Let me say it right off the top. I never liked school. No matter how much my teachers indicated that I seemed to enjoy it, I never did.
The occasions that I did enjoy it, were the moments where I could create and write. My elementary school is in the middle of nowhere off the highway between the hometown of New Glasgow and Antigonish. A lovely drive into Northern Nova Scotia, especially now that I am long out of school and never have to return.
As part of my ongoing condensing of clutter, it was interesting to go through report cards from most of my time in elementary school and early junior high. The report cards were a perfect recollection of most of my memories of my time and the people in the brick building. I can remember what years were the absolute best and worst. The teachers I liked and didn’t like. It was reflected almost accurately within the summaries of how the teachers reported on me in each of the terms. The majority were very good people who were encouraging. They pushed me to develop my strengths and work on any weaknesses. They did the best they could to set me up for future years. They had premonitions as to where and what areas I might have some difficulty down the road.
In one report card, it reflected on how I “had written many funny stories this term”. So maybe I did have a sense of humor developing at an early age after all. In one of my 6th-grade reports, my teacher indicated that my journal entries were mostly used to document personal experiences. That was his nice way of indicating that I vented significant frustration about feeling overworked constantly. Reflecting on this, I probably felt I could not keep up with others around me because they seemed very far ahead. There was this constant fear of failure. Fear of being left behind.
In capturing of this mid-term 2nd-grade report card, a few things stand out.
“His sentences are long and complex, and make use of interesting expressions”.
“He is becoming a very good writer through having so much practice”.
My sentences at times are still long and complex. Old habits really do crash hard. It is something that can still be a struggle at times. The revision process offers plenty of opportunity to correct those sentences. To address and put more detail into them.
Becoming a very good writer takes tons of practice. In my instance, it has become like breathing. In order to get myself going, working has become a daily requirement I need to observe.
Going through these old report cards really gave me some validation that I was not necessarily looking for. They were reminders that I was going to be fine. That I could somehow learn and get through those difficult days. Unknowingly, there was something I enjoyed back as far as elementary school that would transfer over to a career and business that drives me to bigger and better things.
I acknowledge and thank my 2nd-grade teacher Fran Wyman for writing the words you see in the captured image of the old report card you see in the picture. She was one of many who saw good things in what I was trying to do as a kid.
Humbled and grateful.
A version of this post was previously published on DannAlexander and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: Dann Alexander