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Low Expectations

Overall, I have to admit that I've been lucky in life, I don't think I've been treated unfairly very often, or if I have been treated unfairly these experiences have probably made me stronger and therefore, I've benefitted in the end. But I just can't seem to let go of high school chemistry. I had a terrible teacher, he was notoriously bad, known for his inability to clearly convey information and engage students. The entire class struggled and yet the school didn't seem to see any problem with letting this teacher continue. Year after year he taught several classes and year after year students struggled. I wasn't alone, students were treated unfairly because of the school's negligence. The administrators had to know, yet they just seemed to wait for this teacher to retire. This wasn't the worst part of the situation, however. My divorced parents treated me unfairly, too. My mother, seemed not to care to any great extent that I was struggling, she left me alone to grapple with the situation. While I'm all for fostering independence in children or adolescents, independence comes with access to tools and strategies and coaching for how to use those tools effectively. It didn't end there. When my father asked me how school was going, I replied, "Chemistry is really hard." His reply was perhaps the greatest injustice. He said, "Well, if you're not good at science, don't worry, just focus on the things you are good at." While I can understand this message, yes, teenagers should focus on strengths and strengthen them. But I also find it appalling that the message was not to find a way to rise to a challenge, to dig-in and overcome the challenge. Instead, give up. Unfortunately, I listened. I gave up. Yes, I somehow managed to get a C and survive the class, but in addition to not learning chemistry, I didn't learn how to work through a challenging situation in a proactive manner. I was treated unfairly.

EMILYBSMITH