While reading other essays, particularly "I Just Want to be Average," I was reminded of my time as a kindergarten, where I was literally the worst behaved student in the class. I wanted to write about all of the things I did but settled for two because to the length constraint. Still, I feel this essay has more story than reflection, and I want to become better at writing reflections.
Once upon a time, I was not a quiet person. There was a time where I was not cautious of danger. Instead, I greeted it with open arms. Better yet, I didn’t even acknowledge it. There was a time when I was a terrible kid, and that time was kindergarten. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded of all of the bad times I’ve had in my first year of school. Kindergarten is supposed to be that time where kids learn basic education. I got nothing out of it. All I remember are the bad things I did.
The teacher passed out these handwriting sheets about some concept we were taught to call ”numbers.” The sheets she handed out were in a packet of ten pages, each labeled from 1 to 10. My teacher talked to us about what we were doing.When I got my packet, I immediately scribbled in all of the numbers. My teacher noticed me in the speech she was giving. “WHY ARE YOU ON EIGHT?!?” she bellowed. I quickly shot up from my daze and stared at my teacher, as if I was frozen. “Go flip your card.” I got out of my seat, walked over to the corner, and changed my card from green to yellow. That meant I had done something wrong.
I could barely focus, often didn’t know or hear what was going on, and I started talking to myself at that age. What was going on? Something I think was happening was that I was doing whatever I saw. My teachers were just trying to teach me and keep me in line, but I wouldn’t listen. I recall something that Mike Rose wrote in “I Just Want to be Average,” “Students will float to the mark you set.” I feel like that was true for every kid in my class, except me. As if it didn’t apply to me. Everyone else could follow directions. Everyone else could focus on their work. Why couldn’t I?
It was a cloudy afternoon after school one day. My dad was dragging me down the sidewalk outside the school. “You are in so much trouble.” His words exactly, in the same fearsome voice he spoke in when angry. We walked to the car and drove off. My dad got on the phone with mom, going over the details of the bad thing I did that day. I don’t even remember, but I had an idea about it. It was probably that time when I said something like, “I hate this mother%#$* school,” but I have no recollection of it. “ALL HE CAN DO IS EAT AND READ!!!” I was jolted back to reality when my dad spanked me on the leg. Looking back on that day, I realize that my father was just looking out for me. He knew I had potential and desperately wanted me to use it. Mark Rose said it best when he wrote
After a spanking, I was left in my room to read. There was a bookshelf in my room with simple books, like “The Cat in the Hat” and other Dr. Seuss stories. I stood up on the shelf and randomly selected a book. At first, I was just flipping through the pages looking at all of the pretty pictures. However, as I went on, I started looking more at the words rather than the pictures. I knew how to read at that age, so I was able to get through the books. There were a few things I picked up here and there, like the sounds animals make and the many numbers there are. I was actually gaining knowledge, something I seemingly was unable to do in school.
All of these memories of kindergarten, and countless others have helped me understand that there are multiple kinds of education. Mainly two. There’s the sweet, educational things you learn in school, and then there was the realistic, societal things you learn everywhere else. For example, I didn’t know what 6+7 was, but I knew how many curse words there were. I had too much societal education and not enough room for ‘actual’ education. And the way I see it now, actual education is more important. I wish I didn’t act up so much back then. Even after I read that day, I still acted up in school and didn’t officially get it together until 4th grade. But now, I know that I have a balance between education and society.
Rose, Mike. "I Just Want to be Average." 1989. Accessed December 10, 2017. https://www.cengage.com/custom/static_content/OLC/s76656_76218lf/rose.pdf.