I know, I should get in line.
I just went to parent teacher conferences. No relation to the child discussed, just along for the ride due to a wide open schedule. And I heard a lot of things about a few kids. “Has done well, just needs to participate more,” “you have nothing to worry about, your child does everything perfectly,” and “he consistently arrives 3 minutes late.” Yes, she’s been counting. I couldn’t help but wonder what the point was. I never saw the point while in school, and now I especially don’t see it. When have I ever used anything that I learned in physics? Or geometry? Technical drawing? Really? I haven’t. Someone has, but I haven’t had the pleasure yet. I don’t knock any particular subject. I just dislike curriculum as a whole. Everything that I’ve needed, I mean really needed to know, I’ve learned on my own, or have been taught through the world.
I never learned about death. I never learned how to tell if someone was lying to you. I never learned that love is always conditional with most people you meet. I never learned that most of the love you show most people probably is too. And that people do die before their time, but they don’t really, because we don’t really know what time it is. Those lessons hit hard. Harder than a textbook.
But the third Matrix movie did help me understand that nothing can exist without its opposite. Clubs showed me that most people drink to escape, and made me look at what we we’re running from. 2 years of college showed me that it isn’t for everyone, but there’s a small amount of avenues for those who don’t fit the mold. Kids have shown me that everything is possible, until the world beats the imagination out of you. People who test my nerves have taught me a lot about my limitations, and more about myself. An illegal substance has taught me that we’re all just different cut-outs of the same fabric. Can you guess which one?
Now, that was through a pipe. I don’t know how you put those lessons into a classroom, or how you teach guidelines for truly unique experiences, but there’s no room for wonder. Everybody knows that not everyone is the same. So why do we have the same criteria for the masses? Who are you to judge me, mold me, place me in a box? There isn’t room for spontaneity or for life to occur in those boxes. As a person who never really fit, I don’t think there’s room for all personalities to excel. Not everybody sits comfortably at desks.
“Why does he need to participate?” I wonder that as I overhear a teacher telling a kid what he’s missing to be her ideal student. “What if he doesn’t care?” Because… I don’t blame him. I never got an A for helping to diffuse a situation, or an F for letting her off the hook when she used fake tears to disarm me when I was mad. Those things – reading people and situations, harnessing courage through your fears, standing up against authority when it needs to be done – aren’t graded. Aren’t given praise. But they are so advanced, that those lessons are passed grad school. They lie somewhere in a moment that won’t be looked at on standardized testing. Where is that kid’s gold star for not caring, and for not wasting time on things that aren’t important to him? That’s a lesson that I still haven’t been able to grasp fully. Ahead of the curve, he is.
I don’t like school. I don’t like what it promotes: A whole lot of sameness. I hate that it leaves out the differences. And parent teacher conferences are like the nail in the coffin. R.I.P. to personalities. And I don’t know how to fix that; just consider me a complainer.
From my days as an after school teacher, I know there’s not much I personally can teach. But I can offer this: Kids, duck and dodge the laws of the curriculum. And most importantly, no matter how many other people are facing the other way, don’t ever think twice about running towards what you want. Real life comes out of every one of those steps.