Daily Prompt; The New School
You get to redesign school as we know it from the…
You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us SKILLED.
Unfortunately in the ending year of 2013, I would have to take away the basics that we learned as a child from being long courses of all year to cutting them in half. The reason being is there is too many other things that youngsters need to be learning.
You see, there are many brilliant and outstanding youth today, but there are also many lost souls, tossed from house to house. Some have never been taught manners, respect or how to love another human being for just simply being human.
Today when we mention love, somewhere sex has been connected to that, and what was once a beautiful way to show someone special how much you loved them; now it has turned into a nasty, pornographic, giggling at the computer screen side-show.
Some youth go strictly after the weak, fragile and lonely ones. They never learned that word respect. Just because they know how to possibly spell it, doesn’t mean they know the definition of it.
Then there is youth who are working so very hard with one or even more part-time jobs, striving to help pay their college education fees. But then there are others who don’t understand the dollar. Some never get that the real way to get money is to work. There are those who believe the cheating way to get money is to rob.
I guess drugs have been around for years. I know they were present when I was in high school. But for me, there was pretty much the fear of God placed in me by my parents that I better never get into drugs.
Now it seems the key is to continually keep finding cheap ways to get thrills. But this has a price included, which may have the word death in it.
So for me, there would still be reading, writing and arithmetic, but I would include at least half the year if not a little more balancing checkbooks. Budgeting classes would be almost as high of a priority as reading. Learning what percentages to save back from a paycheck in order to buy groceries, pay rents, gas, food and clothing. Training for work would not only include college prep classes. It would also include the regular jobs, how to look and represent yourself for a check-out job, or maybe a restaurant job. How to act and work in order to move up in the job.
Another class would be called, The You Inside. This class would be all about how to respect yourself. Teaching youth that they are worthy of existing here on earth. This classroom would have many mirrors in it, full length mirrors. Students would have to stand in front of them and look at themselves repeating positive and motivational sentences that refer to themselves as a person.
I feel today there is much lacking in the learning department. A lot of this is learned in the very young years, but when the home life is not the best or even suitable, many children are not taught that they have the right to be who they want.
In my area, schools are taught to preach about college. Not everyone is going to college. So many youth don’t even know what they want, but it pays the bills for these colleges getting all types in. But the drop out rates are pretty staggering.
So let’s get involved with each and every student. Let’s make sure that the poor as well as the wealthy kids are receiving a chance to be someone they are proud of, no matter what or where they came from. After all, we all started with nothing in the beginning. We all came here the same way. We all arrived with a clean slate. I say, let’s help every single human get the best chance in school to be the best they can be, no matter what.
Daily Prompt; We Can Be Taught
I was in the third grade. I was a chatterbox. When I look back at past report cards for elementary grades I can see all the boxes checked for talking too much. I couldn’t help it I guess. I had lots to say.
Now that I am much older I know that even back then I was craving what I was lacking at home. I needed to be validated. I wanted to be noticed. I suppose that even now I still have some of those feelings that will pop up now and then.
My teacher, was a short, plump woman, who wore stockings and pumps and a print dress every single day. Her hair was orange/red. She had more freckles on her face and arms than anyone I had ever known at that time. When she smiled around her eyes formed wrinkles and she reminded me back then of Mrs. Clause with those tiny eyes that danced.
She moved me several times for talking. I sat in the front rows. I was moved to the back rows. I can remember standing out in the hall a couple of times. I also tattled. I think people tattle for attention. Tattling draws attention. Whether good or bad we need it, we think.
She was a strict teacher and molded me into what I am today.
I didn’t like her much at the time, but she helped me to start the process that I was worthy. She helped me see that bad attention was not the only choice I had in drawing others to me.
For the lack of confidence part, I had to teach myself through tough lessons in life. Good friends sitting with me and talking. Tears being poured, and accepting. Yes, this is the toughest teaching job of all. Accepting myself for who I am.
I am never going to be any other than who I am. The TV media can destroy us. It makes us ponder on what else is out there. Why can’t I look or talk, or have what she/he has. The bottom line is God made me who I am for a reason. I am no one special in the outer world. But I am a writer, a good mother, and a woman who has a right to stand here living on this land.
On one side of the sea there lived a young man in his twenties. All his life Ray‘s life had been a mess. He was born with a disease that kept him on the heavy side. His Thyroid didn’t work. It caused many trips to the hospital, blood test, discussions, and yet there was never a permanent cure.
Ray was made fun of from the first week of school. Fatty fatty two by four, can’t get through the bathroom door. This was one of the more common statements he heard. Kids pointed and giggled. Strangers stared.
Ray spent much of his time in his room reading. He would read book after book. He charted on what he read and what he took from it. He would do anything that would keep him inside. He didn’t ride bikes, or skip rope or have friends over. No one invited him to birthday parties.
His parents hated seeing what he was suffering through; but they were calmed that he was doing so much in his books. Anytime his mom visited the local library, she would stock up on new reading for her son.
All of those years of studying led him to good grades, excellent study habits and a scholarship to the school of his choice. Ray decided to enter and his goal was to be a doctor. He wanted to help others who were facing challenges from a medical disease such as his.
Across the sea was a young lady in her twenties. She was born beautiful. Golden, curly locks softened her face. Big, deep dimples appeared when ever she smiled. The biggest, blue eyes with long lashes adorned her face.
Everyone that met her cooed and wanted to pinch her little cheeks. When she started school she magnetized the other students. Everyone wanted to sit by the princess. All wanted to be her friend.
She spent her time going to birthday parties. She was invited to many sleep overs. The older she got, the more her personal phone rang. Boys promised her anything to spend some time alone with her in high school. She was the life of the party.
She made good grades without much studying. It just seemed that Molly had it all. But something was missing. She felt a void inside. She had lots of friends, but no close confidants.
Although her grades could be a bit improved, her counselor told her she had what it took to be a success. The two talked about her goals and she said she wanted to make people realize that there was something beautiful on the inside. That surface beauty faded and what you had left was your soul. They decided that she would be a therapist for those lacking in self-esteem.
After graduation Molly and Ray found themselves in the same classes. Ray sat in the back. Molly sat near the front. Ray was alone and Molly was surrounded by classmates. There came a day when an activity was called upon pairing up with another student.
Molly and Ray were placed together for this project. They were expected to work together. Both were shy but slowly warmed up to each other as they each learned about each other. Their project forced them to spend extra time at the library. They would call each other and ask questions.
In six weeks the projects were turned in. Molly and Ray got an A for their excellent presentation. Going back to their regular seats when the grades were handed out Molly and Ray caught themselves thinking about each other.
A week went by and there had been no connection between the two. It happened on a Thursday evening around seven p.m. The phone rang.
Ray answered with a “hello.”
“Ray this is Molly. I know we are done with our projects. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed having you as a partner. You had a lot of good ideas. You are really smart. I sort of miss you, you know, our talks.”
“I was thinking about you too tonight Molly. I enjoyed working with you too. You know you had a lot of good ideas too. I sort of miss our talks too.”
“Say Ray, are you doing anything tomorrow night? I was going to study, but spending some time chatting with you over a burger sounds more fun. What do you say?”
“I like the idea Molly. Do you want to meet at the campus cafe around seven?”
“Sure, it sounds good. It’s a date. See you then Ray.”
“A date, yes a date. See you then Molly.”
Trish was a messed up high school kid. She held nothing back when wanting what her heart desired. She stooped at nothing to get to the top. In the first year of high school she was popular.
After the second year people began to whisper and her friends list dropped slowly. Sometimes she would think about it and wonder what was going on, but only for a few minutes.
Her attitude was if they didn’t like her, screw them, there were others that could fill the slot. She kissed teacher‘s rear ends to get better grades. She wanted the best and if it included lying a little or faking someone out she did it.
There was once a rumor going around school that she was sleeping with one of the male teachers. It was Algebra and she struggled with it. She sat up front and center of the teacher’s desk and made sure to show a little extra leg.
He took the bait and kept her after school to give her more help than what he would other students. It was no surprise to her when she got an A in that class. Classmates designated her as one of the top class sluts.
At nights when she lay in bed she would think about the sneers that went on behind her back. If they only knew. If they only knew her own dirty past, they wouldn’t say things like that about me.
A couple of tears would slide down her cheeks. She brushed them off and put up her soul armour and rolled over and went to sleep. The next morning arrived and so did a reinforced attitude of getting to the top.
Her third and last year of high school brought one major change from the years prior. Students despised her even more. They could see that she was a total fake. Anything that came out of those pouty lips was not believable.
Trish never stayed home on the weekends. This is when her father was home. She went to the ball games at school and sat among the crowd alone. It was one evening at a home basketball game that she noticed one of the players paying attention to her.
She didn’t know this guy that well. He wasn’t in any of her classes. He would wave at her and sometimes wink. It seemed that a growing conversation was forming between the two by way of physical communication.
After the game she hung around in the bleachers instead of leaving like she usually did. The gym was silent as everyone had left. Soon echos of footsteps brought the player and the student face to face.
Petty conversation was transpired and the two ended up walking out together. There were a few cars still in the parking lot but those were probably the clean up people. Trish walked with Jack to his car.
“Are you hungry? I am starving. I’m going to stop over at a little place that’s on the way home for me. Do you want to come along? We can get to know each other better.”
Trish looked at him with stars in her eyes. Here was a guy who was definitely interested in her. He wasn’t making fun of her or bringing up any of those nasty rumors. “Sure, I’d love to go.”
The two climbed in the car and took off down the street. As the street lights became farther apart Jack took a left turn and the night lights disappeared all together. “Is there a restaurant clear out here?”
” Yeah, just a mile down the road. I thought we could pull off here and talk for a while. You don’t mind do you? I just want to get to know you so bad. You are so beautiful.”
Trish started to feel jitters inside. She had heard those words before, you are so beautiful. But yet this was a different place, time, and a different man. Her excitement of being accepted was higher than her internal alarms.
Jack grinned at her and pulled off on a dirt road. It was actually a path that had been made for tractors and other farm machinery. Corn fields were on either side of them. Jack knew this area well.
He turned the engine off and turned towards Trish. “Tell me something about yourself pretty girl. I want to know every little thing about you.”
As she started to speak Jack’s hands were speaking also. As his hands began to roam her thoughts turned a way from him and back to the endless nights where another man also did this.
Oh my God, what did I do to deserve this? Why me, is it ever going to stop? Am I going to have to go through life always trying to prove myself?
Jack wanted her and she recognized his behavior. She should have known. No one wanted her other than for sex. Hadn’t he told her years ago that she was just the most beautiful child that had ever walked this earth? Hadn’t he said that men would always want her and that she must be thankful for this?
Tears sliding in the darkness, and conversation quieted, Trish let Jack lead the way. She let him do as he wished. There was no reason to fight it. She had tried in the past, but only received punishment and threats.
She felt so dirty inside. His good looks suddenly turning into pictures of slithering snakes wrapping its trunk around her and tasting her wounded soul. When he was finished with her he said,”I like you real well. You did good. I know about your reputation at school so I suggest you keep this to yourself. You know no one will believe a word you say if you tell.”
Yes, Trish knew all too well that she would never say a word. Hadn’t she already proven that by keeping the secret all these years?
Jake started the car and drove her back to the school. He let her out and told her,” maybe we can hook up again real soon.” She smiled at him as he drove a way. When he was out of sight she walked towards home.
Entering the back door she quietly walked to her bedroom. She stripped off her clothes and took the hottest shower she could stand. She wanted to wash off another evening before bitter memories could take over.
She stood under the streaming water until her skin became wrinkled but she could still feel the inner emotional pain. She didn’t think she could ever wash that away. All she ever wanted was good grades and a chance to go to college.
She didn’t even know what she wanted to study for. Her vision was blurred by the ugly memories always popping up. She did know that her beauty was her worst enemy. But yet it could also help her to get what she needed to get out of the house and on her own.
She dried off and put her pajamas on and crawled under her bed sheets. She lay there staring in the darkness wishing her life could be different. No one understood her and it seemed no one cared.
Tears were falling slowly down her cheeks when she heard her door knob turn. She glanced over towards the door and saw nothing but knew well enough what was happening.
He scooted into bed next to her and laid very quietly. She knew the signal by heart. The motions were effortless and when her duty was done he walked out as quietly as he had walked in.
Her soul was burning, and her heart was broken. Her dreams had vanished when in one night she had been raped twice by two different men. She couldn’t take it anymore. She knew her life was over.
She had tried using the same devices that she had been taught, but others ended up getting the better deal. She screamed inside for release from this pain. Flaming torches had found their way to every part of her body and she needed them to go a way.
She put her clothes back on and slowly opened her door. Seeing no one she walked down the hall to the main bathroom. She went in and opened the medicine chest and scanned the bottles.
She didn’t know what the names were but she knew that her Mom had these for her bad days of headaches and pains. She grabbed a couple of bottles and took them back to her room.
Getting a glass of water and then sitting on the edge of her bed, she stared at the bottles knowing this was her only way out. She let tears take all of her pent-up emotions and lay them on the bed next to her.
With no way to comprehend anything now she swallowed hard and finished her water. She put the empty bottles on her night stand and let the glass fall to the floor. She laid back down and waited for the years to escape her memories.
We lived up on a hill with lots of trees surrounding the house. It was a great hill to go sledding as long as you didn’t run into those trees. A couple of times I took Al down on the back of my sled but he never did like it and seemed scared. He preferred to be in his room playing with his cars. Al played with his hot wheel cars far later than most kids, but he loved them and he was never asked to put them a way and grow up, which I am thankful for.
In the summertime Dad always made him trim the trees. Oh Al really hated this. I am not sure if he actually hated the trimming or if he hated the fact it was Dad telling him to do it. We were never allowed to ask questions. If we didn’t understand we could go to Mom if she was there or we just figured things out for ourselves.
For Al no matter what the project was he needed training longer than most of us. He would in the beginning trim around the trees but not close enough. So Dad would go out there and show him again by pointing to the trees and asking, do you see now what I am talking about? Now go back and redo them all.
Al would cry and Dad would walk back to the house shaking his head. Dad shaking his head was a common thing I saw clear up until his death. He never understood why us kids just didn’t get it the first time.
This is when Al learned to start cussing. I sometimes would go out and walk with him while he did the trimming for the second time and I learned some pretty choice words. I will never know where he learned them at that age because neither of us were allowed to hang around anyone that didn’t go to church.
I can remember when I wanted a friend to stay the night. Mom would ask, what’s their last name? If she recognized it as a bad family name I wasn’t allowed to be near them let alone have them spend the night at our house.
I guess when I look at it Mom she was prejudice. You were hung before judged if you had the wrong last name. I can remember this house that was vacated by people other than Caucasian. Mom would always say, don’t step in the grass or ever go in the house on your way home from school. They have bugs.
I laugh at it now because it sounds so silly to me. How did her mind work? I always blame it on her own upbringing and what she was taught. I didn’t get mad at her, I always listened to what she said, but I made my own judgements when I became an adult. Any human can get bugs and your last name means nothing to me. I will decide after I have taken the time to be with you whether we would make good friends or not.
By now Al had outgrown the special education classes and was in the high school. He really struggled. Fears that had been held at bay now resurfaced as he struggled with stuttering and learning disabilities.
I am not sure what Mom did but I know she spent a large amount of time in our school. A class opened up for students that were labeled back then as slow learners. Before that it was called mental retardation.
I always hated that wording. Even today when Al is down on himself he will sometimes call himself a retard. I jump on him quicker than you can blink an eye. I tell him in no way is he retarded. I explain that some things are just a little harder for him to learn.
He and I are both left-handed people. I always tell him how smart he and I. That we are the lucky ones because God only gave left-handed to special people. Then he would smile at me and the world was good once again.
The new school class was an ordinary class but a few special need students were placed in here. Not only was there a teacher but there were two teacher’s helpers too. I always told Mom she started a revolution for learning disabilities with whatever she had said to get this started.
Mom was never one to brag about herself. She worked as a manager for a big well-known heating company. She paid people’s bills when she learned that the customer was trying so hard but couldn’t pay the entire bill. She never did this with telling them who she was.
Mom even helped to open the first women’s shelter here in our town. It was for women and children who had been battered by their husbands. It is still running at high-capacity today unfortunately. I say this because I wish abuse of any kind would fall off the earth and never be heard of again. We learned, we conquered, and now we lay it to rest.
Al stayed in this class the entire year and we could start to see changes in his personality. He was feeling like he was cared about and that teachers understood him. He stayed in these high-school special classes until he graduated. We were all so proud of Al for graduating. He should have graduated in 1973 but instead he graduated in 1975, but hey, who cares, he made it!!
Write a piece of fiction describing the incident that gave rise to the phrase, “third time’s the charm.”
Right after high school, in fact, the first Saturday after graduation, Sue married her high school sweetheart. She was so in love and it showed in each day of their marriage. But Ron had a hidden secret. A bad temper followed him like the blackest of shadows.
When the two had their first big fight it shocked Sue so much when he slammed her against the living room wall. After thinking about it she just knew that he didn’t mean to do it. Sue knew that he loved her as much as she loved him.
She went to him and apologized for what ever she had done to set him off. He smiled and said, “I’m sorry Baby. I don’t know what got into me. I guess it was just the way it came out of your mouth. It seemed you didn’t understand what I was saying and you were not on my side.”
Sue wiggled closer to him on the couch and gave him her biggest smile thinking to herself, I will always think about the words I use and the tone I carry before I speak. This was all my fault.
After history repeated itself for four more years Sue decided to file for a divorce as she lie in her hospital bed recovering from a broken jaw.
She blamed herself for the divorce and lost all of her self-esteem. She felt she wasn’t good enough for any man so the first time she met Jeff at a local pub, he introduced her to some of his good buddies. They drank and even smoked a little pot. What Sue didn’t realize is that one of these good buddies had slipped a drug into her drink.
She didn’t care what she was doing and with whom she was doing it with. They ended up at one of the friends pads and she was passed among the guys like she was the main appetizer.
A year later as she was walking back and forth trying to calm her baby she finally got baby Jane to sleep. She put her in her crib and went into her own bedroom. Closing the drapes and kneeling beside her bed she prayed.
Dear God, I have made so many mistakes. I have believed what wasn’t true. I have let myself sink down into the gutters. I know I am better than this because you told me so years ago. Please help me Lord. Help me to trust in you and to stand tall once again with my head held high. Help me to take care of my baby God. Open my eyes and let me see only the good around me. God if you can guide me to a decent man I promise that I will look closely instead of making rash decisions. I don’t want to live alone God. I don’t want to raise Jane without a Daddy. Amen
About a year later Sue and Jane were grocery shopping. She was trying to pick out some ripe tomatoes. A gentleman across from her was doing the same thing. He picked up the brightest, reddest tomato and handed it to her. “Is this what you are searching for? he asked, looking straight into her eyes.
Sue blushed and told him yes and took the tomato from him. Without asking the two went through the aisles of the store talking like they had been friends forever. Bob talked to Jane and had her giggling in no time.
When it was time to check out Bob asked her if he could call her later in the week to take her and Jane out for supper. Sue hesitated and looked up toward the ceiling thinking, could this be it? God could he be the one? Please give me a sign if you want me to walk a way from this opportunity.
Sue didn’t get any bad feelings and so she looked back at Bob and answered,”yes, that would be nice. Here is my phone number.”
“Thank-you Sue. I will be calling you probably in a couple of days.”
The three parted and as she was loading her groceries into her car she thought to herself, third times a charm.