O is for Ordinary classes: What fun! Fifteenth of 26 posts in the April 2023 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: Endwell: My High School Years — adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.
Academic tracking was practiced at my Maine-Endwell high school in the late Sixties. College-bound students were put into a set of competitive classes, while students who planned to work after high school were put into a vocational track.
Unfortunately, this meant traveling through high school with the same set of students in class after class and seldom mixing outside of one’s designated track — a practice that has since been discontinued in favor of heterogeneous classes that more equitably uplift everyone’s academics.
Maintaining one’s average
In my high school experience, though, the only exception to the tracking happened senior year – when college-bound kids would take ordinary classes to keep their averages up and spur (or maintain) college acceptances. And that was the year I had the most fun in class!
I took three regular classes during senior year – and it was a revelation to escape the stress-inducing competitive crowd in the honors classes and mix and mingle with a more laid back (and fun) group of students who were not so academically driven. And I was able to get good grades besides!
In regular history class, for example, I had a seat in the back. So, I could tuck a novel into my history book, read it during class and still do well on my exams – even after the teacher called me out for reading in class!
Plus, the student next to me was popular and well connected — part of what we called the “Jet Set” — and she caught me up on the latest school gossip.
Cutting up in ordinary classes
In honors classes, students wouldn’t dare cut up – but not so in the ordinary classes. Jokes abounded and teachers frequently had to gavel the class to order.
One incident, which took place during spring semester, captures the general mood in regular classes. I can’t remember if it was a math or social studies class, but the weather outside was gorgeous and none of us wanted to be cooped up in the classroom.
Out the window was a view of the hill beyond the athletic field – and suddenly a young man on a motorcycle appeared and began dirt biking back and forth across the hill.
Fun while learning
Little by little, the students turned to the window and watched the motorcyclist, then began speculating aloud on who it might be – clearly envious of their classmate who had cut school to enjoy himself.
Pretty soon, the entire class was standing at the window watching while the exasperated teacher, who gave up and put down his chalk, said he intended to report the student — if only he knew who he was! Which got a general laugh around the classroom.
Well, that would never have happened in a straight-laced honors class, which is why ordinary classes were such fun – and a great way to take the pressure off during senior year before the renewed academic grind of college.
Up next, P is for Peg her 40s: My mom resumes her career. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit this week’s other Happy Tuesday bloggers and join the fun:
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