Did school make or break me?

For the last few months I’ve been thinking more and more about my experiences at school and how to put them aside and get excited for our little man heading to school next year. I quite enjoyed primary and middle school, enjoying the activities, fun teaches and the ability to be myself. But sadly this all ended when I went to secondary school.

I know there will be many who say they disliked school too and it’s just a way of live, I’ve even been told to just get over it. But it was a large chunk of my childhood where I felt lost, unsupported and felt my personality took a beating. Clara on the flip side, loved school, she talks of it with fond memories and excitedly recounts fun experiences she recalls. Which is great, I love that she enjoyed school and I hope she continues to share those stories with our little man as he grows. But sadly I need to work on the bad memories I have that cast a dark shadow on my childhood.

make or break

Our education system, whilst I was at school, worked on rewarding those academically minded and not necessarily those who were creative. Creative subjects were seen as Mickey Mouse subjects and the year I chose my GCSE options, sadly one of the subjects I was really interested in, was cut.

I also feel that sadly my experience at secondary school was affected by my teacher’s preference to those within the “popular” crowd. One teacher in particular made it her mission to make me feel every bit the overweight, spotty teen I felt I was. I look back at images of my teens with sadness. I started to gain weight as soon as I started secondary school and sadly puberty caused me many acne issues. I was struggling with un-diagnosed OCD and my sexuality was confusing me. I like to think that schools have support systems in place now, to help those with mental health issues and those who wish to speak in private about their sexuality. In fact I know Stonewall work very hard to help teens feel supported when they start to understand their sexuality.

I guess overall, I just feel let down by the very system that is supposed to prepare us for the rest of our lives. I don’t feel careers advice was very supportive, lessons on money management would have been beneficial and support for those who don’t always stand out, would have been great.

This is by no means a teacher bashing post. I have friends who teach and who wanted to teach. I can fondly recall several teachers from my secondary school who were fantastic and I’d hate to tar them with the same sticky mess of a brush my other teachers were painted with. Teaching is a hard job and I have a huge respect for anyone wishing to pursue a career in it. I think my queries go above and beyond the teachers forced to stick to the curriculum. My gripe lays with those making the bigger decisions, those who manage our education system and made it what I was when I was at school.

Also my experience is mine alone, for every story like mine, there are ten from children who loved every minute of their education. What I guess I am looking for is closure. An acceptance that my journey was exactly that, my path set out for me and my son’s can go whichever way he chooses. For I will never quash his creativity, never tell him he is not good enough and will tell him he always has it inside him to reach for the stars.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Cariemay Reply

    I was one of those who loved school, but I also know that I was very lucky in the school I went to and my teachers. And I think you’ve hit on the key point that those in central control need to take a look at what a rounded education should look like, I fear there’s too much emphasis on everyone passing as many tests as possible so our education minister can lord it over all the other European education ministers!

  2. Stephs Two Girls Reply

    This is a heartfelt post and I hope it is cathartic for you. School is such a tough place; not all teachers are brilliant sadly and the system only really suits those who excel. Too many round holes and no chance of all the square pegs fitting! Confident and popular I wasn’t then either, but age and experience have taught me lots. Just hope I can pass some of that on to my girls! x

  3. Donna Wishart Reply

    It sounds like you had a tough time. I had my own tough time with bullying and was never one of the popular ones although I was academic I wasn’t sporty or creative at all. That said, I did get an A in my art GCSE – which I still feel was a fluke! x

  4. thismummylark Reply

    I also disliked high school. I spent the whole time trying to blend in the background. Was bullied in year 7 for a short while. I enjoyed learning i think it was the social hierachy and not being 100% confident in myself that made them 5years hard. I hope my son has a better time.

  5. (Mostly) Yummy Munmy Reply

    I feel for you I really do. I had a hard time at school too albeit for different reasons but they really were the most miserable days of my life. I think it’s important to understand that your journey was your own though and this does not have to shape your son’s experience. I do think that things have changed a lot since we were kids for starters but most of all, your son has you for support! There’s nothing to say that your son won’t absolutely thrive and love school and maybe seeing that might help you lay some skeletons to rest too? x

  6. Downs Side Up Reply

    It made me very sad to read this and even more determined that what our children need is balance and a knowledge of how to support and look after themselves and each other, not just stress and academia. It really does help to talk this stuff through. H x

  7. Pingback: Words stick, make sure it's in a good way - My Two Mums

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