School sucks sometimes! This we know! It is important to try and get the most out of the experience and really give things a good go. School has A LOT to offer! But it also helps to keep things in perspective. School is just the beginning! There is so much to come, so don't let that place get you down. If you need some cheering up, just read this little tale!
An adaptation of George Reavis’ fable, “The Animal School”, originally written in 1940.
Once upon a time the animals decided that their lives and society would be improved by establishing a school.
The core curriculum identified as necessary for survival in the animal world consisted of swimming, running, climbing, jumping and flying. Instructors were hired to teach these activities and it was agreed that all the animals would take all the courses.
This worked out well for the administrators but it caused some problems for the students.
The possum, for example, was a High Distinction student in running, jumping and climbing but had trouble in the flying class, not because of an inability to fly - for she could sail from the top of one tree to another with ease - but because the flying curriculum called for taking off from the ground. The possum was grilled in ground-to-air take-offs until she was exhausted and developed asthma from over exhaustion. This caused her to perform poorly in her other classes and her grades dropped to Conceded Passes.
The duck was outstanding in swimming classes - even better than the teacher. But she did so poorly in running that she was transferred to a remedial class. There she practised running until her webbed feet were so badly damaged that she was only an average swimmer. But since average was acceptable, nobody saw this as a problem - except the duck.
In contrast, the rabbit was excellent in running but, being terrified of water, he was an extremely poor swimmer. Despite a lot of makeup work in swimming class, he never could stay afloat. He soon became frustrated and uncooperative and was eventually expelled because of behaviour problems.
The eagle, naturally enough, was a brilliant student in flying class and even did well in running and jumping. He had to be severely disciplined in climbing class however, because he insisted his way of getting to the top of the tree was faster and easier.
By graduation time, the student with the best grades in the animal school was a compulsive ostrich who could run superbly and also could swim, fly and climb a little. She, of course, was made dux of the school and received scholarship offers from all the best universities.
It should be noted that the parents of the wombat pulled him out of school because the administration would not add classes in digging and burrowing. The wombats, along with the echidnas and billbies, got a hare to start a private school where they all pay school fees to study in a maze of tunnels.
Do you sometimes feel you don't fit well into school life? Do you identify with any animal here?
Many of the greatest world-changers did not succeed in school.
Einstein failed in his non-science subjects.
Churchill wrote: "How I hated this school, and what a life of anxiety I lived there for more than two years… I counted the days and the hours to the end of every term, when I should return home from this hateful servitude… My teachers saw me at once backward and precocious, reading books beyond my years and yet at the bottom of the Form… Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn."
Learn your strengths and weaknesses, and work on them both, but don't exhaust yourself trying to master something that just isn't for you.
Know yourself and be confident that you are unique with a special blend of gifts that others do not always understand or appreciate. Find opportunities outside of school to extend yourself.
By Nancy Thomas