Saturday, March 7, 2009

Go ahead, compose a symphony!

What was school like for you? What memories of school do you have from childhood? Thinking back on my early years at school (and my later years too) I have very few memories. I remember building a Tyrannosaurus Rex out of chicken wire and paper mache in 4th grade. We built it so high it almost touched the ceiling! I remember it rained really hard and the library got flooded. Then something mysterious happened-a huge bump grew out of the floor. I was fascinated by this! I remember doing presentations on such things as foxes and the ear. I was so shy and was terrified of getting up in front of class to present. That's about it.

I have no real memories of junior high-I think I was just trying to keep a low profile. I was happy to make it through junior high without my friends ever "turning" on me.

High school was about getting into a good college. There were few classes that interested me and I skipped many. But, surprisingly, I pulled it off. I was good at cramming information into my brain and then forgetting everything after I took the test. I have a distinct memory of asking my dad for help in pre-calculus. He was frustrated because I had no interest in understanding the problems. I just wanted to be able to do the problems, get the A, and move on. Move on. I'm amazed that so much education could produce so few memories. You couldn't call those years a symphony, lip-syncing was more like it. Please visit and view their video on Music and Life.


  1. Excellent analogy.I know my public-school education was no symphony either. Maybe a commercial jingle? LOL!
    Funny the things we remember (good and bad) when we look back. I remember making rockets, memorizing Jabberwocky, reading The Double Helix, watching Romeo and Juliet (the Zeffirelli version), and fun current events quiz games. Most of my good memories come from 5th and 7th grade when I had really great teachers. The other years??? Just a dull blur.

  2. Yup.

    Time and time again you hear that.
    Learning to a test.
    Teaching to a test.

    There is a serious problem with the system patting itself on the back with such pointless drivel.

  3. Isn't that sad? I know that you certainly were not alone in your experience with school. Thanks for the link to the video.

  4. I think I remember that bump! I have a few more memories of school than that but many more of my memories have to do with the social experience of being in school. I felt at a young age that learning to memorize and regurgitate information was not useful and not my best way to learn. I also noticed most teachers prefered students who were good at this and had little time for those who learned differently. They also had a bias against students from more disadvantaged backgrounds. The METCO and low income students inevitably ended up in the lower track. I always felt a little angry and rebellious about all of this. It wasn't until high school that I had teachers that were interested in teaching us to think for ourselves. Their way of teaching resonated with me and inspired me to go onto Hampshire. I think my natural curiosity led me to the type of work I do today.