Monday, April 16, 2012

School Days-- Ponderings from Theodore

School Days is a reoccurring feature in which I ask people about their early memories of school. Everyone has a story to tell about this and I hope to give them a voice here. 

Here is Today's Story

Theodore started first grade in Houston, TX,  at age six.

Below is a series of conversations I had with Theodore during his first couple of months of first grade. I wrote these exchanges down after we had them, so they are fairly accurate as to what actually took place.  As you will see, he was not too thrilled about going to school in the beginning.

September 15
Theo, how was school today?
Fine, but I didn't learn anything. I never learn anything at school.
But Theo, look how much better you can use scissors than when you first started school. 
No, Mama, what I mean is that I never learn anything I NEED to know.

Late September
Theo, you have to go to school.
I'm not going. I never learn anything.
Maybe you already know how to read and write, but you are learning other things like how to walk in a line and behave in a group.

Mid October
I'm not going to school. It's a waste of my time.
Theo, you have to go. It's the law. Daddy and I will get arrested if you don't go.

October 25    The tide starts to turn.
I don't think I learn anything at school but I must be learning something. I'm just not aware of it while it's happening. 

October 28    Finally, it all makes since to him.
Mama, I know why I'm not learning things at school. You learn "things" in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. You don't learn "things" in first grade. First grade is for learning how teachers teach. And that is different than the way you and Daddy teach me. 

After Theo had figured out the reason for first grade to his own satisfaction, he went to school willingly.