Why I Hate School

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
An essay about the failures of the education system in my life.

Submitted: March 31, 2010

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Submitted: March 31, 2010

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I really hate school.  And by hate, I mean that I experience rageful, loathsome, biblical-scale negative emotions when I think about it.  The institutions I have attended, from elementary school up through the community college I am currently attending, have failed me in every way possible. 

 

Failure to Challenge

It's no secret that I'm smart – no genius mind you, but I'm certainly towards the upper end of the bell curve.  I have been incredibly bored by school since day one.  We use to read aloud as a class in elementary school and I would get bored and annoyed at the verbal stumblings of my class mates and would read ahead silently.  Inevitably, I would get in trouble for not paying attention when it came my time to read.  Well of course I wasn't paying attention!  I didn't like to listen to these mouth breathers  shout at me on the play ground and I sure as hell didn't want to hear them struggle over two syllable words in class. 

I was similarly bored in high school.  Our school's “college-prep” courses were a joke.  I transferred in my freshman year from a school in California.  My college-prep science class used the same book that my sixth grade class used three years priors.  Furthermore, many of the teachers were there only because they didn't know what else to do and probably couldn't hold down a real job.  I remember the teacher for our “Guidance Class” (that class was a fucking joke), telling us that he became a teacher because he wasn't smart enough to be an engineer.  Apparently he wasn't smart enough to think of any other alternatives either.  That was great career advice, thanks a bunch!

There was one teacher in high school that really went out of his way to help me learn.  He designed a special theater-design class just for me.  He helped me write a really great essay for my English class, and he was a good friend to go to when I was having trouble at home.  He taught me one more really valuable lesson: teachers are only interested in what they can get from their students.  Sometimes it's a sense of importance, other times it's just a paycheck.  In his case, he eventually got his hands down my pants (more on this later).

College has, for the most part, been more of same drudgery.  I can't remember the last class I took where I really had to work, or think to get a decent grade.  Most of it is read through this boring shit that someone else thinks is important, take a test where you can regurgitate it in an essay and you're golden.  I get so bored and pissed off sitting through class listening to people's inane questions and comments.  It's even worse when they think they're being insightful.  I really want to throw my book at some of them.  “Shut the fuck up!  Seriously.  We don't give a shit about what you have to say.  You're not special, you're not bright, and your point is painfully obvious.”

 

Failure to Educate

You'd think that given a student who is capable of thought, most teachers would jump at the chance to actually teach them something.  That really hasn't been true in my case.  Our high school Algebra teacher once spent 35 minutes berating the class because 90% of us were getting a “C” or worse in the class and we really needed to apply ourselves more.  I pointed out that the common denominator (note the clever use of math vocabulary) here was our teacher.  If 90% were doing poorly, perhaps he should examine what he could be doing better.  Needless to say, I didn't do very well in that class. 

A couple of years ago I decided to take a statistics class over the Internet from Harvard.  I thought that given their reputation, I should really learn a lot in the class.  I really struggled in the class, mostly because of the format.  I learned about half way through the semester that the other students, all from the Boston area, were meeting twice a week with the professor's teaching assistant on campus two get help with their homework.  These small study sessions were considered to be an integral part of the class.  The professor eventually asked me why I never attended and I had to tell her that I lived on the West Coast.  It turns out that I never should've been allowed to register for the class but no one caught that I lived thousands of miles from campus One of the most respected universities on the planet screwed me out of $900, 4 months of my life and I still couldn't tell you how to find the standard deviation of penis lengths. 

 

Failure to Provide Value for the Dollar

One of the things that really pisses me off about schools is that I spend a shit load of my income on them to get very little in return.  Every quarter I am required to spend at least $300 on books that each professor says is required to pass the class.  Really?  Do you know how many of those books I've returned to the book store unopened?  Why should I spend the money and the time reading the text when you're just gonna tell me what's in during the next class period.  My Family Law professor a couple of quarters ago told us all one night in class that he had taken the liberty of ordering our “texts” from the Oregon State Bar Association, and that we all owed him $80/person.  That stack of papers is still rolling around in the trunk of my car with the shrink wrap on it.  I'm not saying that books are useless.  What am I saying is that if you're going to require us to buy, and read them, then fucking use them to teach. 

I also really hate paying tuition to sit through a lecture about shit I don't care about or already know.  It's kind of like going to watch community theater and not leaving at intermission because “you already paid for the tickets.”  This quarter I've had to sit through lectures about (I'm not joking) what a “copy clerk” does (three guesses) and about how the Internet has changed office life.  Really?  I didn't realize that we could e-mail documents now!

 

Failure to Protect

Most egregiously however, the educational institutions that I've attended have failed to protect me from injury.  Every single incident of verbal, physical and sexual abuse I've experienced has been a direct result of my school's failure to protect it's students.  In elementary school I was often at the wrong end of “fag” jokes and incessantly teased for being too effeminate.  As I got older the verbal epithets morphed into clenched fists and kicks.  In junior high school a group of 15 of my peers formed a circle around me and kicked me as I lay on the ground in the school's parking lot after class.  In high school, it was not uncommon to have rocks thrown at me and my friends and we walked across campus.  It was also at this high school that I was molested by my (a man, who poetically enough, went on to suffer from colon cancer).  This happened despite years of rumors circulating around the school that this man had a predatory penchant for young boys.  There is little doubt in my mind that I was his only victim and to this day he is the only person that I sincerely hate.

I thought that by the time I reached college I would have left all of that behind.  I was wrong.  During the fall at ChapmanUniversity, in OrangeCounty, I was savagely attacked by two drunken football players.  The attack was motivated solely by my sexuality and I was again beaten in the parking lot of my school.  Here's the kicker:  two campus security guards were less than 50 yards away and did nothing before, during or after the attack to assist me.  To make matters worse, the school kicked me out at the end of the semester and my theater scholarship was revoked.  If I had known then what I know now about torts, I have no doubt I could have gotten my education paid for. 

 

I bitch and moan so much about school that I am often asked why don't I just drop out? The answer is that I have something to prove.  I have come to understand that I don't feel safe at school and I have a strong distrust of those in positions of authority at schools.  My gripes about not being challenged or spending too much money really stem from the apprehension that something bad is going to happen if I let my guard down.  I need to finish, not because I need the degree, but because surviving it is the best way to say “fuck you” to the institution that screwed me over.

 


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