News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

August 23, 2011

LIZ CIANCONE: Lesson 1: School is not a drag

TERRE HAUTE — Not long ago I ran across an old letter I had written to Dad when I was five years old. He had saved it!

It reminded me of how I longed to be old enough to go to school. I wanted to learn to read and I wanted to learn to write.

Today kids are bombarded with negative messages about school: “It’s boring!”, “It’s not fun!”, “Teachers are dumb!”, “It’s a waste of time!” The most exciting thing about going back to school in the fall these days seems to be the chance to get a new wardrobe to amaze friends they haven’t seen all summer. All those new clothes will soon be old clothes and then what do you have? The reading and writing stick around.

I remember by name and grade every teacher I’ve ever had. With the sole exception of Miss Bauer in second grade, I remember them all fondly. They all encouraged me when I did well and helped me when I needed help.

Miss Meeker taught me to read in first grade. Miss Montgomery singled me out for praise on my mastery of spelling in second grade — I attended three different schools in second grade and Miss Bauer is the only one I remember with a shudder.

Of course, she seemed older than dirt and seemed to have only two dresses: The navy blue number was worn every day except the two days of parent/teacher conferences when she broke out the dark green frock. It was exactly like the navy one, except for color.

By seventh grade I bogged down in cursive writing. If I understand correctly, cursive writing is now an optional feature of classroom education.

I couldn’t master the “push-pulls” or “spirals” of the Palmer method and it was frowned on to erase what you slipped and got below the line.

I also heard a rumor which I hope is false, that civics will be eliminated from the secondary curriculum. If we don’t teach government and how it is supposed to work, what will prevent us from repeatedly electing noodle-heads to run our local, state and federal government?

But, I digress.

I found my letter to Dad and still remember the glow I felt when he puddled up and filed away my juvenile effort. From then on I wanted to write.

My Best Friend still laughs about his two weeks of active duty with his reserve unit every summer. He would arrive at camp and there would be a letter waiting for him.

I needed school. I wanted school. I feel sorry for kids who are encouraged to believe that it is just a drag.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star education reporter. Her personal columns have appeared on this page for more than 20 years. Send e-mail to opinion@tribstar.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Liz Ciancone
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity