Academic corruption starts much earlier than most realize. How do I know? It happened to me in elementary school. I was always a smart kid. I was even labeled G.T. (gifted and talented) in the 3rd grade. There were always higher expectations of the G.T. kids in the class than the other kids. In my 4th grade class of almost thirty there were four G.T. students. We all had extra homework, had to finish our assignments before the other students, and had to greatly excel at everything to get the same grades as the other students. It drove me crazy! I missed a lot of school, got my first F on a test, and got my first C on my report card all from the stress of it. My Mom tried to have a meeting with my teacher but it just made things worse in the classroom.
Even in 3rd grade there was trouble. For reading the class was split up into two groups, basically those that were better at it and those that weren’t. I was in the group of better readers, which was about 30 students, and the other group was about 15 students. The smaller group was always getting to do fun stuff while my group was stuck just doing schoolwork. The smaller group got chocolate chip pancakes one day and the teacher was still putting it away when we came in. One of the kids asked, “Why don’t we get chocolate chip pancakes?” and the teacher replied “If you all behaved better then maybe you could have special treats too.” Duh! More kids equals more disciplinary problems. It’s simple math. It’s not fair that the smaller group got special benefits just because there were more of us advanced readers. Shouldn’t the advanced readers get special benefits because we were actually learning and doing well which is why kids go to school?
I’m sure I can think of countless other examples. In fact Middle School was even worse. It’s a long, painful story (which I don’t wish to write in full detail at this time) but I developed health problems in 7th grade. I was unable to complete my work and though the teachers did make an attempt to help, I ended up having to take F’s for my final quarter. This from a straight A student. I even had straight A’s in 6th grade when I got Mono. Obviously, these health troubles were just too much to bear. I attempted to go back to school in 8th grade but because I had health troubles my teachers were just horrible. These teachers weren’t at all helpful. They gave me guilt trips, which just added to my stress. During winter break I told my Mom I just couldn’t go back and after a lot of struggle I didn’t go back and I started home schooling. What a great choice! On my home school testing at the end of the year I got mostly A’s and a couple B’s. I never went back to school again. I am now 19 and I HATE school. I’d rather not go to college because I hate the school atmosphere.
I’d like to point out something more about teacher “guilt trips.” I was always in the “smart classes” and my younger brother was always in the “dumb classes.” My classes always got lectures about behavior. How we should be more mature than the other students. We also got lectures about tests and homework when the class or even just one student wasn’t doing well. You know what my brother got? He got BRIBES! He got treats to behave! He got praise for just making an effort (when the truth is he’s lazy not dumb). His classes got parties with prizes! My classes didn’t get those things! I’ve grown up believing that dumb people get all the perks. That being smart just leads to unfair expectations that can never be met. I always feel like a complete failure because I can never live up to these expectations put on me. It’s crazy because shouldn’t I feel good about being smarter than most people? Instead I feel like they are better than me because they are coddled and I am nothing but a disappointment. I have horrible self-esteem and it stemmed from these early school experiences.
By: Sarah Eve Nichols