Nothing Lasts Forever


I watched my mother turn the page of the calendar.  September, a picture of a golden sunset shimmering on a highland lake.  That picture and September spoke of things I wished not to know.

She said “The weeks – they’ve gone so fast!”  Fussing over clothes for school, debating how much I would grow, and if my skirts were long enough to last the winter.  She dragged me to shops, the boring ones, not for excitement of toys, but to buy a perfect pair of sensible brown shoes.  Boring ridiculous shoes, to be worn at a ridiculous place.  Because September always spelled – SCHOOL.  Too close for comfort and never far enough away.  Pressing in like an elephant sitting on my head, crushing my thoughts, reminding me the hot summer had finally melted, like watching ice cream drip, and never getting to taste how good it was.  My short days of freedom were almost over.

The first day of term would always be the same, walking through gates, long faces, clones in matching uniforms.  Grumpy grey, navy numb, charcoal and mud coloured shoes spoiling pretty young feet.  Laughter forgotten, fun stored away for long awaited opportunities, and the warmth of sun luminous on our heads as though holidays were not yet over.  How horribly deprived we felt, how torn we were, like chicks fallen from the nest.

Each new term, a fresh class, a new teacher.  Everything that had been, no longer was.  Strange, alien, vulnerable.  The beginning of another year in a place I wished not to be.  Windows were magnets, I’d lose so much time staring through many, my eyes drawn to outdoors, the trees, birds, and each fluffy cloud that drifted by had more meaning than the monotony of the classroom.  I’d try to find the tiniest evidence of happiness, because hours at a desk was never going to be happy.

A voice interrupted, the stern face of my teacher glared, eyes like fire, speech like rusting metal. “Get on with your work!  There’s nothing to see out there!”

Ah, but there was!  The world with all it’s interesting things.  A place with meaning – the flowers, the wind, the smell of cut grass, tree houses in the woods, picnics, days at the beach, the picking of berries and the refined art of making of jam.  My loving home, my peace, my quite, my own private space.  Obediently, I lowered my head, stared at my book, blinded by numbers – 6 x 9 – 7 x 8 – 4 x 12 …. none of it made sense at all.

While I stared at blank paper where my maths should have been, I learnt to imagine everything that was not of numbers, and wished the daily grind of the classroom clean away.

Before I noticed, September had become like any other month.  Lost it’s strength in imparting dread, and those days moved so far away.

September has changed.  Freedom was given.  And I learned that nothing lasts forever.


Picture – Spring by mechtanyia – Deviantart


Although everything in this story is true, it was actually the picture that originally inspired the idea.  It reminded me of myself at a time when I was most unhappy at my primary school, and how those long school summer holidays were so beautiful, so welcome.  But even after all those weeks off, it was never long enough.

I had a dreadful teacher at the time, I referred to her as ‘the witch‘ because to me she might as well have been.  I was constantly picked on by her and she even had the evil cheek to encourage the rest of the class to copy her in humiliating me.  I wasn’t the only one, she targeted a few others too – all the quiet ones – easy pickings.

I still feel to this day, she should have been dismissed, her behaviour was totally unprofessional.  And it’s amazing how one person can do so much damage to a young mind with their voice.  She succeeded in destroying my confidence for many years, but I’m happy to say, not forever.  And who knows, maybe I should thank her for assisting in making me a stronger person today and for teaching me one very important life lesson – don’t ever tolerate a bully, no matter who they are.

School always felt very unnatural to me, even my first day at school left me feeling I was in the wrong place.  I don’t absorb information very well in a classroom, I’m much better learning quietly in my own company, at my own pace.  I did eventually leave school at the age of thirteen, I just refused to go, caused a lot of problems, but it all came right in the end.

I was lucky to have a family who did their best to understand and support me, and I was home schooled for the remaining years – it was a huge relief!  There couldn’t have been anyone more grateful than me to finally reach age sixteen, it was so good to just forget about the pressure of eduction for a while.  It’s not my opinion that schools are wrong, I just don’t think they are the right place for everyone, we are all wonderful individuals, not clones.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who hated school, or maybe you loved school?  Whatever your experience was, please share your stories if you feel inspired to! 🙂



66 thoughts on “Nothing Lasts Forever

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 I wonder what it would have been like to be good at maths – or anything for that matter, cooking was about the only thing I excelled in at school and we didn’t do much of that. Once I was taught at home, I did a lot more of the cooking, enjoyed myself more, and did the least amount of maths I could get away with!! 😉

      1. Yay! SO cool. I was never home schooled but I hated high school. Years later I went to college. It was better. It felt normal. Then too I could see the value of it.

  1. Hi Suzy, I loved this piece, and your reading it very much. I also used to spend time looking out of windows, looking into pools and rivers, and watching the worlds life go by. I loved home too, especially my own space in my room. I hated school, as I was dyslexic just before it became known, so I was teased mercilessly all day, even the teachers called me lazy, stupid, indolent and disruptive, despite the fact that I was always in the top 3 of the class. I did have good friends though, and liked to go to school to hang out with them, chat and play during breaks. Thanks for this blog, best wishes and blessings, Charles.

    1. Thank you so much Charles! 🙂 I can see you know exactly what I’m explaining here, good to know it’s not just me who suffered this! Ah yes dyslexia wasn’t recognised like it is today, must have been really hard for you suffering with all of that. It was only barely recognised in the 70’s and 80’s when I was at school. You were in the top 3 of the class?!!! Well, that was amazing! 🙂 I wasn’t dyslexic myself, but I did have some major memory problems for some unknown reason. Everything I learned I seemed to forget, especially maths. That severely hindered my progress, and yes I was also endlessly picked on by other kids and sometimes teachers for apparently being stupid. Stupid is when you know something, but you refuse to do anything with it. But even that can be debatable, the reasons why someone doesn’t appear to learn can be a lot of different reasons.

      That’s great you had good friends, that makes all the difference to making school just about bearable. I wasn’t so lucky with friends, they seemed to like me one day and be my worst enemy the next. Made me very wary of people for years. As a result I can spot a fake friend almost immediately these days – I guess I learned a valuable lesson there! 😉

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience Charles, that means a lot! 🙂

      1. Pleasure, I was also very bad at maths, stopped doing it from standard 4, but my arithmetics today its quite good as I use it every day at the shop. Thanks for your story, stay well, best wishes, Charles.

  2. What a beautiful photo, and a wonderful story Suzy! I never hated school but I agree it is not for everyone. And also, like you say it is so important that each student would feel like a valuable individual. We are all unique and that is not a bad thing. I am so glad you have such a wonderful and supporting family! 🙂

    1. Thank you very much Elina, and I’m glad to hear you were okay in school, it’s good to get feedback on this subject, I’m surprised at how many were fairly happy in their school days. I’d spent years assuming that quite a lot of people had not such a good time at school. I must have had a worse experience than I thought. And yes, I was very lucky my family understood me, it could have been so different. But I’m very relieved it’s all in the past! 🙂

  3. Thanks for your honest sharing Suzy. I’m sorry that school was so challenging for you and glad you were able to home school. School was easy for me academically, but hard socially being an introvert and socially awkward. I’ve later learned that there are many different learning styles and too few schools and teachers address those various styles. Education reform could be a long post and in fact is topic I’ve occasionally addressed in my Awesome Stories.

    By the way, it was fun to listen to your voice, accent and audio recording. Maybe I’ll try that for one of my poems. 🙂

    1. Thank you very much Brad! I wouldn’t have known you were socially awkward if you hadn’t mentioned it. I guess it’s easier for that not to be seen on a blog! I believe a lot of my problems with being picked on by bad teachers and mean kids was down to me being shy and too quietly well behaved for my own good. Today I’m still quiet in the sense that I don’t go out of my way to get attention, I’m a fairly private person in a lot of ways, but I’m certainly not shy, and I’ve learned to deal with some nasty bullies extremely well! 😉

      Yes, I do believe there are many ways to learn, but not enough people realise that. So many just follow what they think is normal. But one persons normal is another’s abnormal!

      I hope you do record your poetry one day, I shall look forward to it! 😀

      1. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I’m not as shy or awkward as when I was in school, but still prefer to watch and listen, and sometimes find crowds too stimulating. I’m glad you’ve learned all this much earlier than I did. blessings on your path Suzy.

    1. That’s good to hear you had some good teaching at an early age, makes all the difference. I agree, quality is what is needed. My primary school was fairly good, only a couple of bad teachers there, I just got unlucky to find myself with one of the bad ones. My secondary school I attended at age thirteen was dreadful, most of the teachers gave the impression they didn’t even want to be there, and neither did the kids, that’s when I gave up. I met two teachers in that school that really were kind, thoughtful and did a really good job, and I still remember them for the effort they put in. I’m glad I met some good ones! 🙂

    1. Time really does fly fast, I can’t believe we’re round to autumn yet again – too quick! Autumn is a lovely season though. I feel I can enjoy a kind of wintry weather in autumn without the bitter cold we get in the middle of winter. I really don’t like too cold or too hot, spring and autumn are ideal temperatures for me! Thank you very much for your comment Camellia! 🙂

  4. lucky
    my primary school teachers
    radiated happiness
    I was blessed
    having a safe place
    to discover
    feel curious
    and indulge my colourful imagination
    I was

    1. That sounds like a wonderful place, I think you really were very lucky!! That’s how all schools should be, and I really don’t believe it’s that difficult to achieve an atmosphere like that.

      I was a volunteer in playgroup (under five’s pre-school) in the 80’s, it was such a happy place, it wasn’t difficult to maintain that positive vibe.

      Thanks for letting me know Geo, that’s good to hear some have had a positive experience! 🙂

    1. That was excellent, thank you! 😀 He has a lot of really good points in that lecture. I’m sure even for people who aren’t Christian, they would still find something relevant in his message. I like the way he points out that ‘you’re’ children belong to ‘you’. It really makes me angry when I hear of parents who have ‘asked permission’ from the school if they can take their children away for a holiday or an essential business trip, and they’re told – no. What??!!! How did that creep in? That’s so totally wrong, no-one should have the right to dictate to a parent a decision like that. The school doesn’t own the children who attend. And I don’t think it’s right for a teacher to be under pressure to make those decisions either – they must have enough to think about as it is. No wonder so many parents are going down the home education route. But the really sad thing is – it doesn’t have to be like that at all, school could be fun. There are good schools out there who get it right, but there is something terribly wrong behind the organisation of most schools and the quality of teachers they choose to employ.

      Maybe when no-one wants to send their children to school any more, things will begin to change, otherwise I can’t see it ever changing. Parents need to object a lot more, they’re in control, they just need to start believing they are!

  5. Great piece. Reading it took me back my childhood and the terrible memories of being just another number in the behavioral engineering centers where I grew up. It’s part of the reason why I am a proponent of home education today. I just couldn’t bear subjecting my kids to the indoctrination, cruelty, and stifling education that you, me, and countless others had to endure.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 Oh yes, the ‘I am a number’ feeling, I remember that well, especially in my secondary school, that’s when I decided I wasn’t going back. I wasn’t alone in that feeling either. 😦

      Good to hear your views on the subject, and that so many more parents today are at least able to speak their mind about it without feeling as though they are a bit strange. It’s not ideal for everyone, I feel sorry for parents who both have to work just to keep the roof over their head and petrol on the car. There are ways round that problem for some, parents get together, hire a teacher and form a mini home school, at least they’re in control of who is teaching their children and how. Kids learn so much more in smaller classrooms, and only need to do half the amount of hours compared to a mainstream school. The amount of hours spent in study has been seriously questioned in recent years as to how badly that effects concentration, I know it affected mine. I’ve never been a morning person and attempting maths first thing was a disaster for me, and by the end of the afternoon, I wasn’t paying attention any more, I just wanted to go home, do my own thing, play with my friends. I was still a child after all, children shouldn’t be treated like adults long before they are one. We only get one childhood, one time to be a teenager, why ruin it all with too much stress? Not a great frame of mind to learn anything!

      1. Speaking of this subject, I cannot recommend this lecture enough.


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        1. Oh, I’d like to see that, but it hasn’t come out, and it’s not a link either. Maybe give me a link to the URL of the page it’s on, that might be more successful. 🙂

  6. Ms Suzy, it really makes me angry. That teacher was wrong for the way she treated you. Teachers should not sit in a place of judgement. They should not seek to hurt impressionable minded children. They are there to help the students. I’m glad you were able to get yourself out of that environment. No one should have to endure ridicule. I’m ever so glad you had family that supported you. Stronger you have become. You have one of the sweetest soul. Many Blessings to you.

    1. Thank you so much Alisha, you have a sweet soul too, I guess the sweet souls must search for each other in this GIANT virtual world! 😀

      There is always someone who wants to abuse the position they have, but when it involves children, disabled, mentally disabled or elderly people it really is shameful, and cowardly too. I’d say to them “If you want to be a bully, pick on someone equal to yourself” but of course they never will. I’m sure these people are themselves suffering, bullies often are, but they’re resistant to revealing their vulnerabilities, and to do that they behave mean towards others, to feel in control, a hope of maintaining power, and to frighten others away. It’s such a terrible illusion, it’s more likely to bring more pain!

      I find with all these situations in life, as painful as they are, if you choose to seek out what you have learned and refuse to be a victim, you can only win in the end. You could say, I received an education in something I didn’t expect too, it was definitely the beginning of me becoming a stronger person, and as painful as it was, if I had a choice I wouldn’t relive it any other way. 🙂

      1. That is so true, I agree with you one hundred percent. People should not abuse their positions. I’m just glad through it all. You have lived through it to proclaim your strength.

  7. I think it’s beautiful that your family was so supportive and gave you what you needed. You obviously have a love of books, knowledge and can write so well. Glad you overcame that bully teacher. You’re wonderfully articulate and I always enjoy reading your stuff. Just haven’t been in blogland too much lately. Getting back in slowly.

    1. My family did struggle to get what I needed, it wasn’t easy. I was almost fourteen by the time the home education was all sorted, I missed nearly a year of school, and that was largely down to the local education authorities who tried their best to obstruct me from being home schooled. We found a way in the end, with no help at all from the education department, they did not like anyone who would not comply and attend school. I think some parents still have problems today with that, but with the internet – oh so much easier to look up the law regarding education, and getting in contact with other parents who are in the same situation, and even information on lessons available on line. My poor older brother spent hours in a reference library meticulously looking up the law on education! And for my parents it was a whole year before they found another couple of parents who had successfully taught their children at home, it was a huge relief to them to be able to talk about it. I shall be ever grateful for all their love and support, and the family that gave us so much help, it could have so easily not gone that way if they had not all been determined people. I really don’t know what would have happened to me, what kind of state of mind I would have ended up in if they had not been able or willing to listen to me.

      I do love books and writing, and always have done, but I was a lot more resistant to learning in those days. The whole school system really assisted in giving me a bad attitude towards learning. Academically I was behind for many years.

      Oh yes, I overcame that bully, and I’ve come across quite a lot more in life, but not so much now. I think when you know how to deal with bullies, they detect your attitude and steer clear! 😉

      Thank you so much Linda, you’re so kind! 🙂 I enjoy your writing too, your love of nature is so beautiful, reminds me of my dear Dad he loved nature too, but never got to write poetry about it, he really should have! I see you have a new post up, I will try and get to you tomorrow, I’m like Cinderalla at the moment replying to these comments – it’s way passed the pumpkin change hour!! 😀

  8. Had I not been staring out the window at school, I would have missed so much life happening outside those walls, remember how long the last three minutes were?

    1. Haha, yes, absolutely, life was happening outside of the classroom!! 😀 And I do remember those last three minutes, they were VERY loooong! 😦 I’m pretty sure there was a stampede to get out the door most days, we were like escaped convicts on the other side of that classroom door! 😀

  9. This is wonderfully evocative, and must lead to one questioning what are the important things that should be taught. These days there is all too much pressure on ‘success’ and accountability.
    But enough of that! A most enjoyable piece, Suzy!

    1. Yes I think there is too much pressure on success and accountability, I really don’t like the sound of all of those tests that children have to do throughout the year, must be a horrible pressure on teachers too. We did have some tests at school but not nearly as many as they have today. My 70’s childhood was far from perfect, but I wouldn’t want to be a child or teenager today. I’m glad you enjoyed it Chris, thank you very much! 🙂

  10. A wonderful post, Suzy. This year, school did not begin for kids living in Vancouver. Teachers have been on strike and there is no definite date of return. The playgrounds are full of kids. To me, the heart of a society is education. It defines who we are and what our hopes are for the future. One of my favourite educators is Sir Ken Robinson.

    “Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. And it’s the one thing that I believe we are systematically jeopardizing in the way we educate our children and ourselves.”
    Ken Robinson

    1. yes, indeed… I totally and absolutely agree with you, Becky… ❤
      * * *
      N.B. excellent post, Suzy… glad to have come across your awesome blog! my very best, lots of inspiration and friendly thoughts, cheers! 🙂 Mélanie

    2. Thank you Rebecca! 🙂 Oh, teacher strikes! That can be a real problem for parents who both work. I have to admit I used to secretly hope for something like that, or that it would snow heavy, and school would be cancelled for a week. Sounds terrible, but I really didn’t care what happened as long as I could have time away. But it never did happen!!

      I love the quote, that’s so true! Imagination is so essential, I had a HUGE imagination when I was a child, but most of the time it was being discouraged at school, but then one day, the teacher would ask us to write a short story, we’d all be sitting looking at blank paper wondering what on earth to write. We weren’t used to using our own thinking in an imaginative and creative way. I don’t know what schools are like now, I hope they’re improved in that area. I know in my parents childhood, imagination and creativity in school really didn’t exist at all. So I guess I should be grateful I wasn’t a child of the 1940’s, it could have been a lot worse!

  11. Love your reading, dear friend. And I had a teacher like that, just after I’d moved to a new town (with a dying parent at home)… made everything so much harder. First of many years where I began to hate school when I’d once liked it.

    1. Thank you so much Karen! 🙂 There nearly wasn’t a reading, as I had such trouble with this one, kept making mistakes, and it was – “one more time, take 25!” 😉 It’s very different reading a story compared to a poem, I don’t think I’ve quite got the emphasis right in a lot places – I need more practice in reading stories!

      Oh no, that sounds horrific Karen, a lot of stress there, that must have been a horrible time for you! 😦 It’s amazing how little it takes to turn a child’s mind to hate school. These teachers who behave like that must be very dark minded bitter personalities. No-one in their right and sane mind would treat a child like that.

      I remember when I was in that class, my family lived in a house that was quite quickly turning into a major damp problem, it got so bad the walls used to perspire and drip with water, we had to move in the end, it was making us all very ill. I know that teacher of mine knew that, knew I’d had a lot of time off school because of asthma, I had a face as white as a sheet, didn’t look well at all, but she treated me as if I was liar. I’m sure some bitter minded people enjoy watching other people suffer, it makes their own suffering easier to cope with. At least that’s the theory, somehow I don’t think it really works like that! 🙂

      1. I’ve never been able to read aloud without mistakes, so you’re far ahead of me! 🙂

        Yes, I can’t say I have fond memories of those first years in a new town, but time has marched on. I certainly hope kids these days have kinder teachers than some of us had.

  12. We agree Suzy. I only remember being a dunce in the front row of a classroom at Primary School, with Miss somebody sitting at table. She didn’t she assist me, or anyone else. She merely dictated.

    1. That’s really horrible Ken, dictation doesn’t assist anyone in learning! Your school days sound very like my fathers school days. Some of the stories he told me of what went on his school were very alarming. He had real trouble believing at first I really had a problem with school, he didn’t think schools in the 1980’s were bad at all, and I could see why, his school days were frightening. He came to understand me in the end, which was a huge relief! 🙂

    1. Oh thank you Cynthia! I really don’t mind, it was more interesting to me to read everyone’s stories on how they felt about school. But thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know, that’s very kind! 🙂

  13. I loved leaving my house and staying away as long as I could. I loved taking the late bus. Learning was a refuge and became a joy, too. Teachers were never as good at torturing me as my stepmother was. My son would love to be homeschooled. 🙂

    1. Oh, another one who wasn’t so happy at home! 😦 It’s interesting to hear different experiences on that, that’s very sad Brenda. A home should be a place you want to be. Not that many people have nice step-parents it seems, not good, not good at all.

      I’m sure lots of children would love to be home schooled. I was lucky my mother gave up work due to developing rheumatoid arthritis around the time I decided I just couldn’t take any more of school, otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible. I had a teacher provided for a couple of months by the education authorities, she came in the morning two days a week she was a lovely woman, we got on so well. But the authorities refused to carry on providing a teacher, my parents got in touch with an old school teacher of my brothers from the church we went to at the time, both him and his wife and taught all five of their children at home. They used to send me work through the post, and then I’d send it back to be marked. It was a very successful system. The school authorities didn’t like it much, they really didn’t approve of anyone home schooling their children, they were very much opposing my avoidance of school. But there wasn’t anything they could do to prevent it. Ridiculous really, and I think some parents still have problems with that today! Someone is determined we should all be clones – and others are determined not to be. 😉

      1. I think the belief is that anyone at home is a slacker. Workplaces feel this way of people working at home, and schools imply this, too. It don’t agree, I think you can slack in the office or you can slack at home, but if you are a hard-worker, you’ll work wherever you are. Homeschooling is a good thing in so many instances. I am glad it worked well for you. I don’t think I turned out a clone, but it did feel like the social pressure at schools is to not step too far from the norm of behavior. And that is hard for us outliers. 🙂 I just didn’t worry about all that social pressure too much. 🙂

        1. Yes I’ve heard of that slacker fear of employers, it makes sense for a few seconds after it’s suggested, until you remember all the people you’ve ever seen or heard about who work as little as they can manage right under their employers nose – it happens a lot! People who are slackers, that’s what they are, they’ll do it anywhere.

          I found learning from home was far less distracting, and I didn’t have to do as many hours to learn the same amount. I was way behind at school – especially when it came to maths. I learned in a few weeks certain subjects I had failed to understand for eight years.

          I’m absolutely sure you’re not a clone Brenda!! 😉 What I meant by clone was we are ‘expected’ to all be the same, as though we are clones, and clearly none of us are, and never will be. I agree there is a social pressure in school to all be alike, I really never understood that, and still don’t. I became more aware of that when I left. Once some of my school friends found out I wasn’t coming back to school, they never spoke to me again. It wasn’t that they hated me, I think they were strangely intimidated by the fact that I was not like them and still at school, they couldn’t understand how I’d escaped attending. They kind of put me on a weird pedestal and felt embarrassed to speak to me, it was very odd. They weren’t exactly great friends anyway, so I didn’t feel I’d lost much. People can behave so strange over differences sometimes. That’s a real mystery to me! 🙂

          1. I think many people are convenience friends — happy to hang with people who are near. Once you have to put effort into it, lots of people find that too much. I don’t think it’s personal. I’m not sure people like that really ever get that close to their friends. I prefer real friends, who are willing to make the effort. I keep friends like that for years, and they are the pearl in the bed of oysters.

  14. Beautify reading, well put together with your sound. I like the part that you pretended to be the sound of the teacher. It startled me. And at the end the sounds of children playing started to louder and louder are very nice touch 🙂

    I also do not like the first day back at school after the long summer break at the younger years. I missed the freedom (or boredom) from long summer break and definitely was scared to meet new teachers or worst for new school. I had some problems in the math classes. I just did not get it. They were just plain confusing to me. It made me wonder how others can do it. Scary feeling of being left out 😦

    1. Thank you very much! I startled you??! 😀 I actually had a lot of problems recording this piece, I kept making mistakes and having to start again, so I was a bit distracted trying to get it all correct, I didn’t feel I got that teachers voice tone right, it should have been a lot more harsh. But maybe it was a good thing I didn’t recreate her shrill voice! 😉 I’m glad you like the kids at the end, I thought it would make it feel much more of what it was about rather than just my own story. The first time I listened to it though, it felt quite emotional, mixed emotions. I wasn’t sure if it was a little too much and I nearly didn’t use that edited version. I was just over reacting, I’m okay now! 😀

      So you had that feeling too! That scary new term feeling is a common one, even for the bright kids, it must be hard to return after all those weeks of freedom. Being left out I think is one of the most frightening feelings at school, and sometimes people experience it as an adult in the workplace too. Being accepted and fitting in does seem desirable. But it’s strange in older teenagers, they quite often want to be different, stand out in the crowd. Priorities change a lot as we age, and I don’t think it ever stops happening. Because I was a quiet shy child, a depressed teenager, and now a confident middle aged woman, I’m sure I shall be completely outrageous and naughty in my old age!! 😀

  15. Suzy … I share some of your feelings about school. But, aAs a student, and now as a teacher, there are always bright spots. For me, as a student when I lived the country, school was a place where I got to see and talk with my peers. During summer and winter breaks, it was often lonely. There were times when I felt a teacher had misjudged me and appeared to have targeted me unfairly. There were others where teachers inspired me and encouraged me to do more with my writing.

    I do recall my Mom telling me about a teacher who tried to humiliate my brother when he was in 3rd or 4th grade … and my brother was a stellar student. His misstep with the teacher? He pointed out that a test that she said was going to be anonymous had numbers on the back … and the numbers differed from student to student. She apparently didn’t like being caught in a lie.

    In Florida, school begins in August. In New York, where I spent most of my school years, it does begin in September after Labor Day. Depending on the day, I, too, often look wistfully out the window and wish I was elsewhere. Other times, I’m delighted by the exchange and learning in my classes. 😉

    1. I agree Judy, there were a few bright spots for me too, occasionally, but not not nearly enough to say I enjoyed my experience of school, and some of the negative outweighed the positive too much. But I know there were kids sitting right next to me in the same class who seemed to enjoying school. They were often the naturally bright ones, they didn’t have the struggles with learning that I or some other children in my class had, I think that makes quite a lot of difference to the enjoyment of school.

      It’s interesting you said about feeling holidays were lonely, I have heard people say that before, and that’s really sad, holidays should be a fun time. I was extremely lucky that my parents had chosen to live in a neighbourhood where there were a really great bunch of kids of different ages. My brother and I made friends with them all within days, and had such a wonderful time living on that street. I know some children can be very isolated from neighbours or are not encouraged to know their neighbours, sometimes they are only child too, I can’t imagine the loneliness they must feel.

      I have met a few great teachers along the way, and I remember them well for their kindness and extra time they put in to help me with various problems I was having, especially maths. I’m still not bright on maths, but I won’t ever forget their efforts to help me along. I do believe that teachers who put great effort into helping a student may sometimes find or be completely unaware they are assisting in trying to correct damage an earlier teacher has created in that young person – sometimes parents of course. Hardly seems fair that a good kind teacher is left with a non-compliant troublesome student!

      Ah, so your brother was a very smart boy to notice that!! I’ve not heard of any tests like that, crafty teacher, and obviously not as bright as your her students if she thought none of them would notice!

      I have heard that some schools in America start in August, that’s interesting that New York doesn’t, I wonder why? I’ve always assumed that school starts in September in Britain because it’s still quite warm in August and is one of the busiest months of the year for tourism, other than that I can’t imagine what reason it would be. I guess all that holiday spending brings the Government in a lot of tax, can’t have school get in the way of that! 😉

      Oh, so you dream through those windows too Judy?!! I do remember seeing some teachers do that, I guess it’s only natural, and a little unnatural to be stuck in the same room for most of the day. It didn’t go down to well when they then turned to me and told me not to do it myself. It’s a bit like that with parents though ‘do as I say and not as I do!’ 😀

      1. School starts in New York after Labor Day. I’m not sure if there’s a particular reason for that. In Florida, and many southern states, school starts in August and ends in May. That was done to meet agricultural needs. Kids got out of school early to help their families with the crops. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been told. 😉 Tourism doesn’t appear to be leading the charge here as students go back to school in early or mid-August.

        1. Yes, I think you’re right about the school holiday dates fitting in with farming, I was forgetting about that. I can remember my dad talking about working on farms in the school holidays to bring in extra money for his family. Farms needed larger numbers of helpers in those days. I’m pretty sure the tourism has taken over now. July and August are the warmest months of the year (supposed to be anyway!) Every ice cream that is sold to tourists has sugar in it, just that alone would be extra tax. I’m just amazed the Government haven’t got round to taxing us all for the enjoyment of the sun in those months! 😀

  16. You are so right, Suzy, schools are not the best place for everyone. I am the eldest in a family of seven children, mostly boys, and I have seen their suffering at the hands of certain teachers. For myself, ironically, as a little bookworm, school was the one place where I could let my mind wander and not be burdened with the chores my mother put upon me at home. Summer vacation was always hideous because it meant more chores, more babysitting. I once had my nose bloodied with a smack because that nose was “in a book”. I used to love going back to school, when it was understood that I must spend most of my time with learning and books. So it’s all relative, you see.

    I did discover as an older person, that September–when I no longer was being a teacher or a student– is a most beautiful month. One thing has always remained true for me….I truly love to learn, but I hate being taught.

    1. Your childhood sounds a l lot like my fathers childhood, home wasn’t always a happy place for him, but neither was school, he often ran away from school out into the countryside, he found a lot of peace there. Sad that, a home should be a sanctuary, not a prison. So school was in a lot of ways a refuge for you – that’s so different from my experience, but it makes perfect sense as to why. I did have to do some chores at home too, but not that many, my poor mother over burdened herself with a lot more than she should have really, we should have been expected to do a little more than we did. Your chores sound like they were a full time job – I can totally understand you wanting to free yourself from that.

      Ah, I’m intrigued Cynthia, as a teacher what did you teach? And your last statement really describes me too ” I truly love to learn, but I hate being taught.” That’s such a perfect way to describe it! It doesn’t seem possible to learn without being taught, but I think we all learn to some extent without being taught by a person, we just pick up information and ways of accomplishing things along the way. I have heard of some private schools that allow children to learn ‘if they want to’ no pressure, no rules, they can play all day if they prefer. The amazing thing is, after a few weeks of playing most of the children start to want to learn, they get out their exercise books and begin to discover that learning can actually be interesting, and that play is better when it’s not all the time. I would have thrived in a school like that – if only!!! 😀 It’s amazing how much more receptive the mind is when it’s given freedom of choice.

      September is a beautiful month, and I believe even more beautiful in America with all those lovely varieties of trees where the leaves turn such a vibrant colour. We get some of that too in Britain, but not nearly enough. I think Scotland is a good place to see those autumn colours.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences Cynthia, it’s really good to hear a different perspective to mine. 🙂

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