I love education and I love learning. When I was in elementary school, I loved going to school, making friends and learning whatever the teacher was presenting us with that day. I loved the library, writing long stories, maths, playtime, lunchtime, PE etc. I didn’t really get the point of school though, I think I was just there to have a good time. I never did my homework, except for the odd reading and spelling. There wasn’t really a harsh punishment for this, we just had to do a few extra worksheets at the end of the year. I remember recieving my report cards. Like, I am supposingly a smart woman, but those report cards were not reflecting my best. I used to get mostly 4/5s for marks, and I didn’t know how to improve them, care to improve them or even realise I was being tested. Was I putting my best effort in? I don’t know. Did I know how to get better marks? I’m not sure.
Because of my ADD, I didn’t have great attention to detail, and I had to do these tests and I got these easy questions wrong, because I skim read them and didn’t actually understand what the question was asking for. I think I still do that now.
I was popular. I had lots of friends, and when I had birthdays, I would invite most of the girls in my classes and we would have a great time. My first teacher didn’t seem to like me, but I really looked up to her and adored her. My next two teachers were males, and they were great. I cried when I finished elementary school because I really enjoyed it and I didn’t know what to expect in the future.
Intermediate was exciting. Lots of new kids and new classes. Unfortunately, my first teacher there hated me, and was somewhat of a bully who picked favourite students. I was not one of them. I loved the new classes, we had electives such as cooking, sewing and woodwork. We got to do school plays. We had school teams in different colours. I was there for two years. I got bullied badly in the second year and started talking about suicide.
The bullying continued. I really didn’t get the point of school at this point. I read online somewhere that school was a babysitting service for parents. I bought into it and stopped trying. When other people were listening to the teacher and taking notes, I would be drawing pictures in my exercise books or making my own notes like “I love Bob”. I was obsessed with Avril Lavigne, and had pictures of her all over my books. My teachers were nice. I did okay in some subjects, when I did pay attention. Maths comes to mind. I got bullied by a lot of people. Someone threw a banana at my head when I was giving a presentation. Someone threatened to smash a bottle over my head. People laughed when I fell upstairs. Pranks were played on me. Bubblegum was stuck to my skirt, and when I wore pants the next day, rumours spread that I had peed myself. That’s only a small part of what happened to me at that school. I got bullied all day, every day for two years.
I finally got relief when I changed schools for year 11. I had friends again. I enjoyed school, but I still didn’t really apply myself. I got kicked out of one class for being rude to a teacher because she used to ignore me and my friends, and when I would ask her questions, she would launch into five minute monologues instead of giving the thirty second answer I wanted. Yes, I was an asshole. I started struggling with my mental health and I would try to remember what I learnt in class, but my head felt like it was filled with fog. I went back to not having friends in year 12, then in year 13, a childhood friend let me hang out with her group. I was so close to not getting University entrance. Luckily, I got my act together and started putting some work in. I did an English class that marked each assignment at three different levels, so if I did an assignment at level 3 as an achieved, I would get a merit at level 2 and an excellence at level 3.
I have a passion for learning. I love books and documentaries. I love learning and doing my best, but I hate being marked. When you do a course and you get marked, it’s so permanent… it’s like, the best you can ever do. I would rather have assignments and exams as a tool to see where you need to improve, not as a final thing where you never get better or where the learning stops.
I feel like school wasn’t designed for people like me. People that are so easily discouraged. I needed intervention at a young age and to be inspired to learn. I guess I didn’t see the point in learning. When I was in highschool, I wanted to be an actress. I guess I didn’t see how school could help me. I should have been studying English, Journalism, Drama, History… I should have still been aiming for something. I wasn’t prepared for school to end and the real world to begin. I guess I never believed that I would finish school or the future would come, or that it was tomorrows problem. I wasn’t ready to learn because I had no idea what the future held or what other job I could do. I did a career quiz to help me, and it said I should be a hat maker! What? I don’t know if anyone found that career quiz as useless as I did.