Thursday, March 15, 2007

The School of Life (part III)

I have to start by saying that I know this series of writings is not of interest to most people, but I’ve titled them all clearly so that you can avoid them at your pleasure.

Fourth grade was a year of true protest, no homework, no work in class except what it took to maintain a C to D average. It was very difficult to hit D all the time, me and my friend Troy would compare drawings and try to shoot low enough on our scores to get into the special classes. This wasn’t actually possible, but it worked because our teacher HATED us in no uncertain terms. There were quite a few D and F students in my class who never got sent to the special classes, but we weren’t complaining. The teacher really sent us there to (1) get us away from her and to (2) try to embarrass us. But which would you prefer, to be talked to in a slow sweet voice by a teacher who thinks you’re retarded or have your mind raped? Right, it’s a no brainer (no pun intended).

Troy and I would finish our ‘tard work quickly and then have a couple of hours to spend in the library actually getting a chance to learn for a change. It seemed that this was the perfect scam, except for the fact that it raised our grades to B’s and C’s, I may have been left with as little as one D at the end of the year.

One day my 4th grade teacher sent me home with a note for my mother that said, in essence, “If you sign this we won’t hold your son back, if you don’t sign this we will”. My mother, of course, didn’t sign it but never told me. I got my report card and it said, “Placement next year: Grade 4”. I was sick, I was being “consoled” by several girls in the class who were very sympathetic but now sounded just like my special class teachers. The evil 4th grade teachers plan was a success, I was embarrassed. I was also sick and shocked. I never trusted anyone (including my parents) but to have such blatant confirmation of my mothers betrayal did hurt a little.

Later my mother told me that she agreed with the teacher and that I was immature for my age. I said, “Have you even seen these idiots? They eat paste and chew on pencils all day!” I knew there was no fighting it, my mother had no understanding of what I was going through, she had bought into the system long ago, even having been homecoming queen.

My second fourth grade was extra painful but mostly due to the multi-faceted monotony and then having to learn the names of the new crop of idiots in my classes. I had a good teacher. I didn’t learn anything from her, but she wasn’t afraid of my brain, maybe just because she knew that all the other kids thought I was dumber than them. She clearly liked kids (even though I still can’t see why). Overall it was at a relatively calm place between rapes. She read Judy Bloom books to the class. In a way, it was refreshing that the kids in my class weren't intimidated by me.

For some odd reason I seemed to be the only kid that didn’t have a music class that year. It was my previous 4th grade teacher who also taught music. Somehow she had arranged it so that she didn’t have to see me at all that year. She was winning all the way, my only consolation was that she was sentenced to life as herself, and that was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

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