School Was Not Interesting
I had a hard time in school. I remember from the earliest days in my small kindergarten group having trouble understanding the concepts of school. The kindergarten I went to was part of a small day care center and my mother worked close by so, that is where I attended my first year of school. It was also only a half day program where I went back to the day care until my mother picked me up from work. Still, I was confused. Why all of the sudden did we go from playing in a big room to having to sit at these desks for hours? Reading was a small struggle but, I eventually got it. Something about Sam, a lion or something. The memories are there but they blurry.
When I got to first grade at a brand new school, I had to take a bus. I got a preliminary walk through so I think I did well the first day. It was a much bigger class and I remember feeling a little overwhelmed. Even though I made it through Kindergarten, I missed my day care teachers and still really didn’t understand school. Why am I here, why is it important,I kept thinking. I made friends quickly so, I think that helped me adjust. Despite the social aspects, I still struggled my first year and there was talk of holding me back. My father said he wasn’t raising a dummy and that I had to “buckle down”. Whatever the fuck that meant. I guess, I tried harder and my mom helped me get by after realizing this was important to them.
Finding A Way To Survive
I was not prepared for school. My parents were the products of two high school diplomas and one partial college. My dad was in business for himself and at the time, my mother worked for Nationwide insurance typing up things all day. They did not have computers or even terminals in those days as it was the early 80s. I am not sure they knew what to do, I was their first child going to school the for first time. I don’t blame them for any of this though as you will see later.
My second grade teacher, Mrs. W. to protect her name, was the one who got me in gear. No, this is not some Chicken Soup For The Soul story on the Hallmark Channel about how a wonderful teacher took an interest in a struggling child. No, Mrs. W. was atrocious. No teacher’s union these days could protect her job in our modern politically correct world. She would single out kids and say things like, “you’re just sitting there like a bump on a log.” That would embarrass kids, make them resentful, and that is what got my ass in gear. I would not be someone to be made fun of. So, I did the work and paid attention and started to catch on to this school thing.
I remember she would single out certain kids too. There was a child of African heritage in our class. He was picked on all the time. Today, I would call Mrs. W. a bigot looking back at it. In fact, she started turning everyone against him. Now that I look back, I feel so sorry for this kid and what he went through. I wonder if he is blogging like me right now.
Not My Thing
Even though I was catching on, I still hated school. It was so boring and I found myself some days just staring at the clock waiting for the day to end. The only entertainment was lunch where we played with our toys, recess, and the occasional outburst by this kid named Derek when he didn’t take his Ritalin. Yes, that was a real thing. I still remember Mrs. W. chasing him around the room trying to catch him as he dodged her for minutes. Back then, there was still a paddle rule in effect but, that didn’t matter.
I feel like I struggled every year in school. Some years were better than the others depending on how well I connected with the teacher. Most of the time, I was told I didn’t participate, that I didn’t apply myself, and so on. Still, I never realized why school was so important. When I got to High School, I was more interested in working than I was interested in my “education”. I learned how to make money by working at my dad’s business but, he would not let me do the work program. He was hoping I would go to college, get a good job and not have to work in such a dirty business all my life.
Use What You Know
My dad wanted better for me but, I thought he did really well. The biggest benefit from working in a scrap yard was, I aced chemistry class and was teacher’s pet. She was an old school lady so, my experience with Mrs. W. gave me what I needed to excel. My chemistry teacher was not a bigot but, she was a tad old and crotchety. I knew all the metals and alloys so it was a cake walk for me. The tragedy of my schooling was that I never really found myself there. So young back then, I could have had a completely different life trajectory.
There was one teacher that said something to me after I failed his eleventh grade English course. He said, “I did not fail you, you failed yourself. You didn’t take me seriously. You are a talented writer but you don’t apply yourself.” The crazy thing was, I wasn’t mad at him. He was one of the most real teachers I had. The only one that I remember saying anything encouraging about me other than I was a good kid that makes friends easily. He saw something in me but, it was too late for me at that point. I hated school and I wanted to get out as soon as I could. That meant no desire to go to a four year college.
The Discover Of Passion
Instead of more school, I wanted to make money and be a rapper. If you are unaware, the 90s was the best time for Hip-Hop and Rap. These artists paved the way with edgy lyrics and awesome beats. Working at my dad’s scrap yard, I related to the music because I saw those stories in downtown Canton, Ohio. However, the music industry is very hard to break through.
After spending hard earned money on equipment and failing, I switched to metal. When Rage Against the Machine came out, I wanted to be like that. I loved Metal music growing up. Metallica was one of my favorites. I thought, how awesome it was to merge metal and rap, I could do this. And, I tried, and failed at that but, I got an education in music while doing this so, I never got down about it. I decided I should go to recording school to learn how to record and produce records, to run a studio. So, I did.
The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe Ohio was the first education where I was all in. I was just amazed with the curriculum and what I was learning. Lectures in the early morning and recording sessions at night. It was awesome. This was where I learned that interest is the number one driver of education. Grade school held no interest because there was nothing there I cared for.
More Passion And A Career
After I struggled with a career in the music industry for a few years, I decided to go back to school. This time for a new concept in computers called Networking Technologies. Me and a buddy were toying around with computers and software and once we had hacked and cracked every known configuration, we needed more to quench our thirst. So, we signed up for the program, took a student loan and started a new career. At least, we were going to do this by day and become rock stars on the at night and on the weekends.
My Networking Technologies certificate was merely a vocation but, I was in high demand. The courses were a breeze as the interest was so high. Now, this was 20 years ago before outsourcing even existed. If you knew what you were doing with networks and computers, you didn’t need a degree. You got paid well to do a job. You got great opportunity if you had a personality. I never felt like I was working because I loved what I was doing. Something schools rarely teach you.
I Wasn’t Alone
After 20 years, I am still an IT professional. I am still passionate about IT but, the world has changed and now I also have other passions. One of the biggest things that I did during this 20 years was develop an appreciation for reading. I did not read much in school because I didn’t care for the stories. Fahrenheit 451 was my favorite but as it turns out, I am a non-fiction business book junkie. I loved learning about business during my IT career. Why executives did certain things, why were some businesses so success and ready to pivot, were all things that I enjoyed immensely.
I had a new appreciation of education because I was interested in things. I would educate myself constantly through books. My education was my own tailored experience and I enjoyed it. In 1997, a man named Robert Kiyosaki wrote a book that would ultimately click with me and change my mindset on education forever. The book was called Rich Dad, Poor Dad and really challenged the status quo on traditional education. The problem was, I hadn’t read the book until it was 20 years old and the anniversary edition popped up on my timeline.
The Real Education Has Just Begun
After reading the first chapter, I wanted more. I couldn’t believe it. Here was an author, a ‘C’ student at best, preaching to another ‘C’ student. It was such an inspirational moment, I had to consume more. So many people call themselves educated but, I am finding that is completely subjective. A stockpile of degrees might make you educated but, that doesn’t necessarily make you rich or any smarter than a business owner.
After more thought, I wondered why there were no business courses in school. There was horticulture and auto-mechanic courses but, nothing on how to run a business or make a real estate investment that makes you money month after month. There is nothing because our society has been groomed to get a degree and go work for someone else. Why do schools teach us to make others rich?
We are taught to be a bunch of bees collecting pollen so that is what they teach. Nobody tells you how to be the Queen Bee. Not even my dad. He thought it would be better to have a good paying job. From his point of view, he might have been right. He has seen his share of successful business people driving fancier cars than him. There was a lot of sweat and a hard work put in but, I still consider him to be a success when I look back at his life. Much more successful than what his education provided.
I love to read but, I have to be interested in what I am reading. Also, I love to improve myself constantly. I find myself training on new topics constantly. Most people watch TV for hours. I would rather do something else that watch the ‘idiot box’, as my grandma called it. As it turns out, my eleventh grade teacher was right and wrong about me. I did have a talent to write. Where I found out he was wrong was, It wasn’t that I didn’t apply myself but, it was I didn’t apply myself about things I wasn’t passionate about. That was not the greatest approach in school but, it has been the greatest approach in life after school.
What were your experiences in school? Please leave me a comment below and I’ll see you soon.