I am reflecting on how I had difficulty responding to English and Reading classes when I was a kid. K-12, I HATED every single one of those classes. And I may have a partial explanation. Beyond the obvious sentiment of disliking what you aren’t good at.
Grade 3, I remember leaving homeroom and going to another classroom for extra help. I didn’t really understand what was happening at the time, and there was no sigma going to Mrs. Green. I don’t remember how Mrs. Green’s small-group classes helped me get back up to speed. I’m thankful Mrs. Picker (HR teacher) caught that I was falling behind.
Same school that recommended me for the Gifted & Talented Program. I stupidly declined because I was a kid and felt it would mean more homework.
Grade 4, we had a writing assignment. Write a story. While everyone else struggled or needed help, I wrote a page and a half without much effort. I can’t remember what year I wrote Kamikazi Alert. That was six pages, typed, I believe. Even if it was hand-written, not bad, little Timmy.
Grade 5, poetry. While there was a collective sigh in the room, I perked up, excited. They struggled a little. I had fun writing poetry. Wrote something that evoked my fear of my heart stopping. (I hate feeling my heartbeat. Reminds me that it will stop someday.) It impressed my teacher and asked me to read it out. Naturally, I was too shy to read it out, so someone else did.
Did you have Book-It? May have been culinary bribery, but it frakking WORKED. As a refresher, if you read two books a month, you get a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. You bet I got two stars on that board Every. Single. Month.
Middle School English and Reading classes were the worst. I get that we should be versed in sentence structure and the nuances of grammar. But gosh, I HATED them.
8th grade had a free-writing exercise, I believe called “Writing Workshop”. Went in tandem with “Reading Workshop”. Now. In my free time, I would sit down every Saturday morning and write. I didn’t have to write so much, but I was having fun.
Kamikazi Alert 2: The Good Guys Strike Back. 26 pages typed. Showed all the glimpses of how over-the-top I am now. I was 13.
Not even sure if my teacher read it, but I got an A. :: laughs ::
High school, I didn’t like any of the english/reading classes, either.
Ah, the plot twist, what I have been getting to. I had no issue reading from my Biology or History textbooks. In lower grade general science courses, I never had any apprehension over reading the textbook. In “Social Studies”, I never had anxiety over reading the textbook. Ask me to read a book for an english class, and you will be met with a groan and an eye-roll.
Grade 10, Biology class. I would finish the test, hand it in first before everyone else, then read the entire next chapter while everyone else did the test. Seriously. Never had to do any studying at home. So when the following lectures proceeded, I would nod along while taking notes. As I had ALREADY READ THE CHAPTER. Got an A.
Grade 12, US History 2 Honors. We were required to write a five paragraph essay once a week on the chapter. That was SO EASY for me. Parsing the chapter for the key points, then regurgitating in simple form. Got an A.
I think my point is that it was a matter of the content of what I was reading. Trying to remember some fictional person and world that I don’t care about, and then spit it back, meh. But History. History happened. You don’t have to worry about a consistent plot in writing History BECAUSE IT HAPPENED. That plot is already written - you are simply documenting it.
Want to know the last book I fully read all the way through?
“Guide to Political Revolution” - Bernie Sanders
One of the last movies I saw before the lockdown? It was on Notorious RGB.
I will enjoy the frak out of Ken Burns documentaries on, well, anything. (Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, etc.)
One of the few books I have read twice? This shouldn’t surprise you. “I am Spock” - Leonard Nimoy
Maybe I have a penchant for nonfiction-leaning works. Obviously not exclusive, given my Memory Alpha love of Star Trek. Though. Since it is too obvious to pass up, Star Trek is real. Maybe I enjoy how sophisticated and yet silly it is at times. Oh, I love dumb teen comedies, but the really good ones have a message between the lines.
Or maybe a lot of written fiction doesn’t appeal to me because I can’t see it. I can’t smell it. I can’t hear the characters’ voices. I need detail. I need input.
See, right there. That is part of why I have been adding images to my scrawls whenever possible. Maybe you didn’t hear Johnny Five saying “Need Input”, but now you just did.
Or maybe I just wasn’t being challenged and got bored. I actually got straight C’s in math because I didn’t care. Middle school and high school, for a time. It was too easy. As I ascended to Calculus Honors and AP Physics, my grades went up. Go figure.
Oh, and Star Trek is real.