‘Things about school that make me sad’ Part Two. As published in The Colt

I am sitting in Goody Burris’s English class as the noise progresses. Mrs. Burris is teaching a lesson about commas or something similar and every other voice grows around hers. A lot of the sound is questioning about commas or something similar. A good portion of it, however, is asking Mrs. Burris if she has a Facebook or trying to trip her up on the lesson or talking across the room about soccer or blatantly singing. First of all, if we think we can trip up Goody Burris on grammar rules, we’re dead wrong. If Mrs. Burris doesn’t know the exact rule, I guarantee she will make one up. Secondly, we are with these kids all day, we are only graced by the comma knowledge of Francine Burris for one class period. Additionally, we are juniors in high school-soon to be living on our own-we should be capable of listening to someone talk with busting out in the top 20 hits of why adults find our generation repulsive.

I often find myself wondering why we’re here. Sometimes this is pondering existence itself but today i am wondering why we go to school. It is my thought that public education is designed to create a more educated government and society run by the people-who are themselves more educated from this school system. Presumably, we all want to grow up and become educated citizens of the world. yes, that’s it. it has nothing to do with the fact that we are required by the state and federal government to show up everyday. It has nothing to do with the fact that they let us play football here. It has nothing to with the fact that our moms wake us up in the morning and we just never questioned it.

All of us teachers are here for a reason. As I was writing a story alumni who teach at AHS, I noticed something. Every single teacher said that the one thing they loved most about their job was the students. They loves to see us truly learning. They love to see us grow out of immature middle-schoolers into adults ready to take on the world.

Everyone has classes that they hate. For me, it’s a different one every day. Nonetheless, I have them. When I walk into that class, all I’m thinking is “What time do we get out of here?” I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way about some classes. When we walk into those classes, we have a decision to make. We can pay attention, try our best to learn something and stay out of the way for the other kids, or we can forget about all of that. We can get distracted, forget about the learning and cause a ruckus. It’s okay though. We don’t like that class.

Now think about your favorite class. Think of the one you look forward to all day. think of the class that teaches you about what you want to do for the rest of your life. You walk in and sit down and open your book and you feel at home. Then you can’t hear what the teacher is saing because of a ruckus from the other side of the room.  It’s okay though. They don’t like that class.

When you are in you least favorite class, you are in some one else’s favorite class. You are interfering with their right to learn what they love just because you don’t love it. That’s not fair. That’s rude and inconsiderate and obnoxious. That’s not okay.

You’re not only cheating your classmates. You’re being rude to your teachers. I know. Teachers aren’t people, right? It’s not fair to Goody Burris.  She’s spent her whole life learning how to be the English teacher she is today. Me and my friends talk like we a buncha country bumpkins in comparison to Francine Burris-a true lady of the North, skilled in punctuation, vocabulary and other sorts of higher schoolin’.

I am sitting in Mrs. Burris’s English class. She is giving a lecture about colons or something similar. She says “For example, ‘I love teaching for the following reasons:….'” All of a sudden we are talking about ellipses instead. At the time, it was funny. That’s the kind of thing that couldn’t be planned or made up. Just pure, beautifully unique humor in real life. It was funny at the time, but in retrospect it’s sad. I’m sad. The heart-hurting reality is that teaching is probably frustrating and annoying and just generally hard. It’s also very often thankless. That’s not fair. That’s not okay.

Goody Burris loves teaching because she loves reading and writing and tutoring and lecturing and interacting with students. She loves students. In my research for my alumni story, I saw that this is one thing every teacher agrees on. they love the students. They love teaching. They love their subject. Your least favorite class is your teacher’s favorite class. By being obnoxious, rude, inconsiderate, loud or mean in that class, you are stripping them of their right to do what they love. This is unfair as you are being to your classmates. That’s not okay.

I’m convinced that the things we are constantly worried about do not define us. You are not defined by your SAT scores, how many football games you went to or how straight your hair was. You are defined by how you treat people. Why not treat them well? Why not be just a little more lovable? Why not just listen to Mrs. Burris and learn a thing or two about commas or something similar?

Think about the time you’ve spent at AHS. Think about the classes you’ve taken, the teachers you’ve had, adn teh kids you’ve grown up around. Think about all the times you came home mad, frustrated, annoyed, upset. you’ve probably caused that for someone else. Don’t be obnoxious, rude, inconsiderate or annoying in class. That’s not fair. That’s not okay. You and I both need to apologize to Goody Burris.


One thought on “‘Things about school that make me sad’ Part Two. As published in The Colt

  1. You make great points Marianne. At one time in my life, I wanted to teach in a classroom. As I worked toward my Bachelor’s degree, it was with the plan to teach history, which I discovered, at age, oh, 23 or so, that I love. The further I got into my degree, and the longer I saw the struggles and politics my mother dealt with as a teacher, the more I decided that a school classroom was NOT my best choice. Among other things, like the fact that I am entirely too independent of a thinker to be willing to teach only the version of history approved by the state/district boards, I knew that I was unwilling to subject myself to the very sort of students that I sometimes was on a daily basis. I wasn’t a particularly loud or obnoxious student, in fact, I was actually fairly shy and reserved, but I did have a penchant for not paying attention in class, passing notes with my friends. I have also come to realize that while I do like kids, I like them in relatively small and short doses. I love all of you guys at Epworth, but I’m just not wired anymore (if I ever was) to have the patience to deal with hundreds a day.

    An education is something we take for granted in this country. It never crossed my mind when I was in school that I would not graduate from high school when I was 17 or 18, then go on to college and get my degree. There are children all over the world who are uneducated, even in the basics of reading and writing because they are either too far from a school, or because they do not have access to publicly funded schools at no cost to them.

    You, I believe, are wise beyond your years, and I think many times you see things from a different perspective than most of your peers. I like that, and I hope you are always willing to stand up for what you believe in, whether it’s a popular opinion or not.

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