Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Most true valedictorian speech ever given:

...I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contend that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, "We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt...
Read the rest here.

Brava to her.  This is exactly how I feel about the educational system of this country.  My defining moment?  When I turned in a thought out, well written paper only to have it returned with a F-grade because my english teacher thought I interpreted the book in question "wrong."  My fault? "you responded from the female perspective whereas the book was written and should be read from the male perspective."  The paper read out loud in class and lauded as an example of an assignment well done?  One spliced together from her parents "help" and cliff's notes.  There was not one iota of original thought contained within, but therein was the point.  He didn't want MY interpretation, he wanted me to write out the same old recycled drivel that everyone else thinks.

In that moment I decided that school was a complete waste of my and everyone else's time.  It's only purpose was to ensure that one did not have to work as a fry cook for the rest of their life.

Dear English teacher,

in·ter·pre·ta·tion   /ɪnˌtɜrprɪˈteɪʃən/ [in-tur-pri-tey-shuhn]

–noun

1. the act of interpreting; elucidation; explication: This writer's work demands interpretation.
2. an explanation of the meaning of another's artistic or creative work; an elucidation: an interpretation of a poem.
3. a conception of another's behavior: a charitable interpretation of his tactlessness.
4. a way of interpreting.
5. the rendering of a dramatic part, music, etc., so as to bring out the meaning, or to indicate one's particular conception of it.
6. oral translation.

No love,
Kim

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