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Reply #38: My school life was like the TV show Freaks and Geeks (guess which I was) [View All]

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MorningGlow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-25-08 09:41 PM
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38. My school life was like the TV show Freaks and Geeks (guess which I was)
Went to school from 71 to 83, first public school, then Catholic school.

My elementary school was fairly small--two or three classes per grade. I remember our principal was a terrifying man--buzzcut, horn-rimmed glasses, always skulking through the halls looking for trouble to set right. I think even the teachers were afraid of him.

Education seemed fine at the time, although I was a big reader, so I was always ahead of the game (until we got to fractions in fourth grade--then I hit the skids). Gym class was led by a guy who looked like he swallowed a medicine ball. He wasn't too interested in getting us fit, so we played a lot of dodgeball or, when the weather was nice, he'd kick us out the back door of the gym and make us run (or fizzle and walk) around the entire field (four baseball diamonds)--that took the whole gym period. They were still doing the JFK fitness challenge back then, so once a year we'd have to do timed situps and stuff, but the gym teacher didn't seem to care about how well we did, especially climbing the rope--we girls would do one or two halfhearted hops and he'd let us give up just to get it over with.

I loved music class, though--we had a great teacher who loved teaching us songs. I remember her standing at the blond-wood piano, banging away at it, the rhinestones in the corner of her pointy glasses glinting in the light, overenunciating the words to "Fifty Nifty United States" and "Erie Canal" and bopping around to get us energized. It worked on me, not so much for other kids in the class. I still love singing to this day (not so much "Fifty Nifty" though). At Halloween, she used to tell us an absolutely terrifying story of a witch who used to roll her skin into a ball and run around at night as a black cat. Every year. I loved that story even though it gave me nightmares.

Our school district was 100 percent white, which of course was a detriment, but I didn't know it at the time. The most "exotic" student was a red-headed Jewish boy who, every holiday season, was asked to stand up in front of the class and teach us about Hanukkah. Every. Single. Year. It seemed he was in my class every year, although that can't be right--odds dictated he must have been in "the other class" sometime. But I seem to remember him being forced to stand up in front of the class every year, his face beet red and his voice trembling, while he explained about the oil burning for eight days and nights and how to play with the dreidl and what gelt was.

It was a big deal when you moved from the middle of the school (third and fourth grade classes) to the big kids wing (fifth and sixth grade classes). And oh, young romance of the latter grades, when roller-skating parties in the gym after school set our hearts fluttering. After several circuits around the gym (I can't believe they let us put metal wheels on the shellacked floor) to songs by Kiss and other '70s greats ( :eyes:), the DJ would put on a slower tune and the girls stood on the sidelines while the boys cruised around looking for a girl to couples skate with. Oh, the thrill of being picked for a couples skate!...which, in reality, was still the boy speed-skating and the girl holding his hand trying desperately to keep up.

Things went to hell in a handbasket when the two parts of our districts merged. Instead of getting to be "kings of the school" in sixth grade, when we finished fifth grade, we were moved, with the sixth graders, to the middle school. The district was shrinking--we were the "baby buster" generation, pre gen-X--and schools were closing. We enjoyed one year in the 100-year-old middle school, and then the northern part of the district was merged with the southern part, and we all ended up jammed into an overcrowded middle school. That led to lots of disgruntled teachers and really violent fights among students from the two halves of the district. By the end of seventh grade, my mom had had enough, and she scraped up enough money to send me to the local Catholic school for eighth grade. I went willingly--GRATEFULLY. I was sick of being threatened with a beating for doing nothing but standing there (the girls were far worse than the boys).

In Catholic school I had a rude awakening--I realized my education had been sorely lacking. I had to scramble to catch up. Went to an all-girls Catholic high school (eeek) but had a kick-ass education that has served me well to this day, nuns nothwithstanding. But that's material for another thread.
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  -Old timers, young folks - what were your days like in school? The Straight Story  Apr-25-08 12:28 AM   #0 
  - In public and private schools  Jed Dilligan   Apr-25-08 12:33 AM   #1 
  - K thru 6, then jr. high 7th thru 9th, then HS.  thecatburgler   Apr-25-08 12:40 AM   #2 
  - that was the system in our school district as well...  QuestionAll   Apr-25-08 01:23 AM   #5 
  - My school district was totally segregated - a high school for whites, and one actually called a  Ron_Green   Apr-25-08 12:52 AM   #3 
  - what state could you get a drivers license at 14? omg!  orleans   Apr-25-08 02:46 PM   #28 
     - Texas. Yee-hah! If you'd had Driver's Ed the summer before your 14th birthday  Ron_Green   Apr-25-08 10:47 PM   #40 
  - one of my fondest memories of grade school...  grasswire   Apr-25-08 12:53 AM   #4 
  - You'd be surprised how many kids in L.A. can't sing the  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 01:32 AM   #7 
  - All music education ever consisted of, was learning the words to patriotic songs,  quantessd   Apr-25-08 03:59 AM   #10 
  - My schools had excellent music education programs.  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 10:13 AM   #16 
  - Oh come on. NOBODY can properly sing the Star Spangled Banner. "The rocket's red glare" mangles  Elspeth   Apr-25-08 08:25 AM   #12 
     - But they don't seem to know it at all.  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 10:14 AM   #17 
        - And majoring in music ed, you know what the market is right now for that, right?  Elspeth   Apr-25-08 01:00 PM   #25 
           - Yes. What people don't realize is that the big change in our  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 02:35 PM   #27 
  - Arkansas Traveler  Art_from_Ark   Apr-25-08 02:02 AM   #8 
  - I went to a variety of schools.  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 01:31 AM   #6 
  - Teaching elementary in 2005 was a lot different than it was...  quantessd   Apr-25-08 02:29 AM   #9 
  - In school from 53 to 65  Thothmes   Apr-25-08 07:35 AM   #11 
  - The schools I went to in the '50's and '60's were crappy. The county  raccoon   Apr-25-08 08:38 AM   #13 
  - The inner city schools today are pretty violent.  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 10:34 AM   #21 
  - I went to school all over the place.  fight4my3sons   Apr-25-08 08:43 AM   #14 
  - Interesting. Sounds like you had a rough time but learned a lot from it.  JDPriestly   Apr-25-08 10:21 AM   #20 
  - Here she is  The Straight Story   Apr-25-08 08:09 PM   #37 
  - Elementary school in Connecticut in 1949-56  kskiska   Apr-25-08 09:09 AM   #15 
  - kick -- I want some more of these wonderful stories (eom)  grasswire   Apr-25-08 10:19 AM   #18 
  - California public schools were excellent from 1963 - 1975  slackmaster   Apr-25-08 10:21 AM   #19 
  - Grew up in Albuquerque. Hadn't thought about school in a long time.  Nevilledog   Apr-25-08 10:37 AM   #22 
  - In Jr High school  lumberjack_jeff   Apr-25-08 10:50 AM   #23 
  - School in Western New York in the 50's.  DarbyUSMC   Apr-25-08 11:04 AM   #24 
  - Ugh--tracking!  MorningGlow   Apr-25-08 09:45 PM   #39 
  - I was late 80's 90's into the 00's  TCJ70   Apr-25-08 02:20 PM   #26 
  - nice detail/nice post.  orleans   Apr-25-08 02:51 PM   #29 
  - 64-76 private (catholic) schools  Spike89   Apr-25-08 03:25 PM   #30 
  - Way back in the day LOL  sandsavage   Apr-25-08 06:07 PM   #31 
  - Welcome to DU!  The Straight Story   Apr-25-08 07:01 PM   #32 
  - Great topic  Horse with no Name   Apr-25-08 07:26 PM   #33 
  - And ya know, I think it was a good thing as well:  The Straight Story   Apr-25-08 07:52 PM   #36 
  - I started grammar school in 1946, in Louisiana.  RushIsRot   Apr-25-08 07:32 PM   #34 
  - Very cool  Horse with no Name   Apr-25-08 07:35 PM   #35 
     - Things would've been a lot cooler with air-conditioning...:-)  RushIsRot   Apr-26-08 12:24 AM   #42 
  - My school life was like the TV show Freaks and Geeks (guess which I was)  MorningGlow   Apr-25-08 09:41 PM   #38 
  - Boy, that's a long time ago  Irishonly   Apr-25-08 11:31 PM   #41 
  - Until 6th grade, I was in a self-contained gifted class and only mildly bored.  LeftyMom   Apr-26-08 01:48 AM   #43 
  - They sucked. n/t  Breeze54   Apr-26-08 01:50 AM   #44 
  - Elementary school in the 1970s was like living in a hippie commune  Lorien   Apr-26-08 02:26 AM   #45 

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