Writer’s Workshop: No More Pencils! No More Books! No More Teacher’s Dirty Looks!

Just had to do this one because I wanted to use the title…

Top 10 reasons why you are glad you are done with school.

1. No more drama. I somehow always managed to find the people (and sometimes I was the people) who had some sort of life-threatening issue with classes, or grades, or boy/girlfriends, or something that could easily be solved by just dealing with it. Doing badly in a class? Study harder, or drop the class. Homework assignment makes no sense? Ask the idiot professor who assigned it what s/he wants. Geez, kid, grow up.

2. No more ennui. Some of the classes could just bore the eyeballs out of you. I had an art history professor who had spent too much time inhaling turpentine fumes, who would stand with her back to us and drone on semi-coherently while the class caught up on their sleep, the homework from another class, or doodling in their notebook, waiting in vain for something interesting to spring from her mouth. One day a dog got loose in the class and was trotting up and down the aisles. She had no idea, and I don’t think she stopped talking.

3. No more all-nighters. Occasionally you managed to fall behind in a class and would have to spend the whole night writing a paper or doing some other assignment, or that Mickey-Mouse class you took because everyone said it was easy and everyone got out of it with at least a B turns out to be The Class From Hell and takes every waking moment to do the work, never mind you have three or four other classes that are just as demanding, requiring you to find some time to do the work for those. That’s when you decide “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”…

4. No more self-destructive behavior. I think I subsisted on coffee and cigarettes during the week and beer, coffee and cigarettes the rest of the time, even when I was living at home so I wouldn’t do that. We would have “Wild Turkey Day” at least once a quarter where you’d show up for school and be handed a paper cup filled to the rim with 100-proof whiskey. You generally took the day off from classes then.

5. No more having to please teachers. Half the game of getting through school, whether college, high school, middle school, elementary school, kindergarten, or Montessori was figuring out what exactly would make your teacher happy so that you have at least a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. Sometimes they wouldn’t be forthcoming with what they wanted, meaning you had to guess…

6. No more taking stupid classes because they’re required. I have a theory that the only reason you take so many stupid classes is because your teachers had to take them, and they want you to have the same torturous experience. You know, “If I had to spend four hours a week for a quarter learning this crap, so do you.”

7. No more grades. And, with it, no more trying to figure out what “classroom participation” which counts for twenty percent of your grade consists of.

8. No more having to explain bad grades. Some parents think that any grade less than a B means you failed the class. I got more than my share of C’s and D’s in my high school and college days, mostly because I couldn’t care less about the class, and I had to explain each one.

9. No more peer pressure. This is more a high school thing, but it comes up in college, too. Having the right clothes, the right haircut (or, in my day, not having a haircut), smoking the right cigarettes, having the right guitar, liking the right music, driving the right car… all the things that are basically meaningless except to sixteen-year-olds.

10. No more exams. And with it, no more academic bulimia where you “binge” on the class material so you can “purge” on the exam.

Looing at my list, I realize it doesn’t go away when you graduate and go out into The Real World®. You still have to deal with all this crap in the workplace. I submit that it’s because of the school experience that the workplace is like school, except instead of having to figure out your teacher, you have to figure out your manager, instead of having to explain to your parents why you got a D in Art History, you have to explain to your manager why the simple assignment they gave you has turned into a hot mess, etc. A big difference is, you can find another job, transfer to another department or location; you don’t have to just “buck up” and live with it.

So, what are the things you don’t miss about school?

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

31 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: No More Pencils! No More Books! No More Teacher’s Dirty Looks!”

    1. In their defense, they aren’t the ones deciding what they’re going to teach, nor are they the ones who set the standards. That’s done by administrators and experts who haven’t actually been in a classroom. It’s likely none of them was the class clown.

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  1. Trying to be convinced by parents, teachers and other adults that Latin was somehow very important! I spent years wrestling with learning a dead language. I always felt that time would be better spent learning a useful language like Spanish or French. Your Mother was a big believer in learning Latin because so many English words are derived from Latin. How difficult can it be to learn the meaning of the word “laudable” and have the teacher say, “Oh, by the way, this word comes from the Latin.” Anyway, this is one of the things I miss least about high school. Are you happy that you now ruined my whole morning just making me think about Latin?

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      1. I either never read the above blog or I forgot about it. Absolutely hilarious! My sentiments exactly! You really should put all this stuff from about your life in a book.

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  2. School was something that I just accepted. I didn’t particularly love school, but I didn’t hate it either. I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with the routine of going to school on a daily basis, but if I were doing it again I’d probably adapt pretty well. I do prefer my retirement schedule (or non-schedule) to getting up and spending time in school all day.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  3. I never really minded school, but then again I just went to class and kept to myself mostly. I wasn’t one of the popular kids so I didn’t feel as much pressure and there was very little drama and I had a job at the local public library so not a lot of free time. But, through conversations with people at our 40th high school reunion (which I got to help plan), I realized there were a lot of fun things I missed out on. I still wouldn’t want to go back though. Hated math.

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  4. I don’t miss at all that my kids have never been there, and so, what they will miss is….all of it! Not that they seem to mind. They’re too busy learning as they please and applying it to their right-mow lives, and, anyway, they don’t have a crystal-clear idea what it is that they’re missing.

    I don’t miss having to pretend I wasn’t writing poetry in math class, or fan fiction in history. That I was reading Star Trek in class because I read Shakespeare at home, for fun, and the classroom discussion is orders of magnitude LESS fun than the reading was…I don’t miss suffering as a result of a nocturnal schedule being at odds with an early-morning schedule. I don’t miss inane homework, or being nearly endlessly bullied, or having to jump through hoops that had nothing to do with my real life.

    After all that hiding and shame for my writing in class, what am I?

    Yup. A WRITER!

    Seems like a lot of time, energy, and anguish could have been saved just be allowing me to be who and as I was, way back then. Whatever the kids in my life will be, they have the freedom to figure it out on their own terms.

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    1. Mom, who taught for years, claimed that as long as a kid could read, he or she could learn just about anything. All the schools are doing is teaching kids how to look good on standardized tests so they don’t embarrass us to the rest of the world. The curriculum is designed by people who believe that if they had to suffer through it, everyone else needs to. Why subject a young kid to that?

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      1. I’d go further than that, in today’s internet world. My son read at 5, and was devouring books at 7; my daughter didn’t read till she was 8, which is younger than some natural learners, and older than others. She has been a rapacious learner her entire life. A particular fascination has always been wildlife; she watches a lot of nature documentaries, and always has.

        Reading about wildlife could never give her as complete an experience as watching Nature or Koko’s Kitten or going out into the natural world could. Now that she reads at an adult level, reading has joined her learning tool chest, but it will never be the only way.

        For school learning, though, reading is much more vital. Your mom had a point.

        My kids have to take standardized tests. I have to say that both they and I find them insulting, at best. My son wanted to know why they only test English and Math.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I do NOT miss all that work. I like to write, but only about what I want to write, not some assignment. GRR. I still have nightmares where I’m missing classes and in danger of failing out!

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