Saturday, January 21, 2006

Teachers care?

As a student in Public High School, a profound statement like that should take me by surprise. However, It really doesn't due to the fact that I've been blessed with some amazing teachers in my schooling career that have done so much more than cared. I've had teachers who have made it their complete goal to see to it that I understand and comprehend and retain the information presented to me. I had a teacher who made a separate curriculum just for me and was suited to my style of learning. I've had teachers who have cared enough about me to not let me fail in their classes. Even to the point of working hours on end individually to see to it that I pass and actually use the brain the God has given me. But to fully appreciate what these teachers have done, you have to know a little about where I came from.

For me, school was great in kindergarten, but somewhere between 1st and 6th grade, I absolutely began to hate school. At my private elementary school, there was a separate 100 point behavior grade for the year on top of regular grades. Reprimands (Pink Slips) were given for anything that was considered inappropriate and carried a penalty of 2-4 points against your behavior grade. Missing/Late Assignments received "Green Slips" and would carry a penalty of 2 points. If you lost 10-15 or more points over the course of the year, you received a "Blue Slip" which meant an immediate meeting with the Principal, Detention after school and actually carried it's own 10 point penalty to your behavior grade. Now, each of these slips really was a slip that was filled out and had to be signed by yourself and returned the next day with a parent signature (If not, you received a repeat of whatever you forgot to have signed and the point penalty was doubled). As an 8 year-old kid, coming home with 2 pink slips and 2-3 green slips some days was absolutely terrifying. For me, I was a talkative little youngster. Teachers got to the point where they wouldn't even warn me about talking, they'd just pull out a pink slip, start filling it out, and call me up to receive it...in front of the entire class. After about 5 years of this, I was absolutely burned out on school. It seemed that there was no mercy whatsoever and when you slipped up, no matter how minor, you were going to get burned and you'd regret it. Some of my worst days would yield at least 1-2 pink and green slips PER CLASS. I would have single-handedly gotten myself a detention in one day and the stress of going home and having to tell my parents led me to extremes. I bottled up most of the stress from 1st grade through 6th grade, but it came back to haunt me. I developed a stomach ulcer from all of this bottled up stress. At age 12 I was burned out on school. Now, it's just my own personal opinion, but 12 is a little early to get burned out on anything. I still had huge dreams for my life, but my love for learning was dead. I would do anything to not go to school. Thousands of fake illnesses were invented by me to keep from going to school. In one slightly hilarious incident, I remember eating shaving cream so that I'd throw up at school and have to go home. It worked somehow. To me, it seemed the only way not to receive Pink/Green/Blue slips was to not be at school. Looking back, I'm not sure what I would do if I saw my 8 year-old son being reprimanded and belittled in front everyone, having to fill out a pink slip, tear off the Carbon copy, and sit down beyond humiliated in front of the entire class. Something about that would irk me as much as it did then. Well, when my parents finally realized that this school was killing me mentally, emotionally, and intellectually, we got the heck out of there. Walking out of those doors for the last time concluded what I still consider the 7 worst years of my life (No-one should feel that about ELEMENTARY school). With that school out of the way, I was accepted to Cherry Hills Christian Middle School. CHCMS was the turning point of my education and my schooling. In the two short years I was there I made close friends that I have to this day, and became completely revamped in my attitude toward school and learning. I was blessed with some of the best teachers I have ever had who are still my friends to this day. I left that school with a new love for learning, a strong backing academically, and an amazing group of friends that have gotten me through the thick and thin moments of High School. Without them, I would have enrolled at Ponderosa High School (The school that's actually in my district) with no-one that I know, and I would've lost all interest after 9th grade. But thanks to my current high school (Arapahoe High School) and the amazing teachers there, I'm hopefully on my way to applying to the Naval Academy with Projected ACT scores of 32-34 and a GPA of a 3.6-3.8 with multiple AP credit. I owe it all to God for giving my the strength to get through each day and do what he wants me to do. I also owe it to the amazing teachers at CHCMS, and several amazing teachers throughout my years at Arapahoe. So in short, my life went from burned-out, stressed-out, and quite depressing for a 12 year-old, to promising, hopeful, and very exciting for a 17 year-old. This semester I can actually say I'm loving school and while I'd love to sleep in every day, I seriously am excited to go to school. I go into classes like Advanced Scuba, American Literature, Western Civilizations, Physics, Pre-Calculus, etc and actually am excited to be there. With most people, as they go through High School, they become more and more bored and sick of school. For some reason, with me, as the years progress, I'm loving High School more and more and I'll be sad to leave, but excited to see what God has in store for me.

This post was inspired by the fact that I found a blog where several of my teachers are doing this huge massive project to better their teaching techniques and help each other by taking all of their ideas and thoughts and throwing them all into a bowl and mixing them up. I'm really exited to see how it turns out, and just through reading some of their comments and ideas, I was once again reminded that some teachers make teaching their absolute passion. It's kind of like sitting in on a teacher meeting or something. It's very cool to see the behind-the-scenes of some of their discussions and such. Well today we're celebrating my B-day because my dad is in from out of town and so we're going out to dinner tonight. Hope everyone else's day goes well.

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