When you’re ahead of the school system (s)

I can’t honestly tell you how I came up with the memories.  My brain works on a lot of slippery slope transitions…such as looking at a street light can remind me of a pie I ate three years ago after about ten seconds.

For some reason, opening the ‘fridge, I was reminded of the time that I read the book “The Hobbit”, then saw a cartoon version of it in fifth grade.  When I was watching the cartoon in class, I remember thinking, “I know this story…”  I brought it up to my teacher and told her that I’ve read the book.  Her response to me?  “I doubt that.”

I was a little confused and asked her why.  She told me, “No one in fifth grade is required to read The Hobbit and it’s not a book someone who is ten years old would have read.”  So, to prove her wrong, I recounted the entire story, including my favorite quote by Bard, “You’ve never failed me, and I’ve always recovered you.  I had you from my father and from of old.”  Needless to say, she was a little shocked that I not only had read the book, but I could quote it.  She was even more shocked to find out I had read “two other stories” about his nephew…which obviously are Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.  It would be another four years before I could get my hands on Return of the King.

All that reminded me of other times I had been ahead of the school system.  In fourth grade we were told to read James and the Giant Peach…a book I had already read from start to finish, though hadn’t remembered the name of.  The teacher was the one reading it to us and I had mentioned that I knew the story as well.  I recounted the characters and a few of the adventures.  The teacher didn’t know what to say, and had thought I was making it up to get out of the reading time.  I wasn’t.

During my sixth grade year I had read the book “Serendipity’s Song”, only to have the class read it as one of the final books.  I also read the book “Devil on My Back”.  It’s a really good story and was a lot of fun to read.  I was then required to read it in eighth grade…

Why is it assumed that kids and people couldn’t possibly have read certain books?  I had read War and Peace in seventh grade because I heard a lot about it.  Just because I’m not required to read something doesn’t mean I won’t.

I’ve been privileged with the entire Chronicles of Pern books, and I’ve been reading them every single day.  I still can’t get my hands on a hard copy of “Paradise Lost”, which I desperately want to read.

Seriously, it would piss me off so bad when people, especially teachers, would try to tell me that there was no way I knew about certain books or items.  I mean, they used to give me write ups for “reading too much”, but I wasn’t advanced enough to read certain books?  One teacher, in second grade, said that if I wasn’t reading in the “Blue Jay” levels, then I wasn’t actually reading some books.  The issue is, the way the teaching was done is totally different than the way I was understanding the books.  The tests she gave wasn’t on reading comprehension…but word problems and things like that.

Honestly, I think they just didn’t like me.  What else is new?  You’re reading from a guy who had required essays given zeros five times before my actual teacher gave me a passing grade because of the subject matter.  I guess when you’re 14 to 17 years old and in high school, graphic literary descriptions of the dead walking or how a bullet rips through a human throat isn’t something they want to give an A+ on, even when it’s written above standard.

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Posted 5/27/2010 at 7:24 PM on Xanga
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