Teach the Children WELL

Lessons for living learned in school

I always looked forward to school. I used to think I did so because I was then who I am now—someone who loves to learn. But truth be told, I wonder if I liked school because I could memorize facts. Earning those 95s (we didn’t have the A–F grading system) on my report card made me happier than receiving a new pair of Jordache jeans. Yet I have no memory of being excited by a scientific concept, a historical event or a literary device I studied. Did I truly learn any facts, which seemed to be the teachers’ goal back then, or did I develop skills for life-long learning, the philosophy today’s best teachers talk about? Or did school provide practical life lessons? Here’s what I can recall:

Age 5
When my mom took me to observe a class before I started school, I saw a student take a note from her teacher to the teacher next door. How cool to be in the hallway alone, and to be the only student out of the 20 selected to do so. I aspired to that honor and eventually found that the way to earn it was by being quiet, sharing toys and smiling a lot.
Lesson learned: Play nice.

Age 7
My teacher gathered a group of us to read out loud and every time we made a mistake she marked it on the board. I had the most marks and tears in my eyes.
Lesson learned: Point out mistakes privately.

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