Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Educational readiness and sitting in the dumb row

As a child I lived on a farm. I had to go to Grade 1 on the school bus with strange girls and big tough kicking boys.

I liked my first teacher and Mrs. Brown liked me. I skipped Grade 2 for a strange reason. The school buildings in our tiny town were of different sizes, because they had been pulled in from smaller towns. The Grade 2 building was too small.

Seven of us had to go straight to Grade 3, and I was one of them. I was happy because that meant I was in Mrs. Brown's class again. It was also suitable age-wise, because due to my December birthday, I'd been nearly seven when I started Grade 1.

My mother did send me to school the September before my sixth birthday, but I developed a strange neck pain. As soon as Mom and the teacher deemed it too late to start school that year, I recovered.

Between Grades 3 and 4, we moved from Alberta to BC. Once again I was young for grades. Whereas Mrs. Brown had treated us kids with love and encouragement, my Grade 4 teacher was different.

She seated us according to achievement. When I failed to memorize my times tables on schedule, I had to move to the dumb row.

I'd expected arithmetic facts to stick in my head automatically, like reading and spelling. When they didn't, there were consequences.

That mortifying experience was useful. It caused me to decide then that if I ever became a teacher, I would be encouraging and kind.

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