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"Why can't you be like Larry?"

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

These were the most disgusting words I ever heard a public school teacher utter during the time I was forced by law to be around them. They weren't directed at me but when they came out of her mouth in angry frustration over a first grade classmate's unforgivably clownish antics while she was blabbering on about something I now have absolutely no recollection of, everyone in the classroom looked at Larry then at the primary target of her completely worthless, hateful question. The target immediately ducked his head in shame, as the teacher hoped he would. I could tell Larry didn't like it either. I know I damn well didn't, but this was a teacher who occasionally used candy prizes as incentive for elevating academic performance, setting classmates in competition against each other during quizzes for sweets winners were allowed to consume right there in the classroom after the quiz if they wanted to. I never strove to win any of those pathetic candy quiz contests as my distaste for the public school system deepened and gelled within.

This divisive method of teaching never worked for me no matter how many times teachers tried to use it, which was most of the time throughout the twelve years wasted attending public schools. And this is why, in my opinion, the USA is failing to achieve any level of control over the spread of coronavirus even as other nations are making progress. Lack of unified cooperation, something rarely taught in U.S. public schools. It was always about competition for cheap prizes and accolades and conformist learning experiences bolstered by the horrors of teacher bias. Too few in this nation ever learned how to behave cooperatively and absence of this skill in the majority of people is proving detrimental in our efforts to quell the pandemic.

Now this pandemic is offering opportunity for significant refactoring of the public school system as start of school days approaches. I hope positive change happens. It's been the same old sorry shit for far too long considering how other institutions have advanced leveraging new technology and deepened understanding of ourselves since the day Larry was used as hapless bludgeon against one of his more rambunctious classmates. We'll see soon if anyone has enough imagination and force of will to cooperatively bring about any improvement. My imaginings on the matter continue to occupy a large portion of thought cycles each day.

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