Though we had books at home and my mother became an infant teacher when I was about 12-years-old, my 11 years spent in England’s primary and secondary education systems were a complete waste of my time and the tax payers’ money. I learned almost nothing there and am sure that any English 16-year-old who lived centuries before me and never went to school knew much more about life than me. They were probably also more capable of doing useful things since on leaving school I couldn’t really do anything at all. The only thing I remember learning was that Canada has nine provinces.
For some reason I just didn’t take to school. I attended lessons but didn’t attend to them. The classes were for the teachers, not for us. Very few of the pupils were any more interested in learning than I was and most of us just idled our way though the day, watching the clock and being amused by what the more disruptive boys were up to.
I was neither academically-minded nor hard-working and I don’t blame the school or my teachers for this. Yet had I been the parent of a child who actually did want to learn something and ‘get on in life’ I would have been bloody annoyed that more of an effort wasn’t made to separate the wheat from the chaff and create a reasonable learning environment for the interested students.
My intention in this post was to analyse what went wrong between my school and me but then I read this review of Robert Weissberg’s Bad Students, not bad schools and the desire to write anything about education left me. The review articulated all my inchoate thoughts with such clarity that I no longer felt I needed to write anything about it.