Saturday, February 16, 2013
In seventh grade, at a brand new school was built just for us,Our school was built as pods, round pods, roughly 12-sided (nearly round). Each pod had a central, round, room that was used for a variety of purposes. I never had a class in the center of any of the pods. Each pod had six or eight classrooms. Funny, I am not sure about that. Anyway, it was pretty cool. Definitely not ordinary. I liked that.
So, in math class, which was our homeroom, and with the classmates that I had been with since either first or third grade, as well as some kids from the other elementary schools, we had an important announcement. Our teacher gave up the routine permission slips for the standardized tests that were scheduled for a couple of weeks away. I took that permission slip home. At dinner, we discussed, as always, what our days had been like, and I shared the news that I had that permission slip for a parental signature. Now, my dad was a red-headed, freckle-faced guy, and a born trouble maker. He said “What would happen if we did not give the school permission to give that test to you?” My mom was shocked. Well, maybe a little bit. She had a little bit of trouble maker blood, too. Anyway, after some discussion, and my internal examination of whether or not I was willing to take that question to school, it was left up to me. My parents did non intend to have me bypass that test. That was not the point. The point was what would happen IF they did not give consent.
Anyway, the next day, with some fear in my heart, I did not hand in my permission slip. It was in my PeeChee folder for math. When our teacher asked if everyone had handed in their slips, I raised my hand and said, "No.". That, in an of itself, was unusual, as I rarely volunteered for anything at that point in my life. Our teacher gave me the floor. I asked the question, something like: “My parents are wondering what would happen if they refused to give me permission to take the standardized test.”
One would have thought that I stripped naked in the room. The room was SILENT! Our teacher paused for a long period of time, and said “I do not know.” Well, that was news! He was one of our best teachers, and he didn’t know the answer to a simple procedural question. Well, he said he would get the answer. Good man! We continued with our class, and after the lessons, we went on to the next class.
Later in the day, I noticed that my mom was on campus. I saw her walking from the square (!) office to the building that our teacher had his office. Mom was dressed in her seersucker dress. IT was blue plaid. She had sandals on, and she carried her blue leather purse. I was not anxious to know what was happening. I never was called into the office until after mom left the campus. The office called me, and I spoke with both the principle and our teacher. They said that I would take the test as scheduled, thanked me for my question, and assured me that all would be OK.
When I got home that afternoon, mom said she would tell me what happened when dad got home. She was not happy with me – only because I had actually asked the question! I was sent to my room for the remainder of the afternoon. When dad got home, I was called out to the living room. Dad smiled from ear to ear. He told me that he was proud of me, but that I should not ever do that again. Mom did NOT want to be called to the school to answer questions posed by educational authorities. Perhaps that is why I rarely asked questions, answered questions, or questioned authority while still in school. Who knows?
I took the test. I did well. All was well, of course.