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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: First Day of School (06/28/04)

TITLE: A School Girls First Days
By Charlotte Schafer


A School Girl’s First Days:

I remember vividly, my mama driving me to the little one room country schoolhouse, in Hillsdale County, Michigan. Back then, I was excited and afraid and filled with wonderment at the entire arrangement.

Yes, all the classes of the grade school met in one room and my teacher’s name was Mrs. Huggett. I remember she would look at us with a kind smile, and hug her self, and say, “My name is Mrs. Huggett.” She was a real encouragement to me, and I learned to read and to print left-handed, under her kind guidance.

I was only there for a few short months before my family temporarily split and I was sent to a larger city school. Nothing seemed good to me after that. The large school system seemed impersonal and the teachers preoccupied. No one really seemed to care about me, or notice me. I didn’t feel special anymore.

Years went by and now I had made it through the tenth grade, “real living” had caught my attention. School seemed to me like “pretend living” when I was ready for real life. So I left school behind to chase after real adventure.

Still later, I entered Adult Basic Education, the reminder of the wonderment of the smell of good books and pencil lead and the excitement of learning resurged in me and I gained my GED at the grand old age of 30.

Still another, first day of school happened for me, when after about twelve more years I entered the local Technical Community College. There I gained my Associate Degree. Once again, the excitement of learning happened, yet not all the Instructors were of the caliber one would hope for.

There was one fine lady however, that I will never forget. Her name was Doctor Andrews and she taught a leadership class that I still look back to today some 10 years later. What was so special about her? Well, she took my ideals seriously, she believed in me and caused me to believe in myself once again, like I had, when I first started school back with Mrs. Huggett.

Each first day of school was filled with smells and senses that made me want to learn. It was exciting! But, depending on the encounters I experienced, I was either built up with hope and belief in myself, or else, I was torn down and defeated.

We need excellent schoolteachers, those who can teach the topic at hand, I must say I encountered some who could not. Not only should they be able to teach, but also they should be able to do so with a bent toward encouraging you. It must be done unselfishly. So often I found that teachers were so preoccupied with their own lives that they had little time to care about yours. They had their own personal problems that seemed to filter into the schoolroom. They had their own personal soap-box that they preached their sermon from. That is not what school should be about.

There were unneeded classes that ate up my money and kept me from the goal of becoming the wonderful Christian Professional counselor I had so hoped to be. The pell money ran out and even working along with going to classes just was not enough.

It seems to me that the system of education in this country was not created to help you reach your goals, but rather to hold you back. I guess in some way it meets society’s goal, but not the individual’s. That sounds a great deal to me like socialism.

I jumped through all their educational hoops and with very, good grades and still did not meet the goal to have a profession.

Yes, you might say that I am bummed out on America’s education system. We must learn to not take the joy and excitement of those first wonderful school days away from our children and grandchildren. They should continue to feel the excitement of learning.

Lastly, I hope that educators everywhere, will begin to find ways to make the education system less cluttered with unnecessary trivia, especially for the adult student just wanting to get into a profession they feel they are called to.

Life is short and time is precious. I continue to love to learn, and to keep an open heart to help.

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee07/05/04
yes, the American education system as become the womb for socialism.

don't give up on your dream though. you are still in charge. you are not a victim.

I have been learning lately, that no one but me and God determine my destiny...and we are a majority!
Phyllis Inniss07/08/04
As a retired teacher, not in the American system, I have seen the same things you complain of happening to children and I suffer for those children, but God is good, he opens a way for those who turn to Him.
Melanie Kerr 07/08/04
Who decides what is unnecessary trivia? The students? The teachers? The government? Education is more than just equipping a student for a job.