May 7, 2008

School Sucks

A few days ago a friend took me to a class she was teaching it. She just finished doing once a week classes in a high school with grades 9/10’s. Art class. The project they were working on was doing a tile with an art piece and a word to go with what they did their art on. My friend decided to use Skwxwu7mesh snichem, but didn’t know how to read/pronounce most of the words she was getting from the book, and so she asked me to come for her last class and help out.

High school is a freaky place. It was startling to be back in one of those teenager prisons. Only a year and half ago I took the opportunity and strength to leave. I never looked back and still to this day think it’s the best decision of my life. Other would disagree, and are quick to give me a 10-minute lecture on the spot. But they don’t know what they don’t know.

I left because I was starting to realize things that were beyond my comprehension level. I starting to discover decolonization, where I became aware of the nuances of the oppressive colonial education system. It was here I started to see the authoritarian disciplining, the ridiculous excuses for reckless power on teachers behalf (no matter how utilitarian it may seem). I started to feel there had to be something better.

And there was.

A friend passed on some good words and I took the necessary steps to rid myself of that awful way of looking at learning. Even still I do my best to deschool those habits, behaviors, beliefs. I’m getting better. I now love things that school taught me to hate. Like reading, writing, running, and such. I also look at the world as a place of learning, that all that information and knowledge is valuable, even if I don’t have a piece of paper to prove it. I can prove it other ways, if I need to “prove” it anyone at all.

What became clear when returning to the high school was how right I was. After I decided I leave, my younger sister were curious. At first, like most people, it was shocking and sounded stupid. Throwing away my future. Sabotaging my opportunities. But I had something most “adults” don’t; an ability to dialogue with people my own age. Adults, because of the way they understand young people-older people relation dynamics, have become accustom to adults serving as authoritarian figures. I didn’t and so I could discus the merits and choices I was making. They listened, and wanted to learn more. I then passed on the same names of authors, articles, books and such and they quickly came to the same conclusion I did.

Schools need to be abandoned, and so they dropped out of school, and into life.

So we’re all three “high school drop outs”, which, I see as a positive. It’s curious how we’ve all developed being unschoolers, with my second youngest sister working and gaining a lot of experience and learning different subjects on the side. My younger sister went through difference phases of weird sleep schedules to endless sloth mode to someone who now learns where learning can be done. She is also starting to volunteer and learn more about gardening.

They are 14 and 16.

Bringing it back to the high school I visited, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It all came back to me, but what was more shocking was seeing these kids who are 14, 15, 16. Supposed to be the same age as my sisters. I’ll be the first to say that my sisters, all of them, are incredibly intelligent mature and stunning beautiful women. But I thought, these kids were the same age as my youngest sister, and my youngest sister can carry a conversations about politics, the world as it is, or massive amounts of random information and knowledge. She’s awesome for it. But it was a sharp contrast between these children and my sister. The maturity level, the knowledge they had possessed, and the interests they have.

It was then I knew I was right.


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