“You’re an enigma”
mother would tsk,
ushering me out of the door,
brown bag lunch,
book bag dragging,
to catch a ride across town

a special classroom –
desks pushed together
formed quads, and
walls retracted,
created one large room,
the bustle of activity
a constant

no readers here,
or math sheets,
it was free learning,
learned about history
from novels,
math and science
through applications,
wrote poetry,
read Shakespeare,
enacted plays,
and while some went to shop
or home economics,
I tackled Mensa puzzles

we debated
current affairs,
grew a social conscience,
progressed individually

“Men don’t like smart women,”
was all my mother could say,
shaking her head with disgust
at this daughter, who spouted
politics with her father, and
whose career goals,
aspired beyond the 3 k’s.

(Penned for dVerse, hosted tonight by Amaya Engleking.  I’ve also snuck in Daily Addictions prompt:  enigma.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

29 thoughts on “Problematic”

  1. LOVE it! I was one of the only female high school debaters in my school….and wierdly enough, for my 10th and 11th grades, a debater and a cheerleader. I dropped cheerleading in 12th grade to go to debate tournaments and won a debate scholarship for college – debated in college too. My mother always wondered if anyone would marry someone who “argued” all the time! 🙂 And when people asked my dad, “How do you ever win arguments with her?” He always answered, “As soon as she opens her mouth, I say no!”

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  2. I loved being able to teach my children the same way you learned. We didn’t do it every year, but we did it when I had the time and energy to make it work. Kudos to you, your teachers, and the school!

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  3. I had a school like that for one year of middle school. Very experimental. Then the state voted to stop funding that newfangled stuff. Strange how we resist improving our selves and our kids.

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  4. That sounds like my kind of education, V.J., which I so tried to promote in the school in which I taught. Unfortunately, the government wants to put all children into a sausage machine and force them out all the same!

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  5. It would be tough to foster a relationship with anyone who tried to suppress your inquisitive nature and passion for the greater world “beyond the three k’s.” Luckily your father seemed to understand you and the importance in exercising who you are. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Love your poem and the reaction of your mother. I remember when Quads and Pods and Open Learning was introduced. Never was a fan of it myself. Too much going on to focus for me.

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      1. I think there are some alternative options, but not many. In the Yukon, my son attended an outdoor education program for one semester. The learning (academics) was totally integrated into the hands on learning, buffalo hunt, winter survival, bike trip through Alaska. They also had a Music Arts and Drama program where the academics were also integrated. I think more inquiry learning would be great!

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    1. Thank you, Laura. My mother was farm-raised, grade 8 educated, and believed women did not need an education. She has never understood my need for ongoing learning.


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