Not a new problem

Sabra over at Trailer Park Paradise has a post up about the problem she see’s with kids today.

The adults.  And I totally agree

She sites specific examples, and although I don’t have kids so I can’t compare, I can say that at least one of those examples isn’t new.

When I was in fourth grade (1989) I had several run ins with the teacher who taught most of the 4th grade level classes (and one 5th grade level class, yes, I had to deal with her again the next year, and then my parents wondered why I ended up having to repeat 5th grade, in retrospect, its obvious).   Now at least part of the problem was my undiagnosed ADD, and its entirely possible that if we’d figured THAT out sooner some of run-ins wouldn’t have been a problem.  But not all of it.

One incident rather stood out.  We had a small in class library that we were allowed to check out books from to read in class when we finished an assignment before the time was up.  I was a voracious reader, reading well ahead of my grade level, as well as reading much faster than most adults much less my peers, but there were books in that little library that I’d not read before, so I proceeded to check out books from it as often as we were allowed.

I remember turning in one book, and checking out another.  Something we were allowed to do for ourselves.  I returned to my seat and started the new book, only to have the teacher stand up, in the middle of the quiet classroom, and ask me why I’d turned in the book if I hadn’t finished it. 

I told her I had finished it.  I was informed that lying was a sin. 

I said I wasn’t lying, I’d finished the book.  I was informed that it wasn’t physically possible to have finished the book in the time I’d read it.

I said, again, that I’d finished the book, and that I read faster than most people.  At which point she opened the book up to a random page and demanded that I tell her what the first word was on that page.

I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes as I informed her that I’d said I read it, not that I had a photographic memory, and would she like me to write a report on it?

She said that wasn’t necessary, she now knew who the liar was in her classroom.

I don’t recall why I didn’t tell my mother about the incident.  I know it stuck with me.  I spent several years holding onto library books (and similar) for several days longer than I needed to because I was afraid that someone in authority would get on my case for it.  I wish I had said something to my mother.  She reads at least as quickly as I do, and would not have tolerated me being called a liar for reading as quickly as I did (and still do). 

Unfortunately I know she continued to teach at that school for several more years at least.

3 Comments

  1. Ping from threecollie:

    That is truly appalling, and, as you said, way too common. Two of our three kids got in trouble repeatedly for reading above grade level. Books were actually confiscated from them! Fortunately they did tell me and heads rolled. What a shame that karma didn’t somehow visit your teacher and get her out of the classroom!

    • Ping from Ruth:

      In retrospect I really wish I had told my parents. My mother would have gone through the roof.

      And to be fair a number of my other teachers congratulated me for reading above my grade level. But yah, I really wish I’d said something…..

  2. Ping from DCE:

    Unlike you, my teachers knew I read well above grade level, read very fast, and retained everything I read. But then that was back in the 1960’s when education was about learning and not indoctrination and equality of outcome.