My 7 year old son was shot down by his 1st grade teacher. Is this what the American Public Education system has become?
My first grade teacher said that it was problematic that I was reading ahead of the rest of the kids in my grade and asked my parents to stop letting me read Harry Potter. My fourth grade teacher thought it was wrong for my dad to be teaching me complex math because it fascinated me.
My elementary school music teacher hated the way my piano teacher taught me, and how I was more advanced than many of her students, and so told me, in front of my peers and my mother, that I was not good enough to participate in the state solo festival. She would not give me the form. We had to procure it from the district instead. She also hated how I excelled at reading and playing music for the recorder, and so she refused to give me my “belts” (colored beads to signify our level) and humiliated me in front of the class repeatedly.
My eighth grade algebra teacher used to fail me on take home tests because I didn’t solve problems exactly the way she showed us in class; I used methods that we had learned for other types of problems that also applied to these. She took points off my tests because I didn’t bring a calculator even though I got 100% without it, because I was able to do it by hand. I had to call my father, who is an engineer, down to the school to shout her down and give me back my A in the class.
My 10th grade Spanish teacher yelled at me in front of the class numerous times because she didn’t like the way I took notes; she thought that since I didn’t write every word off the slide, I wasn’t getting it all down. I had to explain to her that people who have taken advanced courses, like AP or IB classes, know that in a fast-paced learning environment you need to take quick shorthand notes that contain the necessary information rather than wasting time writing every word. She almost gave me detention.
My 11th grade English teacher gave me a poor mark on my first short essay because she believed that I was looking up unnecessarily complex words in a thesaurus to try and get better marks. The phrases in question: “laced with expletives” and “bombarded”. She wouldn’t hear any defense from me.
My 11th grade history teacher failed me on an essay about the 1950s because I misread the prompt. Except the prompt wasn’t words; it was a political cartoon. One of the figures was clearly president Eisenhower, but the other I couldn’t place. My teacher would not tell us who it was. I labelled him as the governor of Little Rock Arkansas during the integration period, and wrote an essay about that subject. My teacher said that no, it was Joseph McCarthy, and that there was a small picture of the man in our textbook and therefore I should have recognized him instantly. Half the class, apparently, did not.
The American school system is not here to educate us or to encourage us to learn; it’s here to keep us in line and silent. It’s here to keep us from deviating and being our own people and forming our own ideas. Don’t let it win.