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HS&Fsmom November 16th, 2011 04:03 PM

Your own education
The teacher conference thread got me thinking.

How was your K-12 education as a child? What type of school did you attend, and did you change schools or stay in one system? Do you feel the years spent were worthwhile or do you feel shortchanged? Just curious. Also wondered about what outcome your life had as a result of what you feel you got or didn't get from your education. (as we wonder that about the trajectory for our kids...) If you were in a TAG program and want to share about that, you can too.

For me... I definitely felt shortchanged and was keenly aware of that the whole way through. I wouldn't change anything about it now in retrospect, as if anything were different I might not have the family I have now, but yeah. I harbor bitterness and resentment. I was in TAG since kindergarten and those short pull-outs are the only glimmer in an otherwise meaningless 13 years- and they ended after elementary school. The few honors/AP classes offered were a joke and catered to kids in TAG who wanted the prestige of being in TAG but not to actually do any work.

Share yours???

BensMom November 16th, 2011 08:10 PM

Re: Your own education
I could've written that myself, except that the G/T program didn't start until I was in 3rd grade. I was one of the first to be in it.

I went to a very small school (12 kids in my graduating class) until 4th grade. I loved it! I feel I got a very good education there, and I still remember vividly what I learned each year.

Middle school (larger district) was a joke. I was in the top groups for LA and math, but still, it was a joke. (Classes were remedial, average, and advanced ... although the material wasn't any different... only the pace was a little bit accelerated.) The pull-out gifted thing was stupid. We went once a month to another classroom to learn about reading each other's minds (seriously??) and how to make simple books for blind kids (and then we read them onto cassette tapes before delivering them).

Junior high was pretty fun. It's the first time I had any sort of challenge, and only because I was allowed to take Algebra 1 and Biology in 9th grade (junior high was 7-9, and high school was 10-12). Most kids took pre-algebra and general science in 9th grade.

High school was mostly a joke. I was in the honors classes, but they were what I'd consider average classes. There was only one A/P available. It was fun because I was in it with only about 8 other girls. No boys signed up.

My school experience did NOT prepare me for life. There's no way in heck I could've gotten into a good school if I'd wanted to. My college experience was what I would expect from a good high school. Again... totally not prepared for life. I had *ONE* semester of math in college. *ONE!* I minored in science with only one math class. How is that even possible???

AmAnDaMo November 16th, 2011 08:18 PM

Re: Your own education
In elementary school, I didn't like being "the smart one." I was always singled out in front of the class and told that I didn't have to do assignments that other people had to do. That was their way of dealing with me. I wasn't given extra work or different work, I was given no work.

I went to a private Catholic school for 1st-5th grade, and they really stifled any kind of creativity I might have had. They didn't have a gifted program, so I went to one of the public elementary schools once a month, all day, for a gifted program there. I hated that. I hated having to eat lunch without my friends. I hated the activities we did. I always dreaded that one day every month.

I really don't remember much from junior high.

I was in AP/Honors classes in high school, but nothing was very challenging. By that point I kind of came to terms with the fact that I was gifted, and it became a huge part of my identity. I liked that everything was easy for me.

Of course it was a shock when I went off to college and realized that I actually had to do some work in order to get the grades I wanted.

I don't know if any of that has really affected me. I'll dig deeply into topics that interest me, but I don't want to work hard if something is boring. But that's just my personality, I think. I can't imagine being any different if things have been more challenging for me, expect that maybe I would have burned out a lot quicker and not wanted to go to college. But maybe having things so easy and finally having a challenge in college is what convinced me that I didn't want to go as long as I'd need to in order to be a doctor (which was the original plan) because I wasn't used to that challenge. Who knows? But I'm happy where I am now, so I guess I'll take the approach that I always do and say that everything happens for a reason.

AmAnDaMo November 16th, 2011 08:24 PM

Re: Your own education
I forgot to mention, too, that in elementary school, I would get my work done quickly because it was easy. I never made careless mistakes or tried to hurry or anything like that...I would just do my work and get it done. I would constantly get in trouble for that to the point where I'd have to sit and pretend to keep working until other kids got their papers done.

Elementary school was definitely the worst experience for me.

Kathode November 16th, 2011 08:39 PM

Re: Your own education

Originally Posted by AmAnDaMo (Post 25201560)
Elementary school was definitely the worst experience for me.

Ugh, me too. I was SO bored, I hated it! There are no gifted programs in our school system and my mom tried for years to have me skip a grade only to be told they don't do that. The only bright point I remember was my grade 4 teacher. She realized I needed to be challenged and would let me go to the library to research various topics and I would write research papers about them. For the first time I felt like I was actually learning something and working. But it only lasted that one year.

Our school system goes K-6 then 7-11 as high school. When I hit high school things were a bit better because there were enriched classes, but still there was always that feeling of getting something for nothing. It wasn't until I hit CEGEP (mandatory 2 years before college, like grade 12 or junior college I guess) that things got hard.

I was in science and I needed to actually study but I didn't know how! I vividly remember pitching a fit and throwing my calculus books around because I couldn't figure out how to actually study. My Mom ended up sitting me down and giving me a lesson in note-taking and studying. I was 18 I guess at the time.

The sad thing is that I see Mia going through the exact same thing yet I don't know how to change it. I try my best to 'after-school' her and to keep her challenged but I know she feels the way I did at school.

shari626 November 17th, 2011 04:59 AM

Re: Your own education
Yikes!! You all are so smart....I don't feel worthy. :notworthy: LOL

When I was in elementary school I found it easy and looking back I see I had straight A's. I went to a large school and there was no TAG. My mother wasn't real proactive in my education - I was just easy because I was good and got good grades. I remember staying afterschool for an art enrichment program in grades 4,5, and 6 because I was good in art. That's all I remember from elementary school.

Middle school was okay. More challenging. Still a big school and I was in honors classes but I struggled with some things. Not because I couldn't do the work - because I wasn't doing the work.

High school was the same. Got decent grades, and some honors classes. Never took an AP class in my life. But I was more about social life than classes. I think that stems from my mom not being proactive in my schooling. I picked my own classes in high school and took the easy route so I wouldn't have to do much. I don't know why she would let me take the easiest things. Easier for her I guess.

When I got to college I was in NO way prepared!! It was more challenging than anything I exposed myself to in high school.

I wasn't in TAG, and I wasn't as gifted as you ladies. I was kind of on my own I guess when it came to my education. My sister was a BAD kid and got bad grades so my mother (single mom) was more preoccupied with her.

I am overly involved in my kids education to make up for it. :)

HS&Fsmom November 19th, 2011 07:13 PM

Re: Your own education
Wow, this bums me out. :( :(

Thank you for sharing though. It's just good to know that none of us were alone in what we went through. I really hope that 20+ years later things have improved, but I don't really know.

I identified with a lot that you guys shared; one memory that came back to me was that I was voted "most studious" out of the senior class. They created that category just for me and they didn't pick a male to get the same title like they did with everything else. Ironically, I never studied. :rolleyes: Maybe they gave it to me because I was the only one who ever did the summer reading for AP class (maybe b/c I actually wanted to get the AP credit??). I too wasn't familiar with actual study habits or skills but found in college I didn't need more than a 45-min cram before an exam. I wouldn't call it a photographic memory but I have something like that. So I could just spend a few hours in the library during exam week and cram everything. I forgot most of it, though, unless it was important to me.

clouise November 19th, 2011 09:30 PM

Re: Your own education
I went to public school all the way through. Due to a lawsuit right before I started kindergarten I was not allowed to attend my neighborhood school, but was sent across town to a mostly African-American school. They were attempting to make the schools racially equal. Most white parents however opted to send their kids to private school rather than make the move, so the school remained predominantly poor and black. It really was not a good school and really lacked resources. Every so often the NAACP would get involved and basically force the school to provide things. I was in AG at that school and I enjoyed my pull out program. It was my favorite part of school. I also skipped one grade, which made me the youngest in my class.

Middle school wasn't that great for me. I really think middle school aged kids are just unpleasant, myself including.

I adored my high school. I had such a nice time there, and was busy with sports, band, clubs, and friends. Oh, and a few classes squeezed in. :) I hope my kids get to have such a good experience when their time comes. The school did offer honors and AP courses, and I enjoyed that.


Originally Posted by AmAnDaMo (Post 25201534)

Of course it was a shock when I went off to college and realized that I actually had to do some work in order to get the grades I wanted.

LOL....that sounds just like me. I was so bummed out to realize in college that when I wrote a paper the night before all I got was a "C." Gone were the days of 100's and glowing reviews for assignments I had spent maybe an hour on. It took me an entire year to get with the program too.

Butter November 20th, 2011 06:44 AM

Re: Your own education
I was identified gifted in Kindergarten. In first and second I was in combination classes 1/2 and 2/3 (there were only six of us in the younger grade, everyone else was the older grade). Then they did away with those combo classes and so I essentially repeated 3rd grade. There was a group of 6 of us that had several hours a week in TaG pull out. We had to make up the work we missed when we were out of the classroom, but it was no big deal since we'd all essentially already had 3rd grade before. In 4th grade we had a teacher who really pushed us hard. In 5th we had a teacher who snuck in materials for 7th grade and higher that he paid for out of his own pocket just for the six of us. County rules were that you could only use materials one grade level ahead of your regular grade no matter what. Obviously that teacher thought that rule was silly. We had to swear we wouldn't tell and none of us and none of our parents ever did. Our parents were grateful. Then I was put in a special Scholars group that I was supposed to stay with for core classes through 12th grade. Basically, the school system had previously had Honors, A level, and B level classes (renamed a few years before from A, B, and C level because they decided that "C" level wasn't good for self-esteem). Well, they added Scholars to that for a very small group (like 20 kids per school). My parents pulled me out and I was homeschooled until I went to college full time at 17 (I took individual college classes for a few years before that).

Despite all of that I was always SO BORED. I'd finish my work super fast and "bother my neighbor" (they finally got smart and put the "special 6" in a group together in the room and we no longer bothered our neighbors because we all finished our work super fast). I can't say, though, that my years in public school were bad. They really weren't and I am lucky that I lived in a county that tried really hard for gifted kids. The elementary school I went to was and still is predominantly black yet it's always been a very strong performing school. The teachers there seemed and still seem (from what I could see when Cameron had his dyslexia testing there) to really care (my 4th grade teacher and the gym teacher are still there! - I was there in the 80s). They really, really tried and I do appreciate that.

My2miracles November 22nd, 2011 01:09 PM

Re: Your own education
Wow so sad to hear that everyone had just bad experiences. I went to public schools is a small town Kindergarten through Senior year. Despite being a very small town, I got a great education. They pushed math & science for girls as well as boys & made the boys take home ec. (I'm old & in those days that was unheard of).

They didn't have a gifted program but they did give extra to those of us that were ahead. I was lucky I wasn't the only 1. I feel I got a great education. Everything they taught in my 1st 2 accounting classes in college, I had already learned in high school.

Now I wasn't popular but it wasn't because of academics - more because of things going on at home causing me to withdraw.

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