Compared to that, being in classes with 30 other kids was tough. No personal attention. Things moved so s-l-o-w. Some classes I really didn’t need to be in at all. Some classes I maybe knew ninety percent of the material, so paying attention in order to catch the other ten percent was a tall order. Some classes maybe I didn’t know any of it, but I could have learned in an afternoon what would take them all semester to teach. Also at some point I started knowing more about some subjects than the teachers. Worse, realizing it.

All this I resented. 

Maybe it’s just my character. I like to organize and manage. Submission is not my strong suit. I like to lead. I can bow down, do it well & with a smile on my face, but it makes it easier to have a reason. Necessity’s a reason. School didn’t offer that.

Put me in a classroom where there’s no room to shine, no way to advance, and no point in tilting at the little windmills placed before me; little to prove to myself; and prove to others? Them? The ones who can’t get their facts right, the ones who just want me to raise my hand and bob my head?

I didn’t perform terribly well. Nor did I perform terribly. Nor did I care. What were they testing? Nothing of interest to me. Nothing to prove to myself. Not much desire to prove it to them.

Them. The better the work I felt I was doing, the worse they liked it. One of us was wrong. By the time I got to high school I started to devise experiments. Sometimes I’d not do the readings for a month, or skip an entire book: then I’d ace the test, because I wouldn’t bring my *own* analyses, just what I’d picked up in class. Sometimes I’d write a paper, then go back through it and insert mistakes of grammar and spelling. That way the teachers would have things to correct. My grades would go up. Sometimes I’d really throw myself at something – write a paper, a poem, a play – and watch the teacher dismiss it out of hand. It did not build in me a desire to submit to this system. I wanted to stop the world and get right off.


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