A byproduct of public school

As I noted before, the idea of a person being a “product of the public school system” is one that makes me shudder. I attended 10 years of public school (plus 1 year of private school, and two years unschooling), but have never considered myself a product of the school system. Perhaps, though, I am a byproduct of public school.

A member of my statewide discussion list, VaEclecticHS, noted that in school she became “tired of being the weird one,” and she tried “very hard to ‘look stupid'” in order to avoid complete alienation, so she could have some friends.

She was not alone. I did the same thing, to some degree. In one high school class, the teacher offered a dollar to whomever won the pop quiz of the day–which consisted of questions regarding any number of subjects. It was sort of like a simple version of Jeopardy. I usually won the buck, but quickly realized that I could not keep winning without becoming not only unpopular (which I didn’t really care about), but becoming a target for aggressive acts. This is an example of “learning outside the curriculum.”

Another thought expressed during the same discussion was that, in school, it is “near impossible to be accepted…and do what is right for yourself.” In my experience, that seems true. While I was in school, I walked on that edge many times. Fortunately, for the most part, I did what was right for myself, even though it meant withstanding disapproval from teachers, administrators, and fellow students.

I am consistently drawn to people who are authentic. They somehow tend to also be the more colorful, more outspoken, more odd, more peculiar. The wierd ones. I love the weird ones, the people who refuse to pretend they are “stupid” or act like anything else they are not. Thank goodness for homeschooling, as it allows us all to be ourselves, in our own unique, weird ways. I am proud to be one of the Official Weirdos.

(C) 2006, 2011 by Shay Seaborne. All rights reserved.

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1 Response to A byproduct of public school

  1. Denise says:

    The “trying to look stupid” thing is really interesting. I wonder if the person who made the comment was from outside Northern Virginia? In my experience with having two teens currently in public schools, I see opposite. The competition is fierce for who is the smartest. Intelligence is valued highest over even athleticism. I can’t help asking myself if this is true due to the demographics of our area, and if I would see more of what this post mentioned if I were in another location.

    Also, I think authencity is much more highly valued than in the past, or at least, from my experience. My oldest often remarks how some students don’t seem to understand that authenticity=popularity. She says she wishes she could help a few of her friends who struggle with wanting more social status to understand this. She is always trying to tell them that the kids that everyone generally likes are those that aren’t fake, but know who they are and are confident.

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