As I read the chapter on schools from our text, I was surprised that not much has changed over the last eighteen years since I graduated from high school. It seems that our school systems are in some ways worse than ever before and in others are slowly starting to get into a better state at an extremely slow pace.
When I look back on my four years at Exeter High school, I am reminded of how different life was back then. The class sizes were running approximately thirty to thirty-five students, except for band and choir. The teachers each had different ways of teaching the students; but overall, most of them seemed to offer the permissive strategy of classroom behavior. This made it very difficult for me to learn the way I felt that I should have been.
In my freshman year, because I had a hard time with science and mathematics, the high school felt that I should be in what they called the core curriculum class. This was one instructor for three subjects; science, mathematics, and English. I felt that because of this style of learning I had no way of actually advancing in my class. This was a very detrimental way of teaching students, in my opinion, because most of the students that started their freshman year in this style of teaching, never really gained the knowledge of what the teachers were teaching the remaining three years of high school. I personally recall that not a single one of those students that were in the core classes with me ever got any A’s or B’s in any of these subjects during the rest of their high school education, and many of them had an even harder time in history classes.
I don’t believe all the blame though should be put on the teachers or the school system; my dad never really helped me with any subjects other than math, and then he made math even more confusing for me than the teachers did. Mom on the other hand, had just as hard of a time in high school, if not harder, than I did. The parental involvement for me was very minimal, so I feel that I had a very poor chance of succeeding in high school with high grades.
The interesting part of my memory of high school was the fact of the peer status and friendships. I felt that throughout high school I was never that popular. I remember that most of the school, mind you my senior year we had between 1,000 and 1,250 students, always talked about me and made crude jokes that I was gay. I never came out in high school. This was very difficult for me to deal with.
The crowds that I hung out with never were the same, except during my junior year when I hung out with the druggies. I was very open to meeting new people all the time. This may have been why I had such a high number of votes when I ran for student body president. (The most interesting part was that I ran against one of the “popular” girls, and lost by only thirteen votes, and this was only because the senior class could not vote.)
As for my friendships, I had very few close friends. Those who were my friends either were in the popular crowd, like my “sister,” or in the druggie crowd, like my best-friend. This was both a good and a bad thing in my opinion. Had it not been for my best-friend, I would have probably never been very close to anyone in the school. However, had it not been for my “sister,” Teresa, she was so close to me my junior year that I have always called her my sister, I probably would not be here today. Teresa was a peer counselor during my junior year and helped me deal with many things. When the lady across the street from my family had died the week of our homecoming, she gave me the homecoming dance instead of dancing it with the homecoming king. When I couldn’t deal any longer with the fact that I was gay, I came out to her on one of our Madrigal Choir trips and she convinced me that it was okay to be who I am and that ending my life was not the way to go.
My junior year was one of my hardest years in life and the hardest year for me in high school. I will never forget the people who were there for me that year to give me strength when I couldn’t go on by myself and I will never forget how much they helped me. Yes there those who didn’t care, but there were more of them that showed they cared when I needed them.
There is so much more to this story, but I am unable to write it all in two pages. If I was to write all the hard times I went through and the better times I had, which seem very few, during my junior year of high school alone, I easily would be able to have a twenty page paper. So for this reason, I leave off with these thoughts; No matter who you may be or what you may be facing, there is always one person out there who is willing to help you through those times, to laugh and cry with you for each moment you need them.