Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School Daze

Doug:  Well, I've had to go back to work these past three days.  I mean, it's not like I didn't work all summer -- my wife and I were conversing last week and I think I determined that between my high school and the U.S. Holocaust Museum there were only 10 days over the summer that I didn't do significant work for someone.  Now that's a nice vacation for most folks, but let's face it -- having an 11-week break is a source of envy for many people!

Doug:  But enough about that.  Today I want you to reflect on your school days, from when you were just a tot all the way up through whenever you want to stop.  Fashions, homework, fave or not-so-fave teachers, cliques, sports, fine arts, whatever -- it's your day to reflect on all things education-related from your personal backstory.  And, if anyone wants to say a word toward their fave school-related film or TV show that would certainly be fine as well!


NOTE:  You know Karen and I always include a little art, or a video clip in our posts.  I wanted to post a scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but it said on YouTube that there was no embed code due to request.  Well, not to be completely stymied, you can check out what I was going to post by clicking here.  Thanks!

17 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

Big topic. There's so much I could wax nostalgic about, but one thing that sticks out in my early schooling (kindergarten, first and part of second grade) was my problems with reading and communicating in general, since I came from a non-English speaking household. It was when I really started reading my comic books, and not just skimming through them and admiring the pictures, that my grades began to improve, and I became a voracious reader in general. Which was rather sweetly ironic, since initially some of the nuns in my Catholic elementary school, as well as my dad, were convinced that it was my fondness for those silly things that was responsible for my poor academic performance.

As for Fast Times and Spicoli, I think this the funniest line in the whole movie: "Relax. My old man is a television repair man. He's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it!" See the whole scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv8pkRpqXbg.

Steve Does Comics said...

Ooh blimey! School! Argh!

I don't know what to say. At the time I thought I mostly enjoyed it (after all, that was where my friends hung out) but the fact that, for years after I left, I had recurring nightmares about being forced to go back, suggests I can't have liked it all that much.

I preferred primary school to secondary school. In primary school (5-11 years old) we got to play with plasticine and Lego and do face-painting. In secondary school (11-16 years old) they made us do differential equations and valency and other things I never understood.

My secondary school was built on marshes, so it was slowly sinking into the ground with every year that passed and has since been demolished to make way for mock Georgian houses and playing fields.

On one side of that school was a pig farm (whose stench would drift across the site in summer), on the opposite side were stables with horsies, and on another side was a house that kept chickens. This was in the middle of a 1960s brutalist local authority housing scheme containing tens of thousands of people, so it was a somewhat unlikely place for such things to exist.

On the fourth side of the school grounds was the neighbouring school and, one day every summer, kids from each school would meet on the narrow road that separated the two sites and have a mass brawl until the police turned up to stop it. This type of behaviour seems to have been a common occurrence in Sheffield wherever there were two schools near each other.

Favourite school-based movies? Off the top of my head the only ones I can think of that have grabbed me are Kes (written by Threads writer Barry Hines) and Gregory's Girl which can only be described as chalk and cheese. One film grim, bleak and depressing. The other all light and frothy and Grogany. If you want to know what school life was like in Britain in the 1970s, between them they give a pretty accurate picture.

Actually, my old secondary school was the setting for a 1970s BBC TV movie called Speech Day, also written by Barry Hines. Sadly, it's not available on DVD, so I've never had the chance to revisit it.

Matt Celis said...

Y'know, Grossmont High, the real-life Ridgemont High, is maybe 5 miles from me. I should pay a call on Phoebe Cates.

Colin Jones said...

In the UK schools have a 6 week Summer break so British teachers would envy 11 weeks. When I was 15 one of the kids in school decided to give away all his Marvel comics, hundreds of them. He brought them all to school in plastic bags and started handing them out to everybody. I got an Avengers Treasury Edition and Red Sonja # 14 .

J.A. Morris said...

Steve, 'Play For Today' is available on dvd...sort of:

http://www.ioffer.com/i/play-for-today-the-operation-speech-day-507090283

david_b said...

Not much to expand on for my own school memories (past what I've shared in previous posts..), on Steve's mention of 'school movies', my personal fav is 'To Sir with Love' (became a huge Poitier fan after watching that..).

I also loved 'Scent of a Woman', especially the academy courtroom scene with Pacino's rant; parts of 'Fasttimes' are great, but overall the movie kinda plods in places.

I finally caught 'if..' with Malcolm McDowell (1968) a few weeks ago on Youtube. It was quite good for '60s British school films..

Steve Does Comics said...

J.A, thanks for that link. The Internet is a truly wondrous place.

Doug said...

A couple of ideas that my wife and I discuss from time-to-time --

How old your teachers must have really been when you had them, but you thought they were just ancient.

How much bigger and more mature you thought older kids were, even if at the time they were only in the 3rd grade!

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, that's an interesting topic. My teacher for 5th/6th grade was this nun who seemed ancient to us kids, but she was in fact quite old: I pretty sure she was pushing 70 when she was teaching us (why hadn't retired yet is beyond me). Also, she was by far my favorite elementary school teacher - very old school obviously, very no-nonesense, strong on discipline, etc., but also genuinely loved kids and committed to having them learn.

As to your second point, geez, I remember thinking eighth graders (my school was grades 1-8) were virtually demi-gods: they were soooo mature and soooo cool. And then once I got there myself, I realized it was no big deal. And then came high school and the humbling experience of being a nerdy freshman...

Doug said...

In regard to homework and various assessments, I always playfully give my students a hard time when they balk at writing a 3-5 page paper. I make my point by showing them the 250-page book I wrote/assembled (not everything done for the project was my own original work, although most of it was) for one of my master's classes. Then I tell them that in their undergrad work they will regularly write 8-10 page papers.

Funny how, again, one's perspective changes as we age.

Writing always came easy to me. Math, on the other hand, is like a plague from the netherworld to me. I'm just a humanities sort of guy!

Doug

Mike said...

The main thing I remember about Fastimes is Pheobe Cates Moving in Stereo. Well, her and Forest Whitaker's sweet Camaro and how he reacted to what happened to it.

I remember my very first day of Kindergarten for 2 reasons: I didn't want to be there, and some kid wiped a booger on my shirt. Yeah, that pretty much summed up much of my school experiences.

david_b said...

Doug, funny you should say that. Being a 'slide-ruler' geek of sorts, one of my biggest disappointments in life was not getting a BS in Mathematics.. I got to the 2nd/3rd year of Calculus in college and I simply couldn't keep up with the pace.

I'm a big math nerd, but had to settle for the Microsoft MCSE and other IT certs in my business.

mr. oyola said...

I love school.

Nothing reinforced that more to me than when I dropped out of college and had to work for a living for a while. I realized, SHIT! I have to get back into school! It took a little while, but I eventually got my B.A.

But I guess that comes as no surprise as I am still in school. Sure I took a 10 year break, but went to grad school and am less than a year away from completing my PhD (and when I do I am going to change the "Mr." in my handle to "Dr." ;) )

As both a student and a teacher, I love being in the classroom.

One of my sharpest memories re: school and comics:

In 5th grade I got in trouble for having some comics - I don't remember what they all were except for G.I. Joe #2 - and my teacher, Mrs. Cunningham, confiscated them. I knew where she kept them and I fantasized about stealing them back, but had to wait until the last day of school to finally get them back.

Garett said...

Hey Steve, thanks for bringing up Gregory's Girl. I forgot about that one...checked the trailer on youtube...I'd like to see it again.

My favorite teacher was in my grade 9 drama class. He had an enthusiasm for what he did that made a big impact on me. So many other teachers were just going through the motions, after having taught the same stuff for so long. We put on a play in one half of the year, where I got quite a large part--people were very surprised as I was generally a quiet kid, but I found it enjoyable to be on stage. In the second half of the year we watched old movies and wrote reviews of them, from Charlie Chaplin to Bogart to James Dean to Psycho. It started my love for old movies that continues to this day.

It's funny you mention the age of our teachers, Doug. I recently saw my grade 9 drama teacher for the first time in 30 years---he looks exactly the same! He still shows classic movies at a local cinema, and he gave a talk before the film about it's actors, director, etc. I felt right back in grade 9 again! I guess his enthusiasm for what he does keeps the guy young.

Fred W. Hill said...

As a Navy brat, I moved quite a bit during my first 9 years of school, although I did spend my high school years at one school. By that time, tho', I'd become such an introvert that I wound up being sent to the school psychologist regularly throughout high school. Even during my initial foray into college I didn't interact much with other students. Fortunately I didn't experience much problem with bullies, but I didn't really have any friends either and wouldn't until the summer I got my first real job, at a pizza restaurant, when I was 19 and eventually got to hanging around with a few of my co-workers after hours, listening to music and shooting the bull. Looking back, it may have helped if I'd gotten involved in extracurricular activities during my school years, but I had developed a dread of other people it was difficult for me to overcome.
Can't think of any school-themed movies or tv shows that struck a chord with me, but among my Bronze Age comics lesser faves was the short-lived Omega the Unknown. My experiences weren't nearly as horrid as the Hell's Kitchen high school Gerber & Mooney depicted, but that mag really intrigued my teen-age self.

redartz said...

Fred- Omega was quite a dramatic story; actually the John-Michael storyine seemed more memorable than that of the title character...

As for my school memory: hard to select just one. There were huge differences in my thoughts and impressions from Kindergarten through College (obviously, yes). My favorite teacher, though, would have to be my High School Spanish teacher. She also happened to be our Senior class sponsor, and headed the Spanish club. She loved her students and it showed; I remember her joining us after Spanish club meetings to play Ping-Pong or to sit and cross-stitch while we talked and snacked. Then there was the unfortunate day that fights broke out at the school; angry students roamed the halls while police were breaking up the mob outside. "Mrs. Mac" protectively locked the classroom door and kept us in, providing comfort and reassurance on a rather scary morning.

Doug said...

Let me add a few thoughts from the perspective of a student who became a teacher --

I teach at the same high school I attended. When I was employed in 1990, only six years after graduation, obviously I was then a co-worker with people I'd had as teachers and coaches. Calling people I'd respected by their first names was weird that first semester.

I have one co-worker who was on the first cross country team that I coached, and then became my assistant upon her hiring.

One of the women in my department was on one of the last teams I coached before I hung it up to coach my own kids.

On our faculty there are over a half dozen people who I have had as students.

This past summer I had the daughter of a former student in class.

Just points to ponder...

Doug

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