I always did well in school because I knew how to play the games, and because I bought into the rhetoric. I mean, teachers are still people, right? And they want the same type of accolades everyone else does. So, it was easy to be that good kid. You know the one, the one who the other students call the teacher’s pet, the one who sits near the front of the class and likes to answer questions.
Well, I’ll tell you a secret. I didn’t like to answer questions, but when the teacher knew she could use me to “bail her out” when no one else would admit to knowing an answer, that can certainly come back into her mind come time to grade a test, or an essay, or a research project.
Now, that’s not to say I’m not book smart, because I am, but you know as well as I do that it’s not always the smartest people who get ahead. It’s most times the people who can see advantageous situations and put themselves smack dab in the middle of them. In school, that was me. Straight A’s throughout elementary and middle school, and mostly A’s (when I felt like it) in high school. I had a pleasant attitude. More teachers were nice to me than students, and the work itself was easy.
Maybe in the end that was the biggest problem, though. If I had ever had to actually work hard for grades maybe I would have appreciated the exercise of education more after the fact. As it was, I was able to play the games, to get the grades, and to be pleased with myself, but only because I bought into the rhetoric that schools sell, the rhetoric that says school is an important building block for life.
Yet, when looking at it objectively, there are so many people who didn’t even graduate from high school who are doing fantastic things in life, who are healthy, happy, and successful by most yardsticks’ lengths. And don’t even get me started on the number of people who have gone on to higher education only to find out that the job market is saturated with people who already have the same degree they are so proud of obtaining. Continue reading “Games & Rhetoric”