for each other, fly to see each other every few years, and express our amazement that our friendships have endured as they have. God is definitely the glue.

As to attending reunions? I also graduated from high school in California in 1975 and our 35th reunion was a couple of years ago. I didn't go, and am not sure I have any desire to connect with the people I didn't spend time with back then.

I loved the photo - you were a doll, and have only grown more lovely with age, Ganeida.

Julie said...

[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 did this too. But my mom caught on. I wasn't prone to getting it trouble, but when I did, my mom restricted me to go outside and play. No books for me that day.

I enjoyed high school. Until recently I have only kept up with one girl. We were in church and youth group together. We dated brothers. But, we weren't really friends. I had my crowd and she had hers. But, that is the one girl I kept in touch with.

I did go to my high school reunion (30 years) back in October. I am glad I went. I have reconnected with a few people on facebook. But, really, those relationships are pretty superficial. Blogging is a much better way to really get to know people. But, I felt out of place. There was a bar and people were drinking, too much. Making out of the dance floor. At a drawing, one of the "prizes" was an adult magazine from the year we graduated. So, the whole night felt a little odd.

Ganeida said...

Jo: Understand completely. THe only memory I really have of my school days is one of unrelenting boredom & I do so hate to be bored! :(

Megan?: Yes, Christian schools out here can be the worst! People with money but no faith send their children to learn the morals they don't adhere to themselves. The result is diabolical!

Ruby: How fascinating! My mother was country schooled & also has at least one long term friend from those days & went to the reunion several years ago. I believe she found it interesting. Perhaps I just need to live longer & have a more generous spirit? ☺

Julie: lol I always knew you were a loyal friend. How wonderful!

Julie2: I think I have been sureptiously visiting your blog. It is so lovely to get a comment from you. I think this is why I couldn't do a reunion. Not my scene & I would fret about all the more interesting things I could be doing. Some things don't change & I'm afraid I'm not much of a *people person*.

seekingmyLord said...

I did not stay in touch with any of my schoolmates, although I have family that stayed in the general area and I do get some news about them. I was not particularly close with anyone. I always had a heart for the outcast kid, probably because I felt I was an outcast as well. My husband and I have not attended any of our class reunions...why perpetuate feeling like an outsider?