In preschool, school was basically the best part of my day. It was something I always looked forward to. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from mid-morning to early afternoon, I would get up and be excited for whatever was to come that day.
Kindergarten was like that, too. Every day was an adventure filled with learning, creativity, and friendship. It was like a play date with all my best friends every day of the week. I never understood why all the kids on TV despised school so much; high school couldn't have possibly been as awful as Drake, Josh, Miley, and Lily made it out to be. Instead of awful it was a fun, enriching adventure, like an episode of Kim Possible.
Boy, was I wrong about high school. But I digress, this is about the good ol’ days.
First grade was probably one of my favorite years. With an amazing teacher and a passion for learning, I was set and on my way to achieve great things. When we were placed in reading groups, my reading level was so high that my teacher brought in one of her former students, a 2nd or 3rd grade girl I barely remember whose name escapes me, to help me read while the other reading groups read their level 1 picture books. I gained a slight superiority complex from this system, I think, but who in my place wouldn’t have? I was a 1st grader reading Geronimo Stilton chapter books while the class was still on “A Bad Case of the Stripes.”
In first grade, I was also proficient in math and science. I participated in a science thing (I’m not quite sure what to call it) with a fairly grumpy old 4th grade teacher about once a month along with some other kids in my grade. These kids, there were about 3 or 4 of them, were from a different class, but my teacher asked theirs if I could attend with them. Obviously I could, and that was a good experience. That may have been when I began to get into science.
2nd grade was probably the biggest ego boost for me. I was great at our multiplication tables (I was doing multiplication and division while most of the class was still adding 6’s and subtracting 5’s), and I was still reading. A lot.
See, this is where I feel the education system fails us as the years go by. I love to read. If I could read my books all day I would. I could read for hours and not even bother doing anything else because I just love it. But as the years pass and our educations progress, reading becomes a chore. It seems almost impossible for me to read nowadays because it takes up precious time that I need for homework. But again, I digress.
3rd grade was the year I entered G.T. Finally, all my hard work and reading had paid off. Except, it almost didn’t seem like I had done any hard work at all, because back in elementary school, I actually enjoyed learning. Not that I don’t enjoy it now, but I enjoy it in a different way. G.T. was a turning point in my life. I think I finally realized “Hey, you’re actually pretty smart, don’t let that go to waste.” I hope I didn’t let it go to waste.
Now come the final two good years. 4th and 5th grades were the last two years that I really, truly, honestly enjoyed. It’s really sad that I have to say that, especially considering that it’s been 6 years and I haven’t truly enjoyed a year of school since, but it’s the honest truth.
After 5th grade, learning became a chore. In previous years it was always something I had wanted to do in my free time and enjoyed doing in my free time, but abundances and abundances of projects and homework and reading made the learning that I had once loved seem tedious and extreme.
This, I feel, is where our education system fails us. It takes something that many kids once enjoyed and turns it into a chore that children and teens are forced to schedule into their daily lives. Plans are made around homework, life is scheduled around homework and tests and projects because there are just so many that it’s nearly impossible to simply block out an hour of your day to complete it all. School systems don’t seem to realize that, while doing work and understanding content is important, children need time for friends and sleep and family.
The school systems are able to take the best years of our lives and turn them into the busiest, most unbearable. And that is where our schools are failing us.