Collected Wisps of Thought

{September 5, 2008}   Back to School

When I was a kid, I hated school with a passion. I hated it from day one — kindegarten. Most kids like kindegarten. I mean, what is there not to care for? There’s coloring, playtime, snacks, the little cardboard house you can crawl into, the delightful smell of paints and crayons. But no. I hated it. And it never got better from there. Every year was a sentence of boredom.

I remember the feeling I’d get every August when the air turned cooler and the days began to count down one by one until my fate was unavoidable. My stomach would churn and my mind would fill with dread until the feeling of unease worked its way into everything else I might do. I drove my parents crazy with my misery.

Even now, all these years later, I still feel grateful when this time of year arrives and I do not have to go back to school. I feel grateful in the mornings when I watch the yellow school bus pass my house without stopping and I see my neighbor kids lining up with the back packs and book bags. I feel grateful when I pick up my neice (who fortunately loves school) and think of all the things I chose to do while I wasn’t in school.

Of course, I realize that many kids feel like my neice, and for that I’m immensely grateful. If I ever have kids, I pray they’ll look at school the way she does because if they don’t I’ll have to home school them for sure. But I also realize there’s a good number of kids who feel like I used to, so for those kids I want to say that “this too shall pass”. School might feel like a prison sentence, a hoop society says you must jump through in order to obtain your freedom, but one day it will end and you will have learned all the basic things you must learn to get your diploma so that you can get a job, and you will find yourself free to spend your daytime hours as you choose.

So for those of you who dread the start of school each year, hang in there. Just think, pretty soon there will be snow days, holiday vacations, and spring break. And then you’ll find yourself that much closer to counting down the days to another summer vacation, and to an eventual life with more choices because you’ve paid your dues. Remember, if you’re already there, you might as well learn everything you can and save it up for later.


Tracy says:

Well said! I remember dreading second grade (penmanship and multiplication tables were done daily), loving seventh grade (almost free!), being impatient in eighth grade (why aren’t I in high school yet?!)… just to dread ninth grade… and the cycle repeats.

But, it did all pass, and now sometimes I miss being in a classroom.

Andrea says:

I found school a sanctuary away from my home and the torment that I felt when I stepped through the doors of 47 Old Wakefield Rd. I excelled academically because I knew that my education was my ticket off of Old Wakefield and because I was naturally curious. As an English teacher now, I strive to diminish some of the boredom that kids experience at school, but I realize that I have limitations and that no matter what I do, there are some kids that are just turned off by formal schooling. Reading K.L.’s entry about being bored at school is a bit of relief to me. I am pleased to hear that a successful writer (and let’s not fail to mention, an extremely talented writer) was bored by the whole process but was not so turned off from books and the power of the written word. I am glad she shared this with us.

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