Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teach me


 Education is so important. There are many people who will say that school did little for them and they might be right. But anyone who is successful became educated about something.

My husband was illiterate. He went to school until the 9th grade but he could not read. Because of that he thought he was "dumb". That was his expression. But in reality he was so smart.

He educated himself in things that interested him. For instance he had a friend who was a welder by trade. My husband said he laid "the prettiest" weld he ever saw.

So my husband watched him and asked questions. He had the friend show him what to do. Then he had the friend watch as he tried. He wanted his friend to tell him if he was doing something right or wrong. He was never the master he wanted to be but his weld would hold and be strong... just not as "pretty" as he wished.

I on the other hand found school to be easy. I learn fast and retain the information. I had "book learning".

I am still an avid reader and I search the internet about topics that interest me. I keep learning that way and keep my mind sharp. I am interested in so many things that I will always have something to study.

I had another advantage. I got an excellent education in school. I can count on one hand the number of poor teachers I had and have fingers left over. That includes college and the fact that I went to 13 different schools before I graduated high school.

I am also the oldest child of seven. My mother insisted that I speak correctly. (She was a highly intelligent woman.) Therefore words like "ain't" are not a part of my vocabulary. She relaxed a bit on my siblings but I am grateful she was strict about my words.

My beautiful children seemed to inherit the best qualities of both parents. They are much more intelligent than I am. They learn easily as I do. They also educate themselves as their father did. Add the wisdom they got from their paternal grandmother and they are all impressive people.

Sadly they went to school in the big city. The number of good teachers  combined among the four of them can be counted on one hand with fingers left over. Sad.

I taught all of them to read because the schools were poor. Often they taught themselves other subjects and would come to me if they had questions because the teachers were not accessible. Again sad.

My oldest son went to school with a star basketball player. He was often in the news. It was reported also that he was such a good student and had high grades.

My son said he never went to class. The school had him sit at a table in the counselor's outer office all day. He just sat there pretty much doing nothing for the whole day. But he was a basketball star and valuable to the school.

He was automatically enrolled in a Big Ten school for college. He promptly flunked out because did not know how to learn and was used to having his grades taken care of.

He tried out for the NBA. That did not last too long. He was good but not better than a lot of other players. The last we heard he was playing professional basketball in Italy. Sad.

What a disservice the school did to him. Because he was a big star in a big city he knew he would be rich from playing basketball. He and his family were not concerned with whether or not he had an education. Unfortunately neither was the school.

Education is too important to ignore. Not everyone is cut out to excel scholastically. That is fine. But you must be educated about something to accomplish anything. Traditional schooling  is a good base to build on.

16 comments:

  1. Our opportunities in the western world are so much better than many other places on earth but there is much lacking in our world too. Education is too important to our lives for us not to fund properly and strive for excellence everywhere. Our future depends on it.

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  2. I would be lost without books, one is always in my bed with me.Sad to hear of schools failing, I taught for many years and always wanted to make the best out of all my students.When I moved I made sure that the school system would be the best for my kids also.

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    1. Luckily my children all read. I read a lot. Now that I have an electronic reader I buy fewer books. But I like the comfort of holding a book and turning the pages.

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  3. I have adult students who can't read. Not one of them can't read because they're dumb. There are dumb people in the world; I've met some. Seldom have I met them in my class. My student are bright and curious and, while they sometimes lack common sense, intelligent. They can't read because nobody ever taught them how. Not their parents, not their schools, not their communities. They're learning to read now because they're in prison. That's too late.

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    1. I appreciate your comments more than you can possibly know. My husband did go back to school and learned to read a bit. Then he took a new job and that was the end of it. No one should go through life believing they are stupid simply because they are not formally educated.

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  4. Emma, just by this post I can tell that you loved school and learning. I did, too. But when I was sixteen, I married my high school sweetheart who had just graduated high school. Fourteen months later I had my first child, a son. Then three years later I had my first daughter. The marriage was a huge mistake...but I tried for seven years to make it work. My ex was physically and mentally abusive the whole marriage.
    When I remarried about two years later, it was like starting my life over. We are still married over 45 years, with another son and daughter added along the way.
    Even though I was a "high school drop-out", I took the Civil Service exam, passed it and went to work for the USPS for thirty years. Then I retired in 2003.
    While I was happy working for the USPS I always worried that my grandchildren would believe that dropping out of school was "okay". So I had to prove to them and to myself, that I could get the equivalent of a high school diploma...my GED. One day, I saw that the college was giving the GED test in two weeks. This was back in 1993. I was 47 years old and had been out of school for 30 years...but I had to take that test for my own sake, too. I passed it and wore a cap and gown at my long awaited graduation. Then I went back to work the next day, to my job at the USPS like nothing had happened and I retired 10 years later.
    Like you, Emma, I continue to teach myself what I can and I read everyday. I own hundreds of books on many different subjects.
    Thank you for this posting...it felt good to talk about this period in my life~

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    1. Please never apologize for such a beautifully worded statement. Dropping out of school does not make a person less intelligent. There are many reasons this happens. Congratulations on your many accomplishments. And you set a great example for the younger members of your family. You never stopped trying to better yourself.

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    2. Bravo, Jan. You are the epitome of common sense and intelligence! You Accomplished something for yourself and to be an example for the generations which follow you. Well done! You should be proud!

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  5. The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know squat. That's why I read and study constantly. Good post Ma.

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    1. It is just so fascinating to learn all these new things. I am interested in a lot of things and because of those interests I am given new things that relate. Then I can learn about them. It keeps on giving. I love the internet because all things are a few keystrokes away.

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  6. Your writings are always so beautiful and well-written!

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    1. Can you see my head swelling? That is a wonderful comment. Thank you.

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  7. Another excellent post, Emma, on the virtues of always learning and reading is such an integral part of that process. My father was much like your husband. He only had an 8th grade education but became a skilled electrician with his own contracting business. He learned from others and then self-taught himself.

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    1. In those times it was expected that a young man put himself into the work force at his earliest opportunity. My grandfather was not highly educated but he could read and write. He regretted that he had not finished high school. It was his wish that he live long enough to see all his children graduate and then later marry. He got his wish.

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