Made to read at school: No, no one made me

high school in the 1970s
Day 23: My initial interpretation of today’s prompt was “textbook,” as in “textbooks are made to read at school,” which goes to show the effect of a predisposition. I understand why the word “forced” would be too charged in the context of school. I get it. It’s just that I can’t recall objecting to any book I was given to read in class.

When Miss Stedman passed out our English textbooks in the first grade, I do remember thinking, “Oh, goody! We’ll be learning a foreign language.” Until then, I guess I’d never heard my native language referred to by name. What a big disappointment when I opened the book.

I will say that I derived no pleasure from learning algebra and never advanced to calculus in high school. I wasn’t crazy about chemistry, either. The dude in the plaid pants excelled at all of it. I was more interested in taking photographs.

Today, my friend Lynn Gaar and I watched this video of her son Taylor, who teaches fifth graders at a school in Boston. In it, he describes his strong sense of obligation to create in his students an “instinctive and practiced aversion for the wrong.” Remember the fifth grade? Hit replay in your mind and then watch his spoken word performance.

BookADay-The Borough Press

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