Maggie came to the rescue for me today. She has chosen the topic Report cards and Progress Reports for this week. Please wander over to Maggie’s post to read about the ways to participate and her prompt questions.
I was a very good student in school. I craved positive attention from adults. School was an easy place to get that attention. After kindergarten, I learned to tell my teachers that I was nothing like my older brother. He had a reputation of being rather, um, uncooperative. I wanted to be the goody two shoes kid. I offered to do classroom jobs and to run errands for the teacher. Once I was in upper elementary, teachers would give me jobs to do when I finished my schoolwork early. I was able to go to younger classrooms and tutor struggling kids. It made me happy to please the teachers and help the kids.
I would be sent home with my report card quarterly. In elementary school it was the E (excellent), VG (very good), G (good), S (satisfactory), and U (unsatisfactory). I had to get it signed and then return it to school the next day. After elementary school came middle school grades 7-8 and high school grades 9-12. Those grades were the typical A, B, C, D, F. When no one was “available” to sign my report cards, I would do it myself. I don’t remember ever getting in trouble for my report cards. They were good. To tell the truth, I don’t know that anyone cared. Stepdads 2 – 5 were totally hands off as far as we kids were concerned. I don’t think they could have even told you what grades we were in.
Behavior was documented on report cards in elementary school. (K – 6th grade) Most of the comments in the early years were that I talked to much. I think I even had an UNSATISFACTORY once on, uses time wisely. I needed attention and I was typically finished with assignments before everyone else. Then I became a wanderer. I kept all my report cards forever. I may or may not still have them. They are a validation from adults that I never got at home. They were proof of my intelligence. They made me feel worthwhile.
I was always good in language arts (reading, spelling, writing, speaking), math, science (on the rare times we had it) and PE. I hated history because it just seemed to be memorizing facts and dates. That is something I was never good at, not even to this day. When I made it to high school, I did well in algebra and trigonometry. I was terrible in geometry. I could not memorize the theorems and postulates. The math teacher for all the advanced classes was a horrible teacher. She taught the class at the speed of the smartest kid. She didn’t care if everyone else failed as long as she challenged him. Luckily for me, Tony was a good friend of mine. He would work with me to try and keep me afloat. I made it through the three years of math. After one day in calculous, I bailed. I couldn’t handle being in her class twice in one day.
I never was involved in anything artistic in high school. Elementary school had taught me that I was about as artistic as a toenail. I took home economics instead of art. I excelled in the class, mainly because of the wonderful teacher. By my third year of high school, I was ready to drop out. I hated the school. I hated the gang conflicts. I hated the monkeys running the circus. My speech and debate teacher along with my grade level counselor convinced me to graduate early and not drop out. It was the right thing for me. I started junior college at 17. I finally felt like I was where I belonged.
I ended up being a middle school science teacher after five years of teaching elementary school. My love of science developed because in college my general education curriculum required numerous math or science classes. After taking the basics, I opted for science instead of math. I never had many science opportunities in school. The few I had in high school were less than fun. I remember my physics class was taught by a PE coach. He knew nothing about physics, nor how to teach an academic subject. The teacher would write the assignment on the board and tell us to read the book and answer the questions. Tony rescued me again. I didn’t have the option of going online for help back in the dinosaur days. Tony would explain the lessons once and I got it right away. I wanted to make a difference in how I taught science.
When I started teaching, I thought I wanted to teach kindergarten and first grade. After student teaching in 5th grade, I changed my plans. I enjoyed teaching science and incorporating art, history, language arts, and math in my curriculum. My classroom quote to parents was the same each year.
“I can prove that science is the most important subject. You can learn math without science, but you cannot learn science without math. You can learn history without science, but you cannot learn science without history. You can learn literature without science, but you cannot learn science without literature. Therefore, science is the most important subject. It incorporates all subjects.”
(LSS original quote)
My post here explains my journey teaching science.