“Since I was a child I had to interrupt my education to go to school.” George Bernard Shaw
Today I want to tell you about my experience in the educational system, how I lived it and how I remember it. The truth is that in general I was a lucky girl, for several reasons, but I still regret losing so much of my life sitting in a chair.
The first reason is that I did not go to school until I was three years old , and yes, that’s great luck. Although I could not be with Mom and Dad, which would have been ideal, I could be at home with a person for me, who could give me their full attention.
I was lucky also because when I entered the nursery school, at that time, we practically played all day, everything was much more playful, there were not so many rules , so much discipline, nor chips , nor directed activities.
I was lucky because when I entered elementary school and started school, I was a girl who enjoyed classes, I loved reading, I liked to learn, I wanted September to come, the traditional method used was good for me, at least the first years , but I know and being realistic, I know that it was not like that for everyone, most of the classmates did not want to go, they did not enjoy it.
This lasted a couple of years, in the third year of primary school the homework already took me a long time and I hated it. I did not always do them, I looked for ways to do them at recess or copy them from someone in a hole. But despite not doing them, they generated horrible pressure.
When we traveled to visit my family in Argentina at Christmas, as we were leaving for a month, they sent me an awful lot of work to do. I did not do it all, my parents did not oblige me either, but I was there, I knew I had to do it and it anguished me. I had to enjoy holidays and people but the happy duties did not allow me to disconnect.
Course to course the thing was getting boring and increasingly difficult, but as I said I was lucky, because I have a good memory, and that, in the system we have a lot of help. I was studying the day before, memorizing like a parrot, and letting go of the exam so that I would never remember anything of that again.
High school was spent inventing a thousand ways to entertain me in class and survive the dead hours in which teachers read the textbook. We sent notes with friends, made drawings, wrote songs, letters, anything was more entertaining than listening to the teacher. I went from feeling overwhelmed and bored to feeling cheated and angry. I did not want to waste my time studying things that I knew I was going to forget so I invented a thousand ways to pass the exams without doing it. I’m not proud of it but I’m not ashamed either. I survived.
Mathematics, which I did not study and I just liked, nailed them and I did not mind passing my exam to the one next to me to get a ten like me. For some that is cheating, I saw it as helping my friends, but the system as we know it wants us competitive non-cooperative .
Luckily again, in college I was able to study the career I wanted. I had good teachers, I enjoyed some classes, I wanted to go to several (I also spent a lot of time in the cafeteria learning things that are also very valuable for life) and I remember it with love. But I also had many hours lost sitting in a desk. I perfected my strategies to entertain myself and I printed literature books that I liked on paper sheets, so they looked like notes and I read hours and hours during many classes.
I was never an outstanding girl. I got tired of listening to my teachers say that if I tried harder I could be excellent. I did not want to try harder or be excellent. I wanted to play and be with my friends. I was satisfied with a 5. As I said, I was lucky because my parents did not ask me much more either.
When I finished college and until today, I’m still studying. This time on my own I have read about what has interested me, I have taken courses that I wanted to do, I have gone to talks, I have researched, I have shared with other people and I have been able to put it into practice. These last years have been a real learning, real, productive, motivating, fun, meaningful, useful and have made me discover that this is the only way to learn something well, from passion, interest and desire. Everything else is not learning, it’s something else. And you? How has your experience been?